I read a lot of different books from a lot of different genres, but I had never read anything in the Young Adult Fiction category. Which is actually kind of surprising, because one of my guilty pleasures is watching trashy young adult dramas on tv. Shows like Dawson’s Creek (oh, the teenage angst!) and Gossip Girl (of couse, I watch that one strictly because it’s set in my favorite city in the world. Okay, and the glimpse into the “scandalous lives of Manhattan’s elite” is fun, too. ) But I digress.
When the publicist for Kimberly Pauley’s latest novel Cat Girl’s Day Off asked whether I would like a review copy, I was intrigued. This is how she described the book:
“Nat Ng has always tried to keep her “talent” of being able to converse with cats a secret. Continue Reading
File M for Murder is the third in the Cat in the Stacks series by Miranda James. Set in Athena, Mississippi, the series features kind-hearted librarian Charlie Harris and his rescued cat Diesel.
Diesel is no ordinary cat. The 36-pound Maine Coon was named for his rumbling purr. He is a gregarious, outgoing, laid back cat who wharbles and chirps at the humans around him. Charlie is convinced that Diesel knows exactly what humans are saying to him, even if the humans can’t always understand his responses. Needless to say, Diesel is my favorite part of this book.
Okay, admit it: is this book cover totally cute? Not to mention hot? When this book caught my eye at my local Barnes and Noble store a while back, I just had to buy it. I do enjoy a nice romance novel every once in a while, and if there’s a cat in it, so much the better.
I did read the back cover before I bought it, just to make sure there really was a cat in the book, and yes, right there, it said “There’s nothing like working with animals, having a forlorn, grumpy stray kitten make its home under your desk…”Continue Reading
Jekyll Says…Good Deeds Cats Do, That You Should, Too! was written for the author’s feline companion, Jekyll. “We did not want him to be forgotten,” says D.C. Blackbird. “He deserves more than that. He was special and there are lessons that cats and humans can learn from the fine examples he set in his life.” The author, an American poet and songwriter, is an advocate of animal welfare as well as a proponent of veganism. “Our mission is to teach children, teenagers, and adults about extending compassion for all living beings, as well as values and principles that encourage them to be more just, kind and considerate in their relations with others, and how to live simpler, happier, and healthier lives.”Continue Reading
I’d Rather Be a Cat: The Official “Better Than Dogs” Cat Book confirms once and for all what most of us already know: cats are better than dogs. Bestselling author and ailurophile Allia Zobel Nolan provides inexorable proof, with a little help from her three feline children, why cats are leaving their canine competition in the dust.
Consider the following:
Cats don’t have self esteem issues. They don’t jump all over their humans for approval.
You’ll never have to douse a cat with tomato juice, because cats are smart enough to know that skunks are not to be messed with.
Every once in a while, I like to read a romance novel. I also enjoy reading Christmas themed books. And I really love it when there’s a cat in a Christmas romance novel, which is why I was delighted to discover The Nine Lives of Christmas.
Of course, the cover had me hooked right away. I was somewhat familiar with the author. I read Sheila Roberts’ On Strike for Christmasa few years ago. I bought that book because it, too, had a cat on the cover, and I enjoyed it, even though there wasn’t a cat in the actual story. Apparently, publishers have caught on that people will buy books with cats on the cover – or else, they just have my number.
I first heard about Urban Tigers: Tales of a Cat Vet when a friend forwarded me an e-mail about the book. She had received her e-mail from a cat vet friend, and it included endorsements by two of the premiere feline veterinarians in North America, Dr. Susan Little and Dr. Margie Scherk. Dr. Little called it a “must-read for all vets, vets-to-be & cat lovers”. Dr. Scherk called it “a delightful read.” I had to know more. When my copy arrived, I could hardly wait to get started.
I wasn’t disappointed. Urban Tigers is the story of Dr. Emily McBride’s first year at the Ocean View Cat Hospital in Nova Scotia, Canada. Under the guidance of the flamboyant Dr. Hughie Doucette, Emily encounters a wide variety of cat loving clients, ranging from the retired history professor whose cherished felines only drink bottled water to the self-proclaimed cat psychic whose cat has a lot to say about just how he’d like things to be. At first, Emily is treated as the “new kid on the block” by Dr. Doucette’s clients, but she quickly earns the trust and respect of the colorful and entertaining residents of the small town the clinic is located in.Continue Reading
I first came across Christine Davis’ books when a friend gave me a copy of For Every Cat an Angelafter Virginia, my first office cat at the animal hospital I ran for eight years, passed away. That was ten years ago. To this day, the little book lies on an end table in my living room, a lovely reminder of a cat who took a little piece of my heart when she left, the way they all do. I have since given a copy of this little book, and of For Every Dog an Angel, to friends who lost beloved pets. Both books celebrate the love we have for our special pets.
And now, there’s a new book by Christine Davis, Forever Paws, a book that will help heal the heart after saying goodbye to a special friend. Just before Christmas last year, the author unexpectedly lost her beloved cat Dickens to a cancer no one even knew he had until a few hours before his passing. Chris had barely caught her breath when she learned that Dickens’ brother, her forever cat Pippin, also had cancer. He died a few days after Dickens.
The last thing Chris wanted to do after suffering so much loss so close together was to write another book.Continue Reading
Pru Marlowe has almost finished her animal behavior training in New York City when she becomes ill, and all of a sudden discovers that she can hear animals talking to her. Disturbed rather than pleased with this new psychic ability, Pru leaves the city to retreat to her childhood home in the Berkshires. Even though she hasn’t completed her behavior certification, she begins to take on some jobs training and walking dogs. One of her clients is Lily the pitbull, a former fighting dog. When Pru finds Lily’s owner murdered, his throat ripped open, and Lily standing over the body with blood on her face, it sure looks for all intents and purposes like the dog did it.
But Pru knows Lily, and she knows the dog is not a killer. So Pru sets out to prove Lily’s innocence, and she gets tangled up in an investigation that involves a business venture, an aging mother with Alzheimer’s, a pregnant fiance, an animal control officer with a pet ferret named Frank, a gay Bichon named Bitsy who tells Pru his real name is Growler, and a handsome cop.
As Pru digs deeper into the case, she realizes that the pretty little town harbors secrets that make murder look like the least of its problems. Unwilling to tell anyone about her psychic abilities, and at times questioning her own sanity, Pru realizes that if she clears Lily of the murder, she herself may be come the most logical suspect, which only increases her desire to find the real killer. Pru, who is reserved and a bit solitary by nature, doesn’t come to trust people easily. Instead, she confides in Wallis, her old, cranky, opinionated and wise tabby, who always seems to know the right time to provide a little extra guidance to Pru. My favorite quote from Wallis is the one that probably provided the title for the book: “Dogs.” Wallis hissed out the word, as close to a curse as she comes. “They lie.”
And since one can never have too many cats in a mystery, an orange kitten named Tulip and a black Persian named Floyd also contribute bits and pieces of information to help Pru solve the puzzle. While Lily the pitbull ultimately uncovers the proof needed to convict the killer, the cats provide plenty of help along the way.
Characteristic of all of Simon’s mysteries, this new series features a fast moving, intricate plot, an immensely likable main character and well developed and multi-dimensional secondary characters. But it’s in the portrayal of the animals where Simon really shines in this book. From her sensitive portrayal of Lily’s agony, grief and sadness to her wonderful description of Wallis and her many quirks, Simon masterfully captures each animal’s unique personality. Pru’s psychic abilities add an element of surprise and delight, making Dogs Don’t Lie a treat for cat lovers, dog lovers, and mystery lovers.
I had eagerly anticipated the release of Grey Zone, the third in Clea Simon’s Dulcie Schwartz feline mystery series. The book’s official release date is April 1, and even though I have a pile of unread books a mile high, I just couldn’t wait that long, and ordered it on Amazon as soon as it became available.
Harvard graduate student Dulcie Schwartz is hard at work on her thesis, which focuses on a 200-year-old Gothic mystery. Mr. Grey, the spirit of her beloved feline, who offered wise advice and comfort to Dulcie in the past, has been increasingly silent. Dulcie could really use his help with Esme, her mischievous and sometimes destructive kitten. And on top of everything, her boyfriend is working all the time, and never seems to be available when Dulcie needs him. When a student goes missing and a professor ends up dead, Dulcie finds herself drawn deeper and deeper into an increasingly complicated tangle of possible suspects, motives, and maybe even murder.
This exceptionally plotted story sweeps the reader along with Dulcie as she tries to unravel the mystery. Will Mr. Grey help her, as he did in the past? What about Esme? Will the kitten play a part in solving they mystery? You’ll have to read the book to find out.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book not just for the story, but also for the main characters and the setting. Simon excels in developing her characters, and Dulcie is no exception. Simon’s skills in writing appealing characters extend to the cats as well. Even though Mr. Grey is a ghost cat, he feels real, and many readers will be able to relate to the feeling of connection with lost pets that extends beyond the realm of the physical. She perfectly captures the antics of a growing kitten, and the slow process of a new kitten making her way into the heart of someone who’s lost a beloved cat. The relationship between Dulcie and her boyfriend keeps changing and growing as well. The story is set in Cambridge in the middle of winter, and Simon sets the scene so well that I found myself shivering at times.
All of these components make this book a wonderful read for cat lovers, mystery lovers, and lovers of a great story. Don’t miss this one.
Coming next week on The Conscious Cat: a review of Dogs Don’t Lie, the first in Clea Simon’s new Pet Noir series. And coming in two weeks: Clea Simon talks to The Conscious Cat about writing murder mysteries featuring cats.
I first discovered Blaize Clement’s Dixie Hemingway series three years ago when the cover of the first book in the series, Curiosity Killed the Cat Sitter, caught my eye. Dixie Hemingway is a pet sitter who lives on one of the Florida keys – just based on those two pieces of information, I had a feeling I was going to thoroughly enjoy the series, and I wasn’t disappointed. I’ve since read the entire series, and I was eagerly awaiting the next book. Even if I wasn’t already a fan, the cover of this one would have drawn me in for sure!
From the publisher:
In the sixth installment of the wildly popular Dixie Hemingway mystery series, Dixie is caring for the cat of a prickly old man whose granddaughter shows up with baby in tow. Dixie desperately tries to save this young woman and her infant from murderous con-artists ready to kill in order to hold on to the millions they stole from naive investors. The villains, though, are not run-of-the-mill criminals; they are among the socially prominent movers and shakers in Dixie’s town. As with other novels in the series, in the end, Dixie must confront her greatest fears and try to save the lives of the innocent, both two-legged and four.
This book has everything that makes a successful cozy mystery: an immensely likable protagonist, a wonderful setting (especially when you’re reading it in the middle of winter), well-developed secondary characters, and, of course, there are plenty of cats.
For me, the most enjoyable part about reading a series is always the development of the main character, and Clement does this masterfully, but the book can also be read on its own without taking anything away from it. However, be forewarned: once you read this one, you’re going to want to read the entire series.
This is a thoroughly enjoyable read for mystery and cat lovers alike. The only complaint I had about it was that it ended much too quickly, and I can’t wait for the next one.