Posted in Cat Writers' Association, Cats, Reviews

Review of Cat Life: Celebrating the History, Culture & Love of the Cat by Amy Shojai

Review: Cat Life: Celebrating the History, Culture & Love of the Cat

*****5 stars

This book is not only beautiful, filled with gorgeous color photographs of cats, but also extremely informative. I would expect nothing less from the author. Amy Shojai is a certified animal behavior consultant who has published 30 bestselling pet books.

Cat Life is divided into four sections: Evolutionary of cat; cultured cat; physical cat, and gallery of breeds. Anything and everything a cat lover might want to know about this unique animal is included in this book. A Table of Contents and an alphabetical index are also provided to help locate topics.

If you are looking for a complete guide that is wonderfully illustrated, you need look no further than Cat Life: Celebrating the History, Culture & Love of the Cat. A companion dog volume by Ms. Shojai is also available.
“Purr”-chase this book here.
JOIN Amy’s Audacious Allies, SUBSCRIBE to her free newsletter, READ her pet-centric blog: https://AmyShojai.com

Amy Shojai is a nationally known authority on pet care and behavior, a certified animal behavior consultant, a spokesperson for the pet products industry, and the author of 30 nonfiction pet books. She also writes THRILLERS WITH BITE! which includes the dog-viewpoint thrillers LOST AND FOUND, HIDE AND SEEK, SHOW AND TELL and FIGHT OR FLIGHT. In her other life, she’s a published and produced playwright of musical theater productions (some including pet characters!).

Amy addresses a wide range of fun-to-serious issues in her work, covering dog and cat training, behavior, natural and allopathic health care, nutrition, first aid, aging pets, “the bond” and cutting-edge medical topics. In her nonfiction books, she empowers pet lovers by providing the information they need to make informed decisions for their cats and dogs. She specializes in translating “medicalese” into easily understood jargon-free language, making it accessible to all pet lovers. Oh, and she loves bling-icity!

Her work has been honored with over three dozen writing awards and she is a two-time recipient of the “Friskies Writer of the Year” award. Her articles currently appear in the Herald Democrat newspaper, on Chewy.com and PetSafe.net among others. She’s published several thousand articles and columns during her career. Amy presents a twice-monthly “Pet Talk” segment at KXII-CBS, hosted the weekly “Pet Peeves” at PetLifeRadio.com and is an expert on Animal Planet DOGS 101 and CATS 101. Sometimes she has time to sleep.

Amy has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and in The Wall Street Journal, USA Weekend, The New York Times, Washington Post, Reader’s Digest, Woman’s Day, Family Circle, Woman’s World, and many other leading newspapers and magazines. She has also been a featured pet care expert on Animal Planet Dogs 101, Cats 101, Petsburgh USA/Disney Channel program, Good Day New York, Fox News: Pet News, NBC Today Show, WGN-Chicago “Pet Central” and “Animal Planet Radio” and many others.

She is an active member of the International Thriller Writers, Sisters In Crime, and Alliance of Independent Authors. Amy is a certified member of International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, founder and Past President of the Cat Writers’ Association, member of the Dog Writers Association of America, and Past President and Honorary Lifetime Member of Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc. She frequently speaks to groups on a variety of pet-related and writing issues, lectures at veterinary and writer conferences, and conducts training and behavior demonstrations around the country.

She and her husband live with Karma-Kat the feline delinquent and Bravo-Boy, the Bullmastiff. They, along with the enduring inspiration of Siamese wannabe Seren-Kitty and Magical-Dawg the German Shepherd, continue to inspire her work. Find more information about her work at www.shojai.com and follow her Bling, Bitches & Blood Blog at https://amyshojai.com.

Posted in Reviews

Travel Memoir – Fishnets in the Far East by Michele E. Northwood

The holidays are a nice time to do some armchair traveling. If you’d like an in-depth glimpse into Korea from someone who stayed, worked, and lived there for several months, Fishnets in the Far East by Michele E. Northwood is the book for you.

Purchase Link: https://www.amazon.com/Michele-Northwood-ebook/dp/B07MLQ1WVQ

This is the true story of a young dancer, whose naive dream of working in the Far East turns into a nightmare.

She finds herself in a plethora of situations which she is ill-equipped to deal with. Dancing her way across South Korea with two friends, she is propositioned by the Mafia, turned away by the British Embassy, caught in a student riot, and taken to Korean brothels.

At times both shocking and humorous, this is the story of a timid young girl finding her voice and learning to stand up for herself in a male-orientated world of alcohol, sex and seedy nightclubs.

Here is a review I wrote for Amazon, Goodreads, and Bookbub after reading this book:

A Dancer’s Travel Diary Makes Intriguing Reading

I’m not a non-fiction reader, but this book reads almost like fiction. In fact, it proves the fact that real life can be stranger than fiction. I found the adventures of Michele and her two fellow dancers when they spent 6-months living and working in Korea to have all the elements of an intriguing story — part comedy, part drama with action, humor, and lots of insight into Korean culture. Michele related her experiences in a manner that made you feel like you were living them yourself. I cringed at the depiction of the hotel room with the rats and my heart beat fast at the parts where the women were warned about shootings in the area in which they were staying. I picked up some facts about Korean food and popular phrases such as Deep Joy. I can’t wait to read the author’s next tale taking place in Japan.

Posted in Cozy Mystery, New Releases, Reviews

Book Review: Brewed Awakening, A Coffeehouse Mystery, by Cleo Coyle

*****5 stars

Brewed Awakening, the 18th mystery in the Coffeehouse cozy mystery series, of which this book introduced me, is a highly recommended read for those who like books with twists, adventure, mystery, humor, clean romance, art, and delightful recipes.

The main character of the series, Clare Cosi, a coffee shop owner and a divorcee who still works with her ex-husband and his family, is also an amateur sleuth who assists her boyfriend, Detective Mike Quinn, on cases. In the second chapter of the book, after Mike proposes to her, Clare awakes on a park bench in Washington Square Park with Amnesia. While she can recall her ex, Matt Allegro, and her daughter, Joy, she remembers them from 15 years ago when Joy was a child. She recalls hardly anything of her present life including her relationship with Mike.

As the story progresses, Clare and her coffeehouse co-workers, her ex, and her fiancee all try to discover what happened to her while attempting to thwart Dr. Lorca, a psychiatrist who wishes to admit her to a medical facility away from any contact with them. Aware that Clare’s memory loss is tied into a crime she witnessed and that also involves a missing woman, her friends know the urgency of retrieving her recall of the incident. Her fiancee also has his personal reason for wanting Clare to remember him.

As a Long Islander, I particularly enjoyed the New York and Long Island’s East End settings. All the characters were well depicted, and I liked the mock jealousy between Mike and Matt who obviously both love her. Some recipes included at the back are mentioned in the book and are also available with others online at the included website. The ending features a nice twist and resolution. I look forward to catching up with this series written by a husband and wife team and highly recommend this book.

This book is on blog tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours.

Brewed Awakening (A Coffeehouse Mystery)
by Cleo Coyle

About Brewed Awakening


Brewed Awakening (A Coffeehouse Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
18th in Series
Berkley (December 3, 2019)
Hardcover: 368 pages
ISBN-10: 0451488873
ISBN-13: 978-0451488879
Digital ASIN: B07GQHK51D

From Cleo Coyle, the New York Times bestselling author of Shot in the Dark and Dead Cold Brew, comes a delicious new entry in the “fun and gripping” (The Huffington Post) Coffeehouse Mysteries.

When coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi awakens on a bench in Washington Square Park, she has no idea she’s been missing for the past week, or that her friends and family have been frantic with worry. Now that she’s back, everyone is overjoyed, including a handsome NYPD detective who claims to be her fiancé. But to Mike Quinn’s crushing distress, Clare doesn’t remember him, or much of anything about the last decade of her life.

Clare’s missing memory is tied to a crime she witnessed. An acquaintance of Clare’s elegant employer–and fellow member of an exclusive Gotham circle known as “The Ladies Who Brunch”–invited Clare to her posh hotel to sample gourmet wedding cakes. The pair took a stroll after their indulgent tasting and, according to security camera footage, a masked figure snatched the hotel heiress at gunpoint with Clare looking on. Did the kidnapper take Clare, too? The camera went dark, just like Clare’s memory. Soon authorities grow suspicious. Is Clare really a victim? Or merely acting like one? Evidence is mounting that she set the woman up.

To clear her name, Clare must find a way to reclaim her memories and rescue the heiress before this high-stakes crime ends in tragedy. Otherwise, instead of walking down the aisle, Clare may find herself perp-walking to prison as an accomplice to kidnapping and murder.

About Cleo Coyle

CLEO COYLE is the pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, writing in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini.  CLEO COYLE grew up in a small town near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After earning scholarships to study writing at Carnegie Mellon and American Universities, she began her career as a cub reporter for The New York Times. Now an author of popular fiction and New York Times bestselling media tie-in writer, Cleo lives and works in New York City, where she collaborates with her husband (also a bestselling author) to pen the Coffeehouse Mysteries for Penguin. Together Cleo and her husband also write the Haunted Bookshop Mysteries under the name Alice Kimberly. When not haunting coffeehouses, hunting ghosts, or rescuing stray cats, Cleo and Marc are bestselling media tie-in writers who have penned properties for NBC, Lucasfilm, Disney, Fox, Imagine, and MGM. In their spare time, they cook like crazy and drink a lot of java. You can learn more about Cleo, her husband, and the books they write by visiting www.CoffeehouseMystery.com.

Author Links

Visit Cleo online: www.coffeehousemystery.com

Friend Cleo on Facebook:www.Facebook.com/CleoCoyle

Follow Cleo on Twitterhttps://twitter.com/cleocoyle/

Purchase Links

Amazon     B&N     Kobo   Google Play  IndieBound

Posted in Cozy Series, Reviews

Review of Academic Curveball : A Kellan Arywick Cozy Mystery (Braxton Campus Mysteries #1) by James Cudney IV

Purchase Links:

eBook (and Kindle Unlimited): https://amzn.to/2LOOc2g

Paperback: https://amzn.to/2RMjXNs

Audio: https://amzn.to/35eaDWk

Five Stars *****

Academic Curveball is the second book I’ve read by James J. Cudney and the first of his Braxton Campus cozy mysteries. Having enjoyed his first novel, the standalone family saga Watching Glass Shatter that I reviewed here, I was curious to see how he would handle a cozy mystery. I wasn’t disappointed. The characters in Academic Curveball were all well portrayed. I especially liked Kellan, the main character, a widower with a young daughter who was called home for his father’s retirement party as president of Braxton College. Upon his return, Kellan who is currently working for Dark Realities, a television reality crime show, plans to meet Professor Abby Monroe who has material for the second season of his show after his father’s party. Unfortunately, he never gets to do so because Abby’s dead body is found during the party by his father’s assistant Lorraine Candito.

A number of people, some close to Kellan including his own father, are suspects in Abby’s murder, but the murder weapon is missing along with two other items, one that was intended as a gift to Kellan. The motive is believed to have involved the changing of a grade for an athlete so he can compete in a game that a college scout will attend. But when another murder occurs and they find the possible weapon hidden in Kellan’s father’s desk, Kellan has even more reason to solve the case despite the warnings by the town’s female sheriff who refers to him as “Little Arywick.”

Aided by his sassy grandmother, Nana D. and his old school friend Connor who is dating both his sister Eleanor and his college girlfriend Maggie, Kellan sets out to find the person responsible for the murders. Although I had a funny feeling about the character who the killer ended up being, I didn’t know the identity of the murderer until it was unveiled . . .  and then it all made sense. What surprised me even more was the cliffhanger at the end of the book that was totally unexpected. I won’t reveal any spoilers, but I love double twists. This one was done exceptionally well. I can’t wait to read the second book where it should be explained. My only criticism of this book was that the plethora of characters were introduced close together which made it somewhat difficult to keep them all straight initially. Otherwise, I highly recommend this series to those who like academic settings, a variety of interesting characters including a male protagonist, and cozy mysteries with lots of subplots and twists.

In addition to being a talented writer, Cudney also has a terrific WordPress blog called This is My Truth Now.

Posted in mystery, Reviews

Book Review: By Book or By Crook, Lighthouse Library Mystery #1, by Eva Gates

I was attracted to this series and wanted to start with the first book because it features a lighthouse library and a cat, both of which, as a librarian and cat lover, I’m interested in. Although the lighthouse in this mystery is fictional, it’s based on a real lighthouse, Bodie Island Lighthouse, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The story involves a murder and subsequent theft of rare Jane Austen novels. Are the two connected?

The main character, Lucy the librarian who has escaped an unhappy relationship and life in Boston to take a job at the lighthouse library, is well-developed, as are the other characters. I also enjoyed the role that the cat, Charles, played in the book. Readers who like cozy mysteries, libraries, and cats will enjoy this series. A preview to the next edition is included in the back and looks just as good as the first.

Posted in mystery, Reviews

Review of River Bones by Mary Deal

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/2Mdk9Rm

5-star Review:

If you like mystery thrillers, you should enjoy this book. At one point, I felt goose bumps as Ms. Deal brought the reader into the mind of a serial killer. I liked the fact that her protagonist, Sara, had figured out who the murderer was but didn’t reveal it until the story’s climax. This had me sitting on edge. I also liked the romance subplot between Sara and Huxley. I found the ending satisfying and well executed. I also enjoyed learning about the Sacramento Delta area of which I was unfamiliar. I will definitely read more books by this talented author and highly recommend this one.

Posted in Cozy Series, Reviews

Review of Mrs. Morris and the Ghost, the first of a new cozy mystery series by Traci Wilton

Purchase Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1496721519/

I picked up this paperback book because I thought it would make a nice Halloween read, but I think people would enjoy it any time of year. Taking place in Salem, Massachusetts, the main character is Charlene Morris, a recently widowed, fortyish lady who moves from Chicago to Salem to open a bed and breakfast in a Victorian mansion. There are a nice assortment of characters including a handsome ghost, the previous owner of the house who can’t move on until his murder is solved. Charlene decides to take on this task. It’s a charming book that will keep you guessing, and it also features a cat. The second book of the series is previewed at the back.