Books

Review: Not the Killing Type by Lorna Barrett

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Not the Killing Type is the seventh in Lorna Barrett’s bestselling Booktown mystery series featuring Tricia Miles, the owner of the Haven’t Got a Clue mystery book store and her cat, Miss Marple. And can I just say how much I love this cover?

It’s November in Stoneham, New Hampshire, and Tricia’s life has become very complicated. Her romance with police chief Baker seems on the skids, her ex-husband Christopher is back in town, she’s getting ready for the busy holiday shopping season, and her sister is campaigning to be elected Chamber of Commerce president. And just when it seems life couldn’t get any more challenging, Tricia discovers another body. And of course, she can’t help herself – she gets drawn into investigating the murder.Continue Reading

Review: Fifth Life of the CatWoman by Kathleen Dexter

Fifth Life of the CatWoman

About a year ago, Kathleen Dexter posted a comment on what, with more than 12,000 comments, is arguably the most popular thread on this site, Tortitude: The Unique Personality of Tortoiseshell Cats. She mentioned that several years ago, she wrote a novel featuring a tortoiseshell cat. At the time, the book was out of print. When Fifth Life of the CatWoman was re-released last month, the author sent me a review copy. Of course I was intrigued – any book featuring a tortie is going to get my interest. I didn’t know what to expect, and if it wasn’t for the tortie connection, I probably never would have picked up this book. Magical realism is not a genre I would typically read – but I sure am glad that I did.

From the publisher:

“It’s easy to find history written by those who win, those who hold power. It’s hard to find history written by the ones who lose,” says the mystery history teacher, Kat O’Malley. Unbeknownst to her students, she’s living the nine lives of a cat, and her history lessons come from four hundred yearsContinue Reading

A Writer’s Cat’s Work Is Never Done

Musetta Clea Simon

Guest post by Musetta Simon, feline muse to Clea Simon

Let me make one thing clear: I am Musetta, a cat. I am the cat, and I am not ungenerous.

Recently, it has been brought to my attention, however, that I share my person with several other felines. Well, if you can call them that, pale, thin imitations that they are. You see, my person, the writer Clea Simon, has been quite caught up recently with several feline characters, spending unconscionable hours devising escapades for them that she would never dream of allowing me – entrusting them with the health and safety of humans much more foolhardy than mine.

One of these, the so-called “feline specter,” Mr. Grey, does not bother me that much. Although he plays a key role in Clea’s latest mystery, Grey Dawn, as does a – dare I say it? – a werekitty, he is not a real threat to one such as myself. For one thing, Mr Grey – the companion of one Dulcie Schwartz, is a ghost. He does not demand pets or chin rubs, or any of those niceties that I have trained Clea to deliver. Besides, he is modeled on my predecessor as Best Cat in the World, Cyrus T. Cat. I have heard many stories of Cyrus, and although I think he must have been a bit of a wimp (he never bit anyone? Not even for fun?), I respect him, as all cats must respect their elders. We were once worshipped as divine for a reason.Continue Reading

Review: Lost Cat by Caroline Paul

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I approached reading Lost Cat: A True Story of Love, Desperation, and GPS Technology with apprehension. I find the thought of a cat going missing so gut-wrenching, it’s just not something I want to think about a whole lot. But thankfully, Caroline Paul’s cat Tibby wasn’t lost forever – five weeks after he disappeared, he returned home, looking fat and happy. And the author and her partner and illustrator of the book, Wendy MacNaughton, found themselves wondering where Tibby had gone and why he had left.

To answer these questions, Caroline and Wendy turned into stalkers. From GPS tracking devices to animal communicators, pet detectives and psychics, to covert missions through their neighborhood, they stopped at nothing to uncover the mystery of Tibby’s disappearance. Those of us who have occasionally demonstrated even mildly obsessive behavior when it comes to our cats will recognize ourselves in this poignant memoir.Continue Reading

Review and Giveaway: Grey Dawn by Clea Simon

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I was thrilled when the sixth book in the Dulcie Schwartz mystery series, featuring the Harvard graduate student, along with her kitten Esme and the spirit of her departed cat, Mr. Grey, arrvied in my mailbox. I’m a huge fan of the series, and I’ve learned from reading the first five books that once I got started with Grey Dawn, I would have a hard time putting it down, so I planned accordingly.

In this book, we still find Dulcie working on her doctoral thesis about an incomplete gothic novel written by an unknown author in the 18th century. Dulcie is excited when she discovers what appear to be missing pages of what may have been the manuscript of the novel. She is deeply immersed in thoughts about the novel and its author on the way home one night, when she hears what sounds like a wolf howling, and catches a glimpse of her thesis advisor, looking strangely inhuman in the moonlight. She chalks it up to being so immersed in the dark tale of her gothic novel, and doesn’t give the odd occurrence any more thought until she finds out the next morning that a student was savagely attacked that very night. And the student looks very much like Dulcie.Continue Reading

Review: One Hot Murder by Lorraine Bartlett

One Hot Murder Lorraine Bartlett

One Hot Murder is the third book in the charming Victoria Square mystery series by Lorraine Bartlett, but in the interest of full disclosure, despite the adorable cover, this is not a cat-themed book. The protagonist, Katie Bonner, shares her apartment with two cats, and they’re mentioned briefly here and there in the book. I will admit that the cute cover reeled me in at the bookstore, and despite the lack of cats in this book, I loved it, and wanted to share it with you. Additionally, I’m a big fan of Lorraine Bartlett, who, writing under the name Lorna Barrett, is also the author of the Booktown Mystery series, featuring Miss Marple the bookstore cat.

From the publisher:

Katie Bonner, the reluctant manager of Artisans Alley in the quaint shopping district of Victoria Square, is no stranger to ambivalence. Things have been going hot and heavy with pizza maker Andy Rust—so much so that Katie has moved in over his pizza parlor. Continue Reading

Review: Outsmarting Cats by Wendy Christensen

Outsmarting_Cats_Wendy_Christense

When it comes to understanding felines, few people know these lovable, but sometimes frustrating, creatures as well as Wendy Christensen. Wendy spent her entire life with cats, and has gained a deep appreciation of the many sides of feline behavior. She shares her wealth of knowledge in Outsmarting Cats: How to Persuade the Felines in Your Life to Do What You Want.

This book was first published in 2004. This second, revised edition was published in March of this year, and contains updated information as well as a comprehensive resource listing for everything from cat safe cleaners to cat furniture. Just like the original, this book addresses behavioral challenges ranging from aggression to litter box problems to scratching. The new, expanded edition also includes the latest scientific information on cats, high-tech solutions to feline behavior problems, a new section on TNR (trap, neuter, release) and fostering cats, and lots of new photos and illustrations.

Wendy’s focus is on nurturing the best possible relationshipContinue Reading

Meet Leann Sweeney, Author of the Cats in Trouble Series

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I’ve been enjoying the Cats in Trouble series, featuring cat quilter Jillian Hart, who settled in the small town of Grace, South Carolina with her three cats, since the very first book. The latest in the series, The Cat, The Mill and the Murder, was just released yesterday.

In this installment in the delightful series, Jillian volunteers to help a local animal shelter relocate a colony of feral cats living in an abandoned textile mill. She never expects to find a woman living there, too. The woman, who went missing from Mercy, South Carolina, a decade ago, refuses to leave the mill or abandon Boots, her cat who died years ago. After the woman is hurt in an accident and is taken away, those who’ve come to town to help repurpose the mill make a terrible discovery, and Jillian tries to unearth a long-kept and dark secret with the help of a mysterious new feline friend.

Look for a review of The Cat, The Mill and The Murder on The Conscious Cat soon.Continue Reading

Pre-order Cat Daddy, the Paperback, and Help Homeless Cats

Cat-Daddy-Jackson-Galaxy

If you watch My Cat From Hell, currently in its fourth season on Animal Planet, you’ve seen Jackson Galaxy demonstrate his almost uncanny ability to connect with troubled cats and their often equally, if not more, troubled humans, again and again. I love watching the transformation his work brings not just to the cats, but also to the humans. And isn’t it almost always the humans who need to change? The cats are just being cats.

Preorder the Paperback or Ebook before May 1oth

If you haven’t already read Jackson’s book, Cat Daddy: What the World’s Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love and Coming Cleannow is the time to order it! The book is coming out in paperback, and Jackson’s publisher, Tarcher Penguin, will donate $1 for every copy of the paperback or ebook ordered before May 10th. Proceeds will go to  Neighborhood Cats, Best Friends Animal Society and Stray Cat Alliance. Continue Reading

Review: The Cat Whisperer by Mieshelle Nagelschneider

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It is heartening to me that we’re seeing more and more books on feline behavior that provide solid, actionable information for cat guardians. Far too many cats are surrendered to shelters, or worse, released into the wild to fend for themselves, because of behavior problems that often aren’t all that hard to fix. In The Cat Whisperer: Why Cats Do What They Do – and How to Get Them To Do What You Want, Mieshelle Nagelschneider explains cat behavior and provides easy-to-follow solutions to common behavior problems.Continue Reading

Review: Skinny the Cat and the Magic of Kindness by Donna Rawlins

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Cats can teach us a lot of things, including how to make the world a better place. In Skinny the Cat and the Magic of Kindness, Donna Rawlins shares the story of a neighborhood cat who wins her heart.

From the publisher:

When Skinny, a neighbor’s scrawny rescue cat, sets out to win the affection of the author’s own cantankerous kitty, at first the fur flies-but Skinny knows a secret that can change the world: how to love with unwavering persistence. For weeks, Skinny faithfully showed up at the author’s door hoping to get a glimpse of her feline princess-sometimes getting a triple right paw punch for his pains. But her unlovable behavior never stopped him from loving her. Skinny will open your heart, too: he’s the cat who not only refused to give up, but who showed an entire community the miracles that can happen when you practice loving kindness. Skinny reminds us that those who appear to be the least deserving of our compassion and gentleness often need it the most, and that loving those who seem unlovable offers healing for ourselves and for the planet.Continue Reading