The Chronicles of Zee & Zoey

The Chronicles of Zee & Zoey: A Journey of the Extraordinarily Ordinary is a love story. It’s the unlikely love story of Zee, a lovable Maine Coon cat, and Zoey, a high-spirited Bengal. It’s also a story of love’s consequences and human fallibility, when the author, a strong proponent of spaying and neutering pets, gets sidetracked by a busy holiday season and misses the window of opportunity to get Zoey spayed in time. The subsequent birth of Zee and Zoey’s kittens is a truly extraodinary journey for the human and feline members of the author’s household.

Most people who adopt kittens aren’t able to bring them home until they’re at least 10 or 12 weeks old, because ideally, kittens shouldn’t be separated from their mothers any sooner than that. In The Chronicles of Zee & Zoey, the reader gets a rare glimpse into what a kitten’s life is like during the first eight weeks of its life. And what an adventure it is!

The book reads like a conversation with a good friend who loves cats as much as you do – and aren’t those kinds of friends the best kind? The author not only shares the stories of her cats, both past and present, but also weaves in the story of her own journey. Through it all, Barnes takes notes as she watches her cats navigate life’s challenges, and dares to make her own life extraordinary.

I was particularly touched by the chapter titled “Of Godwinks, Ellen and Afghans.” After the author and her fiancé both fell victim to the economy and lost their jobs, the author struggled with maintaining a positive attitude. Inspiration came from an unlikely source: The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Ellen’s unique blend of compassion, humor and realism provided the escape Deborah needed at the time, and leads to an epiphany during one particular show that ultimately led the author to write this book. The kittens seemed to pick up on her happy energy while she was watching the show, because day after day, they would join her on the couch as soon as they heard the show’s opening theme.

The Chronicles of Zee & Zoey

But there’s more to this book. It is one of the most beautifully designed books I’ve ever come across. From the stunning photographs taken by Deborah’s fiancé Dan Power, to the whimsical illustrations on every page, this book is a feast for the eyes. I really can’t do the book justice describing it with mere words, you can get an idea of the design and Dan’s photography on Deborah’s website. I found something new to delight me everytime I browsed through it.

Deb asked me earlier this year to provide an endorsement for her book, and I was happy to provide it, so I’ll just repeat what I wrote to her then, after finishing the manuscript: This book will make you laugh, smile, and occasionally wipe away a few tears. A treasure for cat lovers of all ages.

If you love cats, this book is for you. If  you enjoy looking at stunningly beautiful photos of cats, this book is for you. And if you’re looking for inspiration on how to embrace the ordinary in our life, and dare to make it extraordinary, then this book is for you.

Like everything else about this book, the book trailer is beautiful as well:


For more information about The Chronicles of Zee & Zoey, and to order, please visit her website.

***This giveaway is closed***

Deborah Barnes has generously offered to give one autographed and personalized copy to one lucky reader. To enter the giveaway, tell me in a comment why you’d like to win this book. For an additional chance to win, tweet about this giveaway or share on Facebook, and post the link in a separate comment. This giveaway ends Monday, November 21.

45 Comments on Book review and giveaway: The Chronicles of Zee & Zoey by Deborah Barnes

  1. I had never heard of this book until I read this post so thank you Ingrid for sharing because it seems like a lovely story indeed. I visited Deborah’s website, watched the trailer and I have to admit everything is so nicely designed! I’m a bengal cat lover so, for all those reasons, I ended up buying the book!

    Bengal Cat 😉 – (Laurent)

  2. “No Coincidences,” AND “Everything Happens For A Reason.” My Maine Coon kitty went back to owner. And the Bengal was also not to be. I have decided My KItty, passed 8/11, is above looking out for me. For I have searched for new kitties online and gone to a rescue. And I know now too, the time is not right for me, YET…until by chance….serendipity, my new kitty presents and chooses me. Hugs & Happy Holidays filled with Joy.

    • Ronnie, I completely agree that you will know when the time is right. I think sometimes after a loss, we try to force things too soon. The perfect cat for you will find you when the time is right for both of you.

  3. This book sounds great! As someone who’s fostered both a Maine Coon and a Bengal, I’d love to win a copy!

    As a side-note, I don’t know if you’ve encountered Linda Johnston’s Pet Rescue Mysteries, but I think you’d like them! I just finished The More the Terrier and am reading Beaglemania now. (Backwards – Beaglemania is actually the first in the series.) I really love how she incorporates pet rescue into the stories.

  4. This sounds like a wonderful book. I love cats, and I love reading about cats. I have been privileged to share my life with only one Maine Coon cat over the years. She was feisty and stubborn and loving and beautiful. I have never roomed with a Bengal, but I have admired them for many years and would jump at the chance if it presented itself. I recently lost the brother of a brother and sister pair of brown tabbies. He was almost 15 years old, and had never been ill a single day in his life. He suddenly passed on, out of the blue, apparently of a heart attack. It was devastating. Although it is so hard when they leave us, all the joy they bring us during their lifetimes makes it so worth it.
    Thank you for this opportunity and for sharing your story.

  5. Hi Ingrid! What a fantastic review! I received her book in the mail maybe a couple of weeks ago and I have to say this is one beautifully packaged book. I can’t wait to read it!

  6. Dear Ingrid, I found your website the day my 23 year-old Kitty, a mix Russian Blue Fur Person was euthanized, August 19, 2011. I wrote a comment on your Pet Loss site and I thank you for your very caring response. You also said you went to Buckley’s cremation…what I was planning to do for My Kitty too. And I did. I was amazed at how beautiful and life-like Kitty looked and felt, fur so soft. She was cremated with a locket with my hair inside and a fresh pink rose. I was prepared to watch the cremation, but like you, I could not. I saw Kitty on the machine, ready to go in, and I could not take that last step with her. While I waited to take Kitty’s ashes home, there immediately appeared the most beautiful, loving older cat. He jumped up on my lap and was such a comfort, nuzzling and purring. He was a Maine Coon cat, a breed I have always been interested in and in awe of. He was the resident cat who just showed up one day…like a stray, and stayed. I didn’t know when I would be ready to give another cat a Forever Home. I trusted it would happen when it is supposed to be. However, I do prefer a Senior cat. Recently, I have looked online at photos of older cats at Boston area rescues. Just to look at beloved kitties. But one kitty bounced out at me, a 7 year-old tabby, a little too young I thought. But two weeks later I called and she was adopted. So the time was not right. Another cat got my attention, a breed I was not aware of, Bengal, but too young. Today I looked again. This time I did a “search” for a Maine Coon cat. I found him. Age 13!! Yes! Just arrived at the rescue. He looked so sad. His elderly owner had to give him up as she was moving to another residence. He looks like just like Zee, but light brown. M—- the Maine Coon cat is in a shelter in (((Maine)))…a 2 1/2 hour drive for me. Then I came to your web site to get the names of 2 books you recommended and saw “Zee & Zoey!” No coincidences. For I believe my 2nd cat will be a Bengal after I first give my attention to, I hope, “M—” the Maine Coon kitty. I’d like to win “Zee & Zoey” to reaffirm: “Everything happens for a reason,” “No coincidences.” And if I do not win, I am heartened that I came to your page and saw “Zee & Zoey,” and my Maine Coon and Bengal will bear witness, confirm, the time was right. Very Sincerely.

    • Wow Ronnie –

      That is an amazing story. I am a huge believer in the synchronicity of past, present, and future in one’s life. That is how Zee and Zoey came to be, and it seems the same path is in store for you. All my best to you as you embark on this new journey and chapter in your life.

  7. I would love to own this book! If I don’t win I will end up buying it. I just recently adopted a Maine Coon and love him already. I can’t wait to read about her adventures.

  8. Ingrid, what a beautiful book and story. I would share this one with my kitties auntie-my old neighbor. She is one of the few other people that Pumpkin lets pet her.

  9. What a gorgeous book! As a lover of Maine Coons as well as a fan of kittens, I would love to be the lucky winner of this book, thanks for an intriguing review!

  10. I love cat and really all animal stories, but cats are my favorites. I have lots of cat books that I pass on to my sisiter, my daughter and some friends. I would like to win this book, because right now I’m unemployed and have many expenses and books aren’t in my budget right now, but I love our town library and if I don’t win this book that will be my plan B. Thanks for a great website and keep the book reviews coming. Sincerely Linda G

  11. An incredibly beautiful book. If I don’t win, I’ll be purchasing….one for myself, and others as gifts. Thanks for the lovely review.

  12. Just when I was wondering what to give my daughter for Yule, she is an avid reader and cat person and she will be on her first maturity leave. Of course if I can win the book, I can get something to go with it.

  13. What an amazing story! This book would truly be an wonderful gift.
    I love books that send a message about how our pets / family members
    offer us gifts to grow.

    I have 3 cats, all of them came to me as kittens that were abandoned.
    I’ve been so blessed by them. I live with chronic pain and there are
    days that I can’t even get out of bed. Malcolmn, Izzie and Angus have
    shown me extrodinary, unconditional love and patience. They have taught
    me many life lesson’s and have shown me how to live a deeper more meaningful

  14. I would love the book. If I don’t win it, maybe I’ll buy it. 🙂 I love books about felines. They always make me smile

  15. What a lovely book! Beautifully photographed and designed! Ingrid, such a heart warming review.
    I have 4 incredible cats. Mia is my most recent fur baby who is an abandoned kitten. She entered my life when life seemed to have become so difficult. Each of my cats have given me a reason to carry on and push through difficult times. I would love to win and read this inspiring book. Cats can help us through such challenging times. They teach us qualities that only cats can convey to us humans!

    • Oh Louise! I am so inspired by your response – it is truly my hope that people are educated more as to how incredible the feline species is and what love and support they give us. They all have their own unique personalities and I do not know how I would survive my life without them! BTW, I have a Mia too!! She is my little princess and I adore her to pieces!

  16. That looks beautiful! I would love to give a signed copy to my Mom, but I’ll pick up a copy even if I don’t win…

  17. Ingrid, I your reviews and you knocked this one out of the park. Don’t enter us since we did our own review/giveway. I have a copy on my dining room table and sometimes when I’m walking past during the day, I’ll open it at random for a shot of kitty inspiration. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

    • Layla – I LOVE that you keep the book on your dining room table – it truly is a “coffe-table” book, but also with a great story! They are my cats, and I still never tire of looking at the pictures either – I am always guaranteed a quick smile or “pick me up” when I look at the photos!

  18. What an amazing review! Sounds like this book is a must have. This is one I will definitely be adding to my cat book collection (hopefully through winning a copy!! LOL)!. Not only will it be a fantastic read for me, but I will be able to enjoy the beautiful photos with my cat-loving toddler.

    • That is a great idea – while the story is written more for us adults, the pictures are endearing to any age group, especially cat loving toddlers! I would be curious to know if your little one ends up having a “favorite” cat or kitten out of my crew of seven!

  19. Superb!!!!!!! (as I FULLY expected!!!!) Even better than “superb” exquisite review Ingrid!! I always love and look forward to your insightful and heartfelt reviews.

    As you know, I will be reviewing this book too so no need to enter me in the give-away…I am just here to tell you how on target your review was and to tell everyone they MUST have this book!

    Good luck to all who enter!!!!!

  20. Ingrid – What a lovely and touching review. You have so elequently captured what I want my readers to take from this book – it is meant to inspire both the love of life and champion cats for the extraordinary creatures that they are. You are absolutely correct – without Ellen, Dan, and my feline companions, I do not know where I would be today…

    Thank you again for this wonderful and heartfelt review. I look forward to sharing this book with cat lovers everywhere who are sure to relate to the many nuances of this story!

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