Friday, September 11, 2015

#Review: Sit! Stay! Speak! by Annie England Noblin

Tragedy sent Addie Andrews fleeing from Chicago to the shelter of an unexpected inheritance—her beloved aunt’s somewhat dilapidated home in Eunice, Arkansas, population very tiny. There she reconnects with some of her most cherished childhood memories. If only they didn’t make her feel so much!

People say nothing happens in small towns, but Addie quickly learns better. She’s got an elderly next-door neighbor who perplexingly dances outside in his underwear, a house needing more work than she has money, a best friend whose son uncannily predicts the weather, and a local drug dealer holding a massive grudge against her.

Most surprising of all, she’s got a dog. Not just any dog, but a bedraggled puppy she discovered abandoned, lost, and in desperate need of love. Kind of like Addie herself. She’d come to Eunice hoping to hide from the world, but soon she discovers that perhaps she’s finding her way back—to living, laughing, and loving once more.



You think the adorable puppy on the cover is charming?  Wait until you read the story!

The story grabs you fairly early on with Addie's discovery of Felix by the Mississippi River.  He's covered in cuts and scratches and burns.  He's been tied in a garbage bag.  And, as Addie finds out later at the veterinarian's office, someone SHOT the little (young) dog.  I tell you, I wanted to jump into the pages of the book and help Addie track down and bring justice to the pieces of *ahem* doodoo that did that.

Eunice, Arkansas, has a little of what's good and bad about a small town.  If you upset the local drug dealer, you don't have a lot of places to hide.  If the single son of the town's wealthiest family happens to drive you home on his tractor one night, all of a sudden, you and he are an 'item'.  But if something bad happens to you, there are also people that will arrange meals, dog sitting, etc., whatever you need while you mend.

I have to say it kind of warmed this old country girl's heart that people were as rabidly interested in dear, departed Aunt Tilda's recipe box as they would have been in a buried treasure discovered on the property.  (There are quite a number of recipes included the back of the book and I am SO going to make the fried pies before the year is out.)

At the beginning, I thought Sit! Stay! Speak! was just going to be a sweet comtemporary fiction, but the action became breathtaking as the denouement drew near.  And Addie isn't the only one interested in Jasper, so you know sparks are going to fly in from that direction as well.  Add to that the requisite tornado appearance and this is one exciting read!

There is a scene or two where the action between Addie and Jasper becomes a little too graphic for my taste, but not so much so that I wondered whether the story or the sex was most important.  (I actually closed the cover when my son came into the living room so he would not see what was on the page.)

Because of that, this book cannot be strictly called a cozy mystery, but it's about as cozy as you can get otherwise.  Maybe it's a genre-introducing "semi-cozy mystery"!

Whatever you call it, if you like cozy mysteries (they are my favorite), you will adore Sit! Stay! Speak!  I you like contemporary fiction with a hint of spice, you will like this book as well.  Because of the sex, I wouldn't recommend as a book for the younger set.  (My daughter is 12 and although she would LOVE to read the book because of the puppy on the cover, she won't be reading it for a couple of years.)

I give Sit! Stay! Speak! a strong four stars out of five and leave you with the following thought...






Annie England Noblin lives with her son, husband, and three dogs in the Missouri Ozarks. She graduated with an M.A. in creative writing from Missouri State University and currently teaches English and communications for Arkansas State University in Mountain Home, Arkansas. She spends her free time playing make-believe, feeding stray cats, and working with animal shelters across the country to save homeless dogs.

Connect with Annie on Facebook and Twitter.

Click the TLC logo to go to the tour page for this title, where you will find links to more reviews.  You can also apply to become a reviewer for TLC as well!

(Disclosure:  I received a print copy of this book from the author and publishers via TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.)


  1. Oh, I loved the cover! And 4/5 is a very cool rating. Sounds really good, hope to read it too!

    1. Yes, Shilpa, that's what we call the 'puppy face' at our house. Where a dog (usually a puppy but could be adult as well) tilts her head just so, maybe does a little ear wiggling and melts a human heart so the pup will get some of just about anything you have in your hands! :O)

  2. I love books that surprise me with what they have inside, and I especially love books that leave me feeling warm and fuzzy all over!

    Thanks for being on the tour!

    1. You're welcome, Trish. Thanks for the opportunity. If we didn't have enough dogs already, it'd make me want to go adopt one!

  3. Great review, LuAnn! and appreciate the headsup on this cozy's xtracurriculars . Are you doing the RIP Challenge? [mystery/thriller/suspense] on til Oct 31st and only 1 book needed to count yourself in. Also, movie and short stories do count - so it doesn't take much to complete this one and in a generous time frame .
    Thought you might like to know... HapPy reading ;)

    1. Thanks, Sharon! I'm doing Peril the First and listed four books I was going to use for the challenge, but who says I can't read more/others? Cause you know I'm not going to stop at four books until the end of October! :O)

  4. I'd love to read this one. I just checked the price on Amazon and it's way above my budget. Have added it to my wish list though.

  5. Thanks for a lovely tip, LuAnn, I enjoyed your review!