File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents

13 suspicious incidents

File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents: Reports 1-6

Lemony Snicket
Art by Seth
Hachette Book Group, 2014

From back of the book: “Attention: Please find herein thirteen (13) cases investigated by Lemony Snicket during his apprentice ship in the town of Stain’d-by-the-Sea. Every detail of his inquiries into local kidnappings, supernatural occurrences, violent vandalism, and food theft has been described and cataloged in these pages. For security reasons, the conclusions to these suspicious incidents have been carefully hidden. You can find them easily at the back of the book.

“If you are not a member of our secret organization, hello there. This is a blank book which you shouldn’t read.”

It’s been a while since I read the series by Lemony Snicket, “All the Wrong Questions” but this book (and its companion volumes of the same name, “Reports 7-13” and “Book 2.5”) should be read around the same time. As they all focus on the central character, a young spy named Lemony Snicket and the reader follows him around on his adventures. When I read the original series I thought about reading these ‘suspicious incident reports’ then but didn’t and now I wish I had. While these books are definitely imaginative and a classic ‘Snicket’ (a word which here means “oddly written, bizarre subject matter, and quite fun in an obtuse and loquacious sort of way”) book, there’s not a lot of background to fully flesh out the secondary characters for a new reader. That doesn’t mean the stories aren’t enjoyable, it just took me a little bit to get back into the ‘Snicket’ mindset and take everything I was reading with a very large chunk of salt.

Lemony Snicket is, well, Lemony Snicket and if you’ve never read his books you won’t know what I mean. If you want to try, please do so but leave your rational mind on the title page – you won’t need it while enjoying his light madness. If you have read his books, you’ll most definitely enjoy this one – but read it right after (or during) “All the Wrong Questions” for the greatest effect (a phrase which here means “you’ll need ‘phone-a-friend’ or you’ll be lost without a lifeline to sanity”).

Rating 4 out of 5 paws because in Lemony Snicket’s reality you can only judge his books against his other books and this one is pretty good – also, I was able to figure out most of the mysteries before I read the solutions!




Bits & Pieces

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Bits & Pieces

Judy Schachner
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2013

From the dust jacket: “Tink has everything he ever wanted: delicious treats, hugs and kisses, and even a kitten to raise. The only thing missing is wild outdoor adventure. So when the opportunity arises, Tink sneaks away—and becomes an outdoor cat for one unforgettable night before his is found and returned home.

“With meltingly tender illustrations, bestselling author Judy Schachner creates a warm and poignant portrait of a beloved pet and the family who loves him to bits and pieces.”

Right off the bat, we loved this book. Of course, everything by Judy Schachner is tops in our library! Tink is modeled after her own cat whom I’m guessing she loved to bits and pieces. From start to finish it’s easy to fall in love with Tink and his antics – especially the illustration of licking the butter. Angel Piper loved butter, too! Mom kept it on the counter until she started finding tongue prints in it! My heart hurt a little when Tink was lost and almost ended up at a shelter!

Bits & Pieces is a wonderful book to have in your home to share with kittens and humans alike. It will touch your heart and is a perfect companion book to The Grannyman.

Rating: 5 paws out of 5 because it is exactly what the publishers said – “meltingly tender illustrations” and “a warm and poignant portrait of a beloved pet.” I can’t say it any better than that.





The Grannyman

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The Grannyman

Judith Byron Schachner
Dutton’s Children’s Books, 1999

From the dust jacket: “Simon was a very old cat. His family tried their best to take care of him. They kept him comfy in a baby carriage and neat at mealtime, but Simon felt useless. After such a full life, he wondered what an old cat was good for anyway.

“Just when Simon had decided it was all over for him, something soft and small came along to give him lots to do, lots to look forward to—and a brand-new name.

“In words and pictures filled with character, nuance, expression, and love, Judith Byron Schachner pays homage to one special, very old feline in a book for anyone who has lived with and loved a cat.”

My goodness – a book with my namesake!!! Like me, this Simon is old but unlike me he is blind and deaf (although at the age of 15+ years, my eyesight is rather dim and I do forget where the food is!). Also like me, Simon is loved very much and his family puts up with his messiness, bad breath and crankiness. (Toby says I have bad breath, but he must not be able to smell his own!) This is a marvelous book that will remind the reader that just because we’re old doesn’t mean we are useless!!

We’ve added this book to our wish list because we love it so much. Read this book to your kittens, or just read it yourself; if you have ever loved a cat, you won’t be disappointed—you’ll be enchanted!!

Rating 5 out of 5 paws because although it’s not laugh out-loud funny the way the author’s Skippyjon Jones books are, it is nonetheless both heartwarming and heartbreaking and full of those elusive warm, fuzzy feelings missing from so many books we read.





Murder Go Round

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Murder Go Round
A Witch City Mystery #4

Kensington Publishing Corp, 2017

From the back of the book, “Lee Barrett has agreed to attend a storage auction with Aunt Ibby—even though she suspects the forgotten rooms will yield more junk than treasure. Her skepticism vanishes once the two win a bid on an overlooked locker and uncover a trove of beautiful curiosities, including a stunning wooden carousel horse with gentle eyes and fading paint. But just before Lee leaves the fairground relic at a local repair shop, the sight of a silver samovar awakens her psychic abilities and conjures visions of murder.

“Lee prays the intrusive ESP episode was just a glimpse into the past—until her policeman boyfriend reports a dean man outside the repair shop. Apparently, the unknown victim had been hot on Lee’s trail since the auction. And with the horse found dismantled, it looks like he was up to no good. What’s the story behind the antique equine, and could a strange bubble-gum chewing woman with fiery hair have something to do with the crime? Guided by her gift and O’Ryan, her wise tabby cat, Lee’s set on catching the murderer … before she’s sent on the darkest ride of her life.”

Murder Go Round is an excellent cozy mystery!! I’m new to the series – it’s one of those books mom happened to see at the library and since it had an orange tabby on the front cover, she decided to pick it up for me to read. Of course, Toby, the Great Orange One (in his own mind) said it was too bad the main character was a woman – otherwise he would have read it. He loves reading about orange cats and imagining himself in its place. There are three other books and mom already has a hold on them at the library so expect more reviews in the near future!!

The setting is Salem, Massachusetts and so witch fever abounds! The main character, Lee, has a gift of seeing visions, past, present and future – pretty handy when it comes to solving crimes. Also handy is a psychic cat who provides clues to Lee – if she would pay attention. Also, very helpful is Aunt Ibby who is a former reference librarian who is second to none in researching odd topics!

The mystery was well done – I didn’t realize what the bad guys were after until it was revealed and, looking back on all the clues provided – it made perfect sense. The one death was only seen through a vision and a couple of the visions Lee had were a little scary, even for me a small cat safe at home, reading in bed. The only other yukky scene was when Lee found a secondary character beaten and tied up. The murderer was pretty obvious but the mystery was not necessarily in who but in why. In books like these it’s about the motive, unraveling the clues and getting to the truth.

Rating 4 paws out of 5 for the storyline having a solid mystery based in historical facts, colorful characters and a wise orange tabby cat!





dream of jade

The Emperor’s Cat

Lloyd Alexander
Illustrated by D. Brent Burkett
Cricket Books, an imprint of Carus Publishing Company, 2005

From the dust jacket: “No one, not even the most exalted mandarin, was permitted to gaze directly upon the face of the great Kwan-Yu, Celestial Emperor of China (and embodiment of the Nine Heavenly Virtues.) But, Dream-of-Jade, a green-eyed cat, as curious as she was beautiful, decided that she wanted to do just that. she slipped into the empty Throne Room and sat upon the Imperial throne herself. When Kwan-Yu arrived, she did not give up her seat but pointed out the dangerous state of the Emperors ceiling right above his throne.

“Thus began the great friendship between an Emperor and a little white cat with green eyes, who not only saved the Emperor’s life at their first meeting, but who knew how to cure his ailments, made him laugh, and found ways to entertain him. Dream-of-Jade’s greatest wish was to make Kwan-Yu the best emperor who had ever ruled the Celestial empire.”

When we first got this book at the library, Simon thought it was going to be another picture book for him to review; but then once he got a look at it, he handed it over to me since it is more in my realm of things. The book is a story book for older kittens with pictures included.

The oil paintings/illustrations are luminous with glowing detail. They are lush and beautiful, masterpieces as far as I’m concerned.

The stories of Dream-of-Jade and the Emperor are how the cat looks and then cures emperor; makes the emperor laugh; accepts a gift from the emperor; and finally, how Dream-of-Jade makes the laws of the empire. They reminded me a bit of Aesop’s Fables, where the main focus of the story is on learning a lesson or moral. The ancient Chinese culture is either well-researched or well-imagined, however I don’t know that much – if anything at all – of ancient Chinese culture, so am unable to know if the author ‘got it right’. Mom googled Emperor Kwan-Yu for me but found him only in this book.

I enjoyed the book but the artwork more. By the by, Dream-of-Jade got her name from the jade-like color of her eyes.

Rating: 4 out of 5 paws because the stories are well told and enjoyable but the illustrations are quite beautiful and outshine the words.





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