Tails You Lose
A Witch City Mystery, #2
Carol J. Perry
Kensington Publishing, 2015
From the back of the book: “After losing her job as a TV psychic, Lee Barrett has decided to volunteer her talents as an instructor at the Tabitha Trumbull Academy of the Arts—known as “The Tabby”—in her hometown of Salem Massachusetts. But when the local handyman turns up dead under seemingly inexplicable circumstances on Christmas night, Lee’s clairvoyant capabilities begin bubbling to the surface once again.
“The Tabby is housed in the long-vacant Trumbell’s Department Store. Ass Lee and her intrepid students begin work on a documentary charting the store’s history, they unravel a century of family secrets, deathbed whispers—and a mysterious labyrinth of tunnels hidden right below the streets of Salem. Even the witches in town are spooked, and when Lee begins seeing visions in the large black patent leather pump in her classroom, she’s certain something evil is afoot. But ghosts in the store’s attic are the least of her worries with a killer on the loose…”
This second book in the Witch City mysteries is better than the first one. The mystery is tightly woven and I wasn’t able to figure out who the murderer was this time. That’s the way I like my mysteries! The main character, Lee, is still afraid of using her gift of scrying which was a bit frustrating (but in a good way); and the budding romance between Pete and Lee is moving along at a nice, old-fashioned pace. Of course, the wonderful orange tabby, O’Ryan, was outstanding but not used as much in this book as in the first or the fourth. I’m starting the 3rd book soon and I hope the super-smart kitty will be more prominent in the story line. This story is set in the middle of a New England winter and the author writes in a way that made me believe I was in the middle of Salem on a cold, winter afternoon.
Rating 4 out of 5 paws – if you don’t mind a bit of ghostly and witchly happenings with your cozy mystery, you’ll love this book as much as I did. This series is definitely on my list to read!
Caught Dead Handed
Witch City Mystery #1
Carol J. Perry
Kensington Publishing Corp., 2014
From the back of the book, “Most folks associate the city of Salem, Massachusetts with witches, but for Lee Barrett, it’s home. This October she’s returned to her hometown—where her beloved Aunt Ibby still lives—to interview for a job as a reporter at WICH-TV. But the only opening is for a call-in psychic to host the late night horror movies. it seems the previous host, Ariel Constellation, never saw her own murder coming.
“Lee reluctantly takes the job, but when she starts seeing real events in the obsidian ball she’s using as a prop, she wonders if she might really have psychic abilities. To make things even spookier, it’s starting to look like Ariel may have been an actual practicing witch—especially when O’Ryan, the cat Lee and Aunt Ibby inherited from her, exhibits some strange powers of his own. With Halloween fast approaching, Lee must focus on unmasking a killer—or her career as a psychic may be very short lived…”
This is the first book in the Witch City Mystery series – I’ve already read and reviewed the 4th book, Murder Go Round, (mom found it displayed at the library and brought it home thinking I would like it – she was right!) and it was so good, I had to go back and start over from the beginning! It was good to find out how O’Ryan adopted Lee and how Lee recovered her scrying abilities. The mystery was fun and compelling, with lots of twists and turns. However, I did figure out the overall big secret of the murderer and who he or she was, but not the details. As I read I kept wanting to shout at Lee, “The murderer is …..!” As per the genre, no on stage violence or sex but a teensy bit of romance (shades of things to come!). Caught Dead Handed is a thoroughly enjoyable, tightly written mystery with all the questions wrapped up neatly in the end.
Rating: 4 out of 5 paws – great book, fabulous cat!!
The Cat Book
Candlewick Press, 2017
From the back of the book: “Say hello to your new cat. You can tickle his chin and hear him purr. But wait – was that a raindrop? Don’t let him get wet!”
This little picture book is for the earliest of readers and even tiny kittens. The pictures are very simple and full of bright colors; the text is super large with short sentences and words. The story line asks for the reader (or listener) to be involved by naming and petting the large orange cat; by squashing the cat’s fleas; trying to keep the cat from getting wet and eating a bird. This is one of those books that may require you to purchase for reading over and over and over and over again. But see if your library has it first!
Rating 4 of 5 paws because of the sweet, yet simple story and the fun interaction between reader/listener and book. Even I scratched the cat under the chin!!
A Cat Named Swan
Random House, 2017
From the back of the book: “When this abandoned kitten is adopted, his whole world is transformed….”
Sweet little kitten wakes up to find his mother and siblings gone – and of course the reader’s heart is breaking. Poor kitten wanders the city streets eating garbage to survive. By now the reader is wondering “Is there an upside to this story?” Well, I’m here to tell you, there is! One day the kitten is stuck in a tree and eventually rescued by Animal Control and taken to a (hopefully no-kill) shelter. He is soon adopted, named Swan, and learns to love and accept love by humans.
This story is more real, I think, than fantasy. It’s very stark in its depiction of the dangers that street cats and kittens face. It’s very truthful when it comes to shelters. A quote for your consideration: “But now there was food. Soon, when nothing harmed him or frightened him, he became less afraid. The new place was safe. Boredom was better than misery.” Did you pick up on that left-handed compliment? ‘Boredom better than misery.’ I’m sure shelters are boring for formerly outdoor kitties. I was never in a shelter, having been placed in a foster home immediately from the streets. And, even though the author is telling the story from the kittens’ POV, that phrase just struck me as odd in a children’s picture book. Maybe I’m just being overly picky; it just bothers me. The rest of the story is, of course, the happily ever after fairy tale. Swan is loved by all and learns to love his humans.
Although it is a lovely story, I’m not sure I would read it to my kittens. The first part is too real for the very youngest. And as the type is small-medium, and there’s a lot of words, beginning readers might have difficulty with it on their own. All-in-all, a well-written book with lovely illustrations; it’s just not for me.
Rating 3 out of 3 paws for being too raw for my tastes in the beginning.
Here Comes the Easter Cat
Pictures by Claudia Rueda
Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, 2014
From the dust jacket: “Move over, Easter Bunny. Here comes Cat. He’s got a sparkly suit, a shiny red motorcycle, and one burning desire: to take LOTS of naps. Sorry – that’s not right. What is it, Cat? Oh, yes – got it. One burning desire: TO TAKE OVER EASTER.”
This is a book I need to put on my list to buy! At first I chuckled; then I laughed; and then I guffawed!! And regular readers of this blog know how much I adore funny books. Especially hilarious books with cats. And, I LOVE this book! It is so cute, so funny, I’m tempted to ‘lose’ this book and pay the library for it. But I won’t do that because I don’t want anyone else to be deprived of its hilarity.
So, here’s this cat, or rather, Cat, who is orange and fat and cute and doesn’t speak. He holds up signs of pictures of what he wants to say. As the reader reads the book – best read out-loud, BTW, s/he (the reader) has a conversation with Cat. And Cat is full of personality and a lot of cat-tiude that all cat-servants will recognize in their own cat overlords. Cat is determined to be the Easter Bunny. But the Easter Bunny works very hard and Cat, well, being a cat, may or may not be willing to work that hard! I won’t tell you what happens because I don’t want to spoil it! Do you remember the review I did during Christmas of A Very Fuddles Christmas? Easter Cat is as funny as that one. Please, do yourself a favor, see if your library has this book, check it out and enjoy!!!
Rating 5 of 5 paws because – hello??? – did you read my review?