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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Something Furry Underfoot by Amy L. Peterson (Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Lightning Book Promotions, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Something Furry Underfoot by author Amy L. Peterson!

Book Review

Something Furry Underfoot by Amy L. Peterson
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: May 19, 2013
Format: Paperback - 228 pages / Kindle - 388 KB / Nook - 327 KB
ISBN: 0615842496
Genre: Memoirs

BUY THE BOOK: Something Furry Underfoot

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Lightning Book Promotions.

Book Description:

Something Furry Underfoot is a funny, touching book about pets that Amy's husband brought home and how Amy ended up helping care for, and falling for, most of them. In addition to frogs, iguanas, dogs, a stray cat, rabbits, and lots of hamsters, you will meet a male hedgehog that escaped three times to mate with a female hedgehog, a ferret that cost $1,200 in vet bills and a domestic duck. The book includes 50 tips including "Tip #5: If your significant other was ever denied a pet in his/her 'previous life,' you may be in for a lot of fur."

Book Excerpt:

Chapter 1

The Unsuspecting Spouse

Tip #1: When you marry someone who had pets growing up, chances are, you have pets in your future.

If my husband wasn’t as cute as a yellow duckling, tenacious as a pit bull, and energetic as a kitten high on catnip, I wouldn’t have a dozen animals in my house right now. But Mark exhibits all of that, plus employs the killer phrase, “I’ve always wanted one of those.” He also knows how to blink his puppy-dog eyes, just so.

Back in 1994 when I was in the process of falling for Mark, I was attracted to his brains and his wit, but a bit distracted by the challenge of becoming a stepmother to his four children, ages three, five, 13 and 15. (As summarized in From Zero to Four Kids in Thirty Seconds by Amy L Peterson.) I was overwhelmed with the notion that I didn’t know what I was doing and inundated by a panicky feeling that four kids were quickly taking control of my life. I had no idea that Mark was plotting to add animals to my sudden state of “duh.”

Mark wisely began his quest for creatures by unabashedly using his children to get the things he wanted. He made use of this device for the first time on the way to our Lansing-area grocery store on a hot July day. Our plan was simply to escape from the children and our 600-square-foot apartment for fifteen minutes while we went off in pursuit of milk and macaroni and cheese.

At least that was the plan we’d agreed on before we left. So when Mark pulled into the local pet store instead of the grocery a half mile away, I said, “Uh, they don’t have food for people at the pet store, honey.”

“Conrad told me he always wanted an aquarium,” Mark answered as he stepped confidently out of the car. “And they’re half off today.”

“And because aquariums are half off, that means we have to get one for Conrad?” I asked while wondering if “half off” and “on sale” would become words to be feared. I followed Mark inside to the squawking of birds; mewing of cats and kittens; and the thumping of rabbits, gerbils and guinea pigs. “It’s not as if we have any extra money, with all that you’re paying your ex,” I added, thinking that an aquarium for Conrad now—in July—was a bit extravagant, especially with Conrad’s sixth birthday just a month away.

It’s hard to have a conversation over the cacophony in a pet store, and my comments went unanswered. Only later did I realize that was all part of Mark’s nefarious plan.

Mark also knew that I was born with a propensity to imitate the noises of cars, animals, and pretty much anything else I heard, and that I would become thoroughly distracted in the pet store. And he was right. By the time I squawked back at a parrot, meowed at a cage full of kittens, and went “wheek, wheek, wheek” to some guinea pigs, Mark had in his hands an 18-by-7-by-15-inch aquarium with a lid.

I’ve never had a fear of lids before. But it suddenly occurred to me that lids are often meant to keep something contained inside so that the `something inside’ won’t get out.

Some of the more rowdy species of fish might need lids, I supposed, but I’d seen goldfish in open glass containers without lids. And the guppies my brother had raised in a small aquarium also stayed contained without a lid.

“So, is this for fish of some kind?” I asked clinging to my last shred of hope, as Mark took his receipt and change and headed toward the door.

“It’s for whatever Conrad wants to put in it,” Mark said calmly.

“Then,” I stammered, “I want to state for the record that I do not do poisonous snakes, or snakes that eat mice—or tarantulas.”

“Is that all?” Mark grinned.

With my B.S. in biology competing against Mark’s Ph.D. in stream ecology, I was suddenly panicked by the terrible thought that I might have left out some major species of scary creatures. But try as I might, I couldn’t put my finger on it. I worried all the way to the car, when some unexpected trace of maternal something-or-other kicked in again, and I reminded Mark that we really did need milk and macaroni and cheese.

We raced to get groceries and returned to the apartment chaos we’d left behind. Conrad, six, was fighting over a video game with Samantha, 14. Elizabeth, four, was pulling the clothes off her Teenser Water Baby, and Simone, the oldest at 16, was watching TV. Mark barked a few orders and the game ended, the TV went off, the baby clothes went on, and Conrad was handed the new aquarium. Conrad’s eyes lit up like fireworks and they got all big as if he hadn’t expected to receive such a gift. Seeing this, I gave Conrad less than five seconds to think about what he was going to put in the aquarium and announced it was time to go catch a couple of frogs.

Our apartment was on a small, chemically correct lake that still contained enough marshy habitat for a few of the tailless amphibians. I hadn’t caught a frog in fifteen years, but soon found that Conrad was quite agile at pouncing cat-like into the marshy muck. After two pounces, he came up with a healthy looking, green croaker and smiled proudly like a trophy hunter who’d just bagged a five-legged, albino moose.

Conrad held the frog around its waist so that its gangly legs hung down at muscular right angles, announced that it “would do,” and carried it smugly back to the apartment. He lowered the frog inside the aquarium, added a small dish with water, threw in a handful of grass, and put on the lid.

“What are you going to feed him?” I asked.

He shrugged and walked away.

“Come back, my young man.”

He turned, lowered his head, and stood there to take in my brief lecture on the unwritten household rule that one may keep wild creatures like frogs as long as the creature is well cared for, if not spoiled. “Your frog needs to eat. What are you going to feed him?”

“Crickets from the pet store?”

“You got money for that?” I asked.


“I didn’t think so.” I guided him back outside to catch some insects. As we headed out on our pursuit, Mark’s parting advice was: “Frogs prefer live flies to dead ones.” How helpful.

I never had a reason to catch an insect to feed another creature, but I’d once been bored enough to attempt to catch houseflies with one hand, and when that didn’t work so well, with two hands. I’d discovered that houseflies are confused if attacked from opposite sides simultaneously and so shared this piece of lore with Conrad.

Catching flies is not as sporting as a moose hunt, and little glory comes of it, but I was rather proud of myself when I found a few houseflies attempting to warm themselves against the outside of the apartment, cupped both of my hands slightly, and swooped in for the grab. “I’ve got one!”

Conrad walked back to the aquarium with me and lifted the lid. I lowered my hands, opened them, pulled them out quickly and Conrad slammed down the lid. We sat back and watched as the frog turned around to face the fly. It sat for a few seconds as if figuring out what to do. I was beginning to worry about our froggie’s understanding of the situation when it suddenly leaped across the tank, and mouth wide open, nabbed the fly.

We both said, “Wow!” at the same time. “Let’s get more flies!”

Back outside again, I faced the apartment wall once more, and after a few failed attempts at a few flies, for the first time ever I wished that a housefly—or a flock of houseflies—would find our apartment desirable habitat so we could swat, pick up the still-fluttering body, and throw it in for the frog’s eating pleasure. Obviously, catching flies wasn’t easy, and I suspected that the big, green frog would need quite a few to stay alive.

Three houseflies later, Conrad and I had tired of the sport and I suggested that perhaps we should turn our attention to aquatic insects, my thought being that frogs hang out in the water and probably eat aquatic bugs. But Conrad had caught enough, he said, and returned to the apartment to play video games. When I called to Mark and explained it was his turn to catch some flies, he asked how many flies the frog had eaten. When I told him the number, Mark informed me that was enough for now.

My Book Review:

In her second memoir, Something Furry Underfoot, author Amy L. Peterson weaves a humorous and touching account of her family's adoption and growing menagerie of pets, and helpful tips for the pet lover/owner. This enchanting story is written in a witty style, the author's love for animals is clearly evident in her true life account of living and caring for a variety of animals that her husband and stepkids added to their family.

As an animal lover and pet owner of four fur babies (1 Brown Lab, 2 Bichon Frise, and 1 Poodle), I can relate to Amy's menagerie of animals. Growing up I raised rabbits, had parakeets, dogs and the occasional hermit crab, and the feelings of love and care for each of my animals is filled with wonderful memories and humorous trials and tribulations that are locked in my heart forever.

I thought that Something Furry Underfoot was a wonderful story. It is filled with snippets of humor that will keep you in stitches, and the inspirational love for animals will have fellow pet owners nodding their head in agreement and admiration. Animal lovers and pet owners will learn a lot from Amy's helpful pet tips, it's a must read for anyone who already has an animal, or wants to add an animal to their family.

Animals have a way of touching a person's heart and life with an unconditional love that is like no other.

Kudos to Amy for writing a truly heartwarming and enjoyable story that all animal lovers will adore.


About The Author

In the mid 1990s, I fell for a guy with four kids, ages 3,5, 13 and 15 and since I didn't have a clue what I was doing, I documented my experience. That was the basis for From Zero to Four Kids in Thirty Seconds, my humorous, touching memoir about becoming a stepmom. It's filled with tips, most of which are about stepmoms, some of which are universal to pretty much all relationships.

While I was getting used to being a stepmom, my husband was bringing one pet after another into our house. Frogs and iguanas came and went and then the pets came to stay: ferrets, hedgehogs, dogs, a cat, rabbits, a domestic duck, mynah birds and countless numbers of small rodents. Something Furry Underfoot is my humorous, touching memoir about helping to raise all those pets and making their lives as good as possible. This book has 50 tips about pets and the people who love pets.

Something Furry Underfoot by Amy L. Peterson ~ Virtual Book Tour Page: Lightning Book Promotions

Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

Win A Signed Copy Of 

Something Furry Underfoot

To Enter The Contest Giveaway, click the Rafflecopter link below! Good Luck!

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour schedule:

Sept. 26th
Rachel @ My Kid Has Paws (review)
Patrick @ The Thursday Interview (author interview)

Sept. 27th
Jody @ Jody's Book Reviews, Giveaways and Tours (guest post)
Annette @ Books & Tales (author interview)

Sept. 28th
Ruth @ My Devotional Thoughts (review)
Heather @ Sit Down Saturday (author interview)

Sept. 29th
Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews. Oh my! (author interview)

Sept. 30th
Debra @ 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy & Sissy Too! (guest post)

Oct. 1st
Lade @ We Blog About Books (review)

Oct 2nd
Shannon @ These are but Shadows (review)

Oct. 3rd
Bethany @ Cascadian Nomads (review)

Oct. 4th
Ann @ Pawsitively Pets (guest post)
Elizabeth @ A Chick Reading (review)

Oct. 5th
Morgen @ Morgen Bailey's Writing Blog (author interview)

Oct. 6th
Darryl @ Savage Lullabye

Oct. 7th
Susan @ Green Frog Reviews (review)

Oct. 8th
Brianna @ Listful Booking (review)

Oct. 9th
Kathleen @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews (review)
Kimberly @ Turning the Pages (review)

Oct. 10th
Valerie @ The Gothic Ballerina (guest post)

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