Book Reviews and Giveaways

Feline Good! A New Concept in Reading With Gwen Cooper’s “Curl Up With a Cat Tale” Series

I love cats. I love to read. A book about cats, I’m just about in Heaven. Unfortunately, finding time to read is challenging, so I rarely have the opportunity to enjoy a good cat story. That is until now. A dear friend of mine and New York Times bestselling author, Gwen Cooper of Homer’s Odyssey, has come up with an ingenious concept for those of us wanting a quick kitty fix of quality, entertaining, and compelling writing with her “Curl Up With a Cat Tale” series.

Featuring 10 short stories about her much-beloved fur family – from her early days when she was a novice cat lady in training to her current status in which she and her cats are household names – each story is independent of one another. They are available monthly for $3.99 apiece on Kindle, Nook, iTunes, or Kobo or you can pay a one-time subscription fee of $14.99 and receive all 10 stories in the series at 60% off. Subscribers will automatically receive their new story the first week of each month and stories are delivered in PDF, ePub, and Mobi formats so they may be read on any desktop or laptop computer, e-reader, mobile phone, tablet, and/or printed out on paper for a hard copy.

Short story cover photo courtesy of Gwen Cooper.

I was privy to an advanced sneak peek at the first story “I Choo-Choo-Choose You!” about Scarlett – a pint-sized white mitted and bibbed tabby rescue kitten with a strong mind of her own. For Gwen, it was love at first sight. For Scarlett, not so much. The story itself was only about 30 pages, but even though it was short, it was still written with Gwen’s trademark wit, honesty, and heart, and best of all, I was able to fit the time into my busy schedule to read it. Gwen has an easy-going nature to her writing and she is quick to make fun of the irony of it all. Scarlett was Gwen’s first official adopted cat and in her mind, she and Scarlett would become instant best friends. She rescued Scarlett. She would be a hero!

Gwen armed herself, as only a cat lover can, with every bit of cat paraphernalia she could find to amuse and impress her newly adopted furry roommate. Never mind Gwen lived in a tiny apartment, and never mind that a kitten can actually amuse themselves with little more than a wadded up piece of paper, but Gwen insisted in her heart she knew what her little Scarlett would want. Which in essence, amounted to a kitten-sized army of indifference to Gwen’s carefully chosen efforts.  

Scarlett back in 2008 – she was a pretty little kitty with a mega-sized personality! Photo courtesy of Gwen Cooper.

I loved this so much because so many of us as cat lovers can relate. We love cats, but there’s always that one cat you can’t pet, or the cat that hides from you, or the cat that completely ignores you. We pretend we don’t mind, but deep down it hurts. A cat that doesn’t like me? How can that be? As someone who has been studying cat behavior for the past several years, I now realize (as Gwen has also learned) that it’s not necessarily personal. All cats are wired differently and it’s how we respect their inner boundaries that make the difference to the feline-human relationship.

By the end of the story, that point is proven. All the unused toys. All the indifference. All the misdirected aggressive behavior (including a very odd hair-biting habit). Gwen’s relationship with Scarlett might not have been the one she first imagined, but that didn’t mean Scarlett didn’t love her or appreciate her companionship. Once that understanding is reached, the human-feline bond takes on a different perspective. Cats show affection in ways that aren’t always associated with physical attention and Scarlett taught Gwen that some relationships with our feline friends require patience and understanding.

I really enjoyed the story – my only complaint is a very simple one – I wanted more! Gwen is a fantastic writer. She’s colorful, humorous, self-deprecatingly honest, compelling, and more. It’s a brief read, but it’s still an engaging page-turner, each and every one of them! If you’d like to read about Gwen’s up and down adventures with Scarlett or to read all the sure-to-be-great upcoming stories in the series, please click here for purchasing details.

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Full disclosure: I was not compensated for this review. Gwen and I are both members of the Cat Writers’ Association and have become friends over the years. Gwen provided the foreword for my 3-time award-winning book, Makin’ Biscuits – Weird Cat Habits and the Even Weirder Habits of the Humans Who Love Them and my decision to do this review is because I love Gwen’s writing style. I also fell in love with the unique concept of the series and felt it relevant to my readers. 

Christine Michaels of Riverfront Cats and me hanging out with Gwen back in 2013 when she was in Miami for a book signing event.

Shop Cats of New York – A Visually Stunning Read to Add to Your Cat Book Library

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I love New York City – always have, always will.

Even though I currently live in Florida and have been here since 1994, I still have an enormous fondness for New York. I spent most of my younger years in New York and grew up there – I graduated from college there (twice), I got married there, I had my children there, and many a beloved cat of mine came from there. Most of the towns I lived in were extremely rural with small populations and old-fashioned Main Streets, but despite where I was, New York City was always a part of my life. I visited whenever I could (and even briefly lived in Hawthorne – a suburb of the White Plains area, just north of NYC) and each time I did, the city never failed to capture my heart, as it was just so alive with an exciting buzz of people, movement, and culture. Read more

A Lesson in Tortitude – The BIG Book of Cats with a BIG Attitude Review & Giveaway

Book reviews about Tortoiseshell cats

Tortitude is a lovely hardcover book filled with fun facts, color photographs, and great cat quotes. Credit: Tortitude: The BIG Book About Cats With a BIG Attitude by Ingrid King, ©2015

Even though cats have been a significant part of my daily life for over 50 years, I find it fascinating after all that time I’m still able to learn something new, which was the case when I reviewed Ingrid King’s newest book, Tortitude – The BIG Book of Cats with a BIG Attitude. Read more

My Rafflecopter Doesn’t Work and There’s a Stray Cat in My Guest Bedroom

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Thanks Rafflecopter… Not…

My Rafflecopter Doesn’t Work and There’s a Stray Cat in My Guest Bedroom – isn’t that what any respectable blogger would say the day she had an important post scheduled and was on her way to work? It all started Wednesday morning – the day I had a really important PAID sponsored post scheduled that included a giveaway, hence my need to use a Rafflecopter widget for entry purposes. Read more

Kittenish by Gwen Cooper: Cat Selfies With a Serious Mission – Raising Funding for the Nepal Earthquakes

For those of you that know me, you know pictures aren’t my thing. I have a blog filled with gorgeous pictures of cats, but probably 95% of them are taken by Dan. Of the remaining 5%, 2% are stock images and 3% are really horrible, blurry pictures that I have taken – usually at an event like a BlogPaws conference where I travel alone. Even though it should be relatively obvious, I try to point out when I have taken the image, because I don’t want to discredit any of Dan’s beautiful pictures.

When it comes to selfies – those pictures that one takes of oneself, at very close range – my photography skills actually become even worse. And truthfully, at my age, selfies are not my flattering, best friend so I rarely attempt taking them. Cats and selfies – that’s an entirely different story because in my mind, there is just no such thing as a bad picture of a cat, and that is why New York Times bestselling author, Gwen Cooper’s newest book, Kittenish, is such a home run. Read more