Books

Review and giveaway: Simon’s Cat in Kitten Chaos by Simon Tofield

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You know Simon’s Cat from his YouTube videos. It all started with Cat Man Do, which I believe was the original Simon’s Cat video. The hand drawn animated video featuring black and white pencil drawings of a cat trying to wake his guardian has garnered more than 40 million views since it was posted five years ago.

Since then, Simon’s Cat has become an empire, featuring more videos, books, and merchandise ranging from t-shirts to cat beds to fine art prints.

Simon’s Cat in Kitten Chaos is the third installment in Simon Tofield’s book series based on his YouTube cartoon character. In this book, Simon’s Cat meets his match: a new kitten who is half the size of Simon’s Cat, with twice the attitude.

I hadn’t seen any of the previous books before, and I wasn’t sure how the cartoons would translate to print. Turns out they translate well – I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It’s impossible to look through the book without winding up with a big smile on your face.Continue Reading

Interview with Helen Brown, Author of Cats and Daughters

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Helen Brown is the author of Cleo: The Cat Who Mended a Family and the brand new Cats and Daughters: They Don’t Always Come When Called.  She was born and brought up in New Zealand, where she first worked as a journalist, TV presenter and scriptwriter. Now living in Melbourne, Australia with her family, Helen continues to write columns for the New Zealand media, and she’s been voted Columnist of the Year several times.  Cleo rose to the top of the bestseller lists in its first week in the UK, New Zealand, and Australia and has been translated into more than 16 languages.

I previously interviewed Helen after the release of Cleo, and I’m delighted to welcome her back to The Conscious Cat today.

How was writing Cats and Daughters different for you from writing your first book?Continue Reading

Review: Cats and Daughters by Helen Brown

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I love cat memoirs, and I love that we’re seeing more and more of these wonderful stories being published. I absolutely adored Helen Brown’s first book, Cleo: The Cat Who Mended a Family, about the little black kitten who came into the author’s life after the death of her young son. This sweeping memoir of heartbreak, changes, new beginnings, and ultimately, happiness, touched my heart in a big way.

I was excited when Helen Brown’s publisher sent me the just published sequel, Cats and Daughters: They Don’t Always Come When They’re Called. But you never know with sequels: will they be as good as the first book, or will they disappoint? I should have known that Brown wouldn’t disappoint.

After Cleo died, the author swore she’d never get another cat, but the universe had different plans when a small Siamese kitten with an intense blue gaze wraps his paws around her hand Continue Reading

The Birth of a Fictional Feline

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Guest post by Clea Simon

“Dogs,” said Wallis, her voice dripping scorn. “Dogs have fleas. Dogs lie.”  And with that, a character was born.

Now, some people may question the veracity of the above, and perhaps these people have reason. Wallis is, after all, a cat – the irascible tabby companion of Pru Marlowe, the human protagonist of my “pet noir” mysteries, the most recent of which, Parrots Prove Deadly, was published this week by Poisoned Pen Press. And while Pru has the dubious gift of being able to hear, in her way, what animals are thinking, most of us, myself included, do not. And yet, I swear to you, this is what Wallis said. And this is how Wallis came into the world.

It is a truism of fiction that sometimes characters determine their own stories. We’ve all heard authors say that, and I suspect we have all rolled our eyes. After all, writing – especially the 80,000 words or so that are necessary for a book – takes effort, planning, and discipline. But that doesn’t make the statement any less true, and the more realistic, less glamorous way of putting it is that a good character, the kind who makes a series, has a voice, or a style, or some ineffable characteristic, that sets her or himself apart. Continue Reading

Review: Parrots Prove Deadly by Clea Simon

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It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Clea Simon’s cat-centric murder mysteries. I knew I would enjoy Parrots Prove Deadly, the third in Simon’s Pet Noir series featuring pet behaviorist and psychic Pru Marlowe – I just didn’t realize just how much I would love it.

Pru is hired to retrain the parrot of a woman who has died in a retirement home. The parrot needs a new home, but isn’t likely to find one with the vocabulary of swear words he seems to have acquired, and the dead woman’s family is hoping that Pru can help. As Pru starts working with the bird, she is wondering whether some of the parrot’s words are a replay of the woman’s death, and whether that death could have possibly been a murder. The only other possible witnesses are a blind neighbor, her seeing-eye dog, and a non-commital health care aide. Pru can’t help herself: she begins to look into the woman’s death, and she gets drawn into a tangled web of family dynamics, possible land fraud, and a potential rabies outbreak.

With the help of her cantankerous tabby Wallis, Continue Reading

Review: Crazy Critter Lady by Kelly Meister

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I love stories by writers whose life has been saved by the love of an animal, or two or three. In Crazy Critter Lady, Kelly Meister shares her stories of the animals who share her life: cats, horses, ducks, even birds, chipmunks and helpless mice.

From the publisher:

In a world where animals are often seen as impediments to progress or expendable pests, Crazy Critter Lady is the story of one woman’s determination to do the right thing for the animals around her. Kelly Meister goes out on a limb – and sometimes a half-frozen pond – to help injured birds, mice and chipmunks, homeless “Aflac” ducks, cranky horses, lost frogs and a host of others. When she’s not chasing squirrels out of the road, the author waits on her five demanding cats hand and foot. Crazy Critter Lady, a memoir, is the story of a love affair with animals. Continue Reading

Review: What the Cat Saw by Carolyn Hart

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A protagonist who can understand the thoughts of cats when she looks into their eyes? How could I not be intrigued with What the Cat Saw by bestselling mystery author Carolyn Hart!

From the publisher:

Ever since the death of her fiancé, Nela Farley has found herself plagued by a sixth sense: she understands the thoughts of cats when she looks into their eyes. Nela knows that what she’s experiencing is completely irrational and tries to convince herself that she is simply transferring her own thoughts that she doesn’t want to face. When her adventurous sister, Chloe, goes on a trip and asks for a favor, Nela welcomes the distraction and agrees to substitute at Chloe’s job at a charitable foundation. Chloe has arranged a place for her sister to stay, but when Nela shows up, she encounters the previous tenant’s cat and gets a flash of thought:Continue Reading

Review: Acu-Cat: A Guide to Feline Acupressure by Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis

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If you’ve ever been interested in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), acupuncture or acupressure, and how it might benefit your feline family members, you’re going to want to read Acu-Cat: A Guide to Feline Acupressure.

This comprehensive guide covers

  • a thorough introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) concepts and theories
  • how these theories and concepts are applied in a feline acupressure session
  • 33 feline health and behavioral conditions that may benefit from acupressure
  • extensive drawings of acupressure charts, meridians and points

If you’re expecting a simple guideContinue Reading

Review and giveaway: Celebrity Cat Names by Christina Hamilton

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Let’s face it, we’re a celebrity obsessed culture, and that obsession extends to celebrity pets as well. If you enjoy following celebrities, and if you’ve ever wondered about famous cat lovers and their beloved cats, you’ll enjoy Celebrity Cat Names.

From the publisher:

Celebrity stories from Cleopatra to Beyoncé revealed through their cats. From the legend of Prophet Mhammed’s Muezza to the tragic story of Kim Kardashian’s Mercy; from Thomas Hardy’s Kiddleywinkempoops to Big Bang Theory Sheldon’s scientist cats. A diverse mixture of fun facts about historical and contemporary celebrities, chock full of gorgeous cat photos, quotes and tales, Celebrity Cat Names is purrfect for everyone who loves cats.Continue Reading

Review: Soul Comfort for Cat Lovers by Liz Eastwood

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Even if our cats live into their late teens and sometimes early twenties, it’s just not long enough. The price we pay for sharing our lives with these wonderful companions is that all of us who considers our cats family members or best friends will sooner or later experience the pain of loss, and it can be as devastating as the loss of any loved one.

There are any number of books on pet loss on the market, but until now, there wasn’t a book that addresses the issue of pet loss specifically from a cat guardian’s perspective. In Soul Comfort for Cat Lovers: Coping Wisdom for Heart and Soul After the Loss of a Beloved Feline, Liz Eastwood provides a roadmap for the journey through grief.

Liz weaves her own experience with grief together with expert advice from grief counselors and stories from other cat lovers.Continue Reading

Review: Feline Friends: Tales from the Heart

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Feline Friends: Tales from the Heart is a collection of stories sent to the Cat Protection Society of New South Wales in Australia, an independent rescue group that has been caring for cats since 1958.

From the publisher:

A heartwarming tribute to our feline friends, this collection of real-life stories and captivating photographs will delight, amaze and deeply touch anyone who has ever spent time with a cat. From cats who ‘adopted’ their owners to strays who visited with a human just long enough to entrust them with their kittens, from loving companions giving solace in times of grief to little bundles of fur given as a child’s first pet, ‘Feline Friends’ celebrates the beauty, elegance, and incredible capacity for love of that most selective of pets — the cat! Above all, it shows us why cats matter and why our lives are richer when they share the journey with us.

I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of stories, but what really makes this book special Continue Reading