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Battle Cry of the Siamese Kitten: even more tales from the Accidental Veterinarian
Battle Cry of the Siamese Kitten
by Philipp Schott, DVM
I had a delightful journey through a series of tales, compared by the author to snacks, in Philipp Schott’s latest book Battle Cry of the Siamese Kitten. It is his third book of this type. It includes animal stories, vet stories, and client stories along with memories dredged up from his unusual childhood as a German immigrant. We gain insight into how he thinks and how he relates to others. There is a lot of humor in the book, and Schott doesn’t shy away from laughing at himself. He has a great way with words that lets the reader experience the animal encounters whether they be disgusting and smelly, bloodletting, or laugh out loud funny. The second tale about a two pound “gorgeous fluffy kitten who channels Satan” will ensure that you are fully engaged as this tiny, very loud, little guy “starfished himself across the entrance” to the kennel looking for a “decisive victory.”
Philipp Schott draws on over 30 years of experience with animals. He is the kind of vet you would want for your own pets—caring, hardworking, kind, intelligent, and honest. Unless you live in Winnipeg, Manitoba, you are unlikely to meet him. He lives there with his family and four animals who admittedly receive people food from time to time as treats. Although she did not contribute to this book, his wife is also a veterinarian and probably a very patient person.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Category: Memoir, Nonfiction
Notes: The more I read, the more I liked what I was reading and even went back to read a few tales again for pure pleasure.
Publication: October 11, 2022—ECW Press
Supercat put his ears back flat and stared at me with an intensity that signaled a level of hatred two steps beyond loathing.
I am not easily bored, but this was an exception. Flies fell asleep in that class.
Have you ever noticed this? The happiest dogs are the ones carrying sticks. And if the sight of a happy dog carrying a stick doesn’t gladden your heart, then what are you doing with this book in your hands?
Goodbye to fall and Hello to fall!
As this blog post finds its way to your computer, I am on my way from fall in the mountains of northern New Mexico at 7,000 feet to fall in Oklahoma at 1,200 feet. We have had our first hard freeze and our first snowfall of the season (with no real accumulation). It’s time to transition.
Fall was beautiful this year with lots of blazing yellow. Now I’m hoping to see fall again in Oklahoma. Last year there were beautiful yellows, reds, and oranges, but strong winds blew them away in just a few days’ time.
I am sharing a few pictures from end of summer and fall in a climate that never got hot this year.
- Ammo in the middle of New Mexico sunflowers that grow abundantly here.
- A tiny berry from a black currant bush that grows wild on our property. It is the first time the bushes have produced fruit in 20 years. Time intensive to collect and remove the ends, but they were fun to eat added into a rhubarb/apple pie.
- Worth the walk up the hill to get a good view of the Brazos Cliffs which are the tallest in New Mexico.
- New Mexico sunflowers that didn’t get planted in the pot until the first of August, and they bloomed before the frost.
- Lovely fall colors.
- Lucy is a nosy chiweenie. This was a little scary because these wildflowers attract wasps.
- A giant sunflower in another pot on the deck. I held my breath until it bloomed! The last frost of the winter and the first frost of the fall can overlap in this area; that can make for a really short growing season.
Sowing Malice–page turner
by Wendy Tyson
I am overwhelmed at the plot complexity in Wendy Tyson’s Sowing Malice. When a rich man dies in Winsome, Pennsylvania, a storm of activities is released including a murder, distraught widows and lovers, planted evidence, semi-abandoned houses, and inheritance issues. More importantly, a murder victim is transferred to Megan’s property where it can’t be missed and attention is diverted to Megan Sawyer. Megan, the widow of a soldier she loved deeply, lives in Winsome with Bibi, her grandmother. She owns and manages an organic farm that supplies her café and other restaurants with fresh organic produce. In this book in the series, she is also finishing renovations on a house on adjoining land she purchased. Her goal is to convert it and a barn into an inn, education facility, and event center. Her Scottish boyfriend, the local veterinarian, continues to play a role as he supports her and patiently waits for her to be ready for a deeper commitment.
All of this story background is the vehicle for delivering a plot with more legitimate suspects than you would think possible. Megan has to work hard to discern the motivations of the various characters and determine who is lying and why. Family relationships keep the focus on tangled connections; extra effort is needed to sort out what occurred when and who benefits from it.
It will come as no surprise to Wendy Tyson fans that she achieves success with this cozy mystery as she racks up yet another page turner. As the book concludes, there are also several surprises in the personal arena that will leave the reader smiling with satisfaction.
I would like to extend my thanks to Edelweiss and Henery Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: #6 in the Greenhouse Mystery Series, but would be great as a standalone.
Publication: July 14, 2020—Henery Press
“My grandfather liked to play games with people. If you understand that about him, then everything makes sense.”
“You’re impossible, you know.” “I think these days I’d be called strong and independent.” Megan laughed. As usual, her grandmother was right.
“I don’t follow.” “Because you’re probably sane, and the actions of cruel people don’t make sense.”
A Dog’s Perfect Christmas–meeting life’s challenges
A Dog’s Perfect Christmas
by W. Bruce Cameron
I have discovered an author I was unfamiliar with, but now I want to read more of his works. W. Bruce Cameron specializes in dog/people stories and knows how to combine some humor with tough reality. His A Dog’s Perfect Christmas could be labeled as a “feel-good Christmas story,” but it is so much more.
This is the tale of an imperfect family doing their best to survive the everyday struggles and big disasters. By the conclusion of this book, you’ll like all of the characters. Hunter loves his family but devotes himself to his job. His wife Juliana gave up her job to raise their children but struggles with inner conflict about her role. Ello (short for Eloise) is their thirteen year old daughter caught in a hurricane of hormones and middle school relationships. Her two younger brothers are three year old twins who excel in wreaking havoc and rely on Ello to be their translator to the rest of the world. Grandpa Sander is a widower whose beloved wife passed away from cancer. Her care drained their financial resources requiring Sander to move in with his son’s family. Completing the family is Sander’s faithful canine retainer Winstead.
I devote so much of my review to the characters because the characters and how they interact with each other and meet life’s challenges is the focus of A Dog’s Perfect Christmas. Everyone in this book has specific needs to be met. The family undergoes a major crisis that could have thrown them all into despair, but as they work to stand strong together through the big problem confronting them, there is healing and a renewing of family and spirit.
Dogs play a part in this story that dog lovers will enjoy, especially the thinking process in Winstead’s brain as he reacts to his “daddy” Sander’s moods and actions. If only there were a puppy, this would be a perfect Christmas story…
I would like to extend my thanks to NetGalley and to Forge for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: General Fiction
Publication: October 10, 2020—Forge
He saw the tidal forces of rage fighting for control of Ello’s face. As a little girl, she had been able to charm her grandfather into reading her one book after another after another. Now, though, she’d morphed into this hideously unpleasant creature, spitting acidic venom.
Winstead and Ruby had already incorporated park visits into their bill of rights, and now gazed at Sander expectantly whenever he stood up out of his chair. They tracked him with eager intensity as he fetched their leashes, then bounded joyfully into the minivan, wrestling all the way to the park.
When Hunter released her, Ruby darted off with crazed energy, racing around the room in celebration, because puppies know how to celebrate everything.
Something Borrowed, Something Mewed–canine sidekick
Something Borrowed, Something Mewed
by Bethany Blake
Celebrating the 4th of July in Sylvan Creek, Pennsylvania, means a weeklong pet-centric Wags ’n Flags affair complete with fireworks, patriotic decorations, dogs in costumes, and the canine All Paws on Deck Rowboat Regatta. This year pet-sitter and pet bakery owner Daphne Templeton and her Basset hound sleuthing sidekick Socrates are immersed in solving crimes. Daphne’s sister Piper is engaged to be married. The wedding planner has multiple bookings set up at the same venue and at the same time and has plans to abscond with all the bridal payments. Murder ups the ante on the scam. Who is behind all the nefarious shenanigans?
On the personal scene in Something Borrowed, Something Mewed, Daphne and her detective boyfriend Jonathan seem to be getting emotionally closer at a time when physical separation is imminent. Daphne’s fun and a little wacky friend Moxie is Daphne’s support throughout it all. Humor is injected as Daphne has interesting, but fairly one sided, “conversations” with Socrates throughout the book as she tries to solve the mysteries swirling around Sylvan Creek’s celebration.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: #5 in the Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery Series
Publication: May 28, 2019—Kensington
…a black whirlwind flew past our feet and Tinkleston finally launched himself at the world’s meekest, most clueless and most accident-prone cat, who went flying off the icebox with a familiar, plaintive yowl.
I prized allegiance to family and friends. I also admired people who looked out for lost souls, whether they were siblings or Chihuahuas and pugs with oversized personalities. Or very insistent cats.
“I won’t even ask why you rode something you pedal to a biker bar.”
Lessons from Lucy–LOL funny
Lessons from Lucy
by Dave Barry
Lessons from Lucy has to be the funniest self-help book ever written. Dave Barry, the humor columnist, takes his lessons on aging from his also aging, happy, contented dog Lucy. There are indeed words of wisdom in these pages but in making his points Dave, in his typical fashion, goes off in side splitting fashion with outrageous opinions and funny anecdotes that combine to provide the reader with an outrageously funny good time. From the man who is famous for saying “I did not make this up” are totally fabricated footnotes for nautical terms and tales of marching with the World Famous Lawn Rangers of Arcola, Illinois, in the Broom Corn Festival. They are a “precision” drill team complete with lawn mowers, brooms, and silliness. Those members with a higher rank even have toilet plungers. No one takes themselves seriously, and they all have a blast. I had to do an Internet search to confirm the truth. Yes, the Lawn Rangers do exist and Dave Barry has more fun than a three year old when he can participate in their good-natured nonsense.
Lessons from Lucy is a fast read, and you may hope it won’t end. I think it would probably be fun to read again and just as funny the second time around. Dave Barry is an unexpected introvert who never fails in the humor department. At age seventy he proves he still has what it takes to keep us laughing.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Simon & Schuster for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: Humor, Self-Help
Notes: There are a few instances of profanity and more instances of bathroom words that three year old boys would find funny. Neither kept me from enjoying this book.
Publication: April 2, 2019—Simon & Schuster
Memorable Lines: Please note that there is no way for me to truly share the humor of this book because so much is lost when it is taken out of context, but here are some comments that make me nod and smile.
That’s what Lucy does: she makes the best of things. She’s way better at this than I am. I know much more than she does, but she knows something I don’t: how to be happy.
Even if you can’t travel, you can still find ways to have genuine fun. The key, I think, is to stretch your boundaries, to escape the numbing routine that old age so easily decays into, to take a chance, get out of your comfort zone, maybe risk making a fool of yourself.
1. Lucy spends every second she can being as close as she can be to the people she loves. This makes her a happy dog. 2. Mike Peters, who is a busy guy facing constant deadlines, still makes a point of making time for, and jumping on the trampoline with, the people he loves. and he is the happiest person I know over the age of three.
The whole world is way too angry these days. If you want proof of that, don some eye protection and take a look at Facebook. In case you just woke up from a coma, I should explain that Facebook is a social-media website that literally billions of people visit regularly for the purpose of making some person named Mark Zuckerberg insanely rich.
A Cold Brew Killing–political aspirations turn deadly
A Cold Brew Killing
by Lena Gregory
A group of former high school friends converge on their hometown in Florida as two of their number compete for the job of mayor. As all eyes are focused on the politics, one is found murdered in the ice cream shop belonging to Gia’s friend, Trevor. Trevor appears guilty, and Gia wonders if she knew him as well as she thought she did.
If you have read other books in the series, you will remember the regular cast of characters. In A Cold Brew Killing, author Lena Gregory gives more depth to these characters as she reveals some of their background. She also adds many more characters for this storyline. The author boldly dances between plot threads and the importance of characters, intertwining the two into an inseparable and fascinating storyline. Are secrets of the past playing out in the present? How far should one go to keep a secret that protects someone else?
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Lyrical Underground (Kensington Press) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: 1. #3 in the All-Day Breakfast Café Series, but can be read as a standalone
2. If you are not a coffee drinker or are an old school coffee drinker, you can learn about something new: cold brew coffee!
Publication: November 6, 2018—Kensington Press (Lyrical Underground)
“I believe there are a few people we meet in our lives who are meant to be a part of something special. Sometimes lasting friends, other times just part of an important event in your life. Either way, I think we recognize those people when our paths cross.”
Her mental to-do list was getting longer and longer. If she didn’t start writing this stuff down somewhere, there was no way she’d remember to do it all. She hadn’t even remembered she was supposed to go away in less than a day.
Sometimes you didn’t need a friend to interfere; sometimes you needed them to stand by while you made a mess of your life, then jump in and help pick up the pieces.
Life on the Leash–amusing and light-hearted
Life on the Leash
by Victoria Schade
If you want a fun, relaxing novel, try Victoria Schade’s Life on the Leash—especially if you like dogs and chick lit. Schade is an animal trainer, and Life on the Leash is her first novel. Her main character, Cora, left the corporate world to do what she loves—teach pet parents how to train their dogs in a loving fashion. Her clientele in Georgetown can afford her services, and she can afford to be choosy.
Cora tries to be professional in all of her sessions, but that is hard to do with flirtatious Charlie whose girlfriend is out of town. Complete this love triangle with Eli, the slightly geeky boy-next-door who works for one of her clients. Cora toys around with the idea of her own dog training show in opposition to one hosted by Doggie Dictator Boris Ershovich who claims to “fix” dogs through his harsh methods.
Life on the Leash made a light-hearted read in the wake of several suspense novels. I found myself chuckling at some of the characters’ antics, gasping at a few unwise decisions, and sympathizing with Cora’s pet friendly stances. I found myself wishing that a few of her tips and tricks could have been explained thoroughly, perhaps in an addendum so as not to interrupt the story.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Gallery Books (Simon & Schuster) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: Women’s Fiction
Notes: Expletives are sprinkled throughout the book.
Publication: September 18, 2018—Gallery Books (Simon & Schuster)
Beaches in Paradise–suspenseful plot
Beaches in Paradise
by Kathi Daley
When you read a book in the Tj Jensen Mystery Series, you can count on a solid cozy mystery with likable main characters, strong family ties, and a good plot. Beaches in Paradise is a no exception. Maggie’s Hideaway is a family owned resort on Paradise Lake where Maggie works part-time when she is not busy as the local P.E. teacher and soccer coach. Maggie is also raising her two half-sisters and slowly developing her relationship with Kyle. Both enjoy functioning as a team to help solve local mysteries. What Maggie doesn’t enjoy is her confrontational encounters with Paradise’s new deputy Kate who warns Maggie off of amateur sleuthing and displays subtle hints of interest in Kyle.
Maggie involves herself in a murder and disappearance when an unpopular businessman is found dead in a wrecked car and her friend Gina is nowhere to be found. I had to suspend belief a little in considering the lengths Maggie went to find Gina. The action would have been more convincing if more background on Gina and Maggie’s two year friendship had been provided. Gina teaches math and Maggie P.E. at the local high school.There are no further details to support the strong bond they are supposed to have.
Plot is one of the main strengths of Beaches in Paradise. Three-fourths of the way through the book, after many interviews and lots of twists and turns, a huge part of the mystery is solved and everyone breathes a sigh of relief. There is more suspense to come, however, and it extends quite engagingly all the way to the second surprise ending. This is a solid series and one you will enjoy.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Henery Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery
Notes: #9 in the Tj Jensen Mystery Series, but is OK as a standalone.
Publication: July 17, 2018 — Henery Press
Once we were ready, Kyle and I climbed into the van with our troupe of geriatric sleuths. I hated to put the men in danger, but I knew they were clearheaded adults able to make up their own minds.
“More than anyone I know, you always make sure the people you care for are all right.”
The Otter of Death–fascinating otters and mystery
The Otter of Death
by Betty Webb
Teddy is a zookeeper at the Gunn Zoo in San Sebastian, CA. She lives on a houseboat and is engaged to Joe, the local county sheriff. She also volunteers conducting a census for the Otter Conservancy, a marine life rescue group. Trouble occurs during her routine survey when she discovers an otter with a cell phone. More troubling is a selfie on the phone that seems to indicate a crime.
The victim is well known, but not very popular, so there are a lot of suspects. Teddy puts herself in danger with her investigations, much to the dismay of Joe and her mother Caro. There are a lot of other characters in this book, including fellow zookeepers, neighbor liveaboards at the harbor, and the wealthy of San Sebastian. The author, Betty Webb, does a good job of defining the characters and subtly reminding the reader of who they are, as necessary.
I found all aspects of The Otter of Death fascinating, starting with the mystery to be solved, but also including the inner workings of the zoo and information about the animals, especially the otters.
Despite the appealing cover, I went into this cozy mystery wondering if I would like it. I emerged ready to read more of this series.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Poisoned Pen Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: 1. #5 in the Gunn Zoo Mystery Series
2. This is my first book in the series, but it worked great as a standalone.
3. You can read the first chapter of this book at bettywebbzoomystery.com.
Publication: May 2, 2018—Poisoned Pen Press
“I love your mother’s house. It’s so tiny and cute.” Tiny? Cute? For an eleven-room—not counting the kitchen and six baths—antiques-stuffed mansion on a shaded hillside overlooking the Pacific? Only a Betancourt could make such an outrageous statement.
I expected a thunderbolt from Heaven to strike me dead any second, but it didn’t happen. Instead, Frasier—thrilled as any man would be to be called fascinating and mysterious—started talking about his job. It was almost, but not quite, as boring as his wails about his blood-sucking ex-wife.
Trumpeter swans may be beautiful, but they are quick to defend their babies with beating wings and slashing bills. The injuries inflicted by these large birds aren’t as minor as you might think. A peck from a swan’s bill can take out an eye, and a blow from an enraged trumpeter’s four-foot-long wing has been known to break an adult human’s leg.