29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy

29 myths

29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy

Lemony Snicket
Illustrations by Lisa Brown
McSweeney’s McMullens, 2014

From the book jacket: “Renowned investigator Lemony Snicket has compiled 29 myths about the Swinster Pharmacy in the vain hope that he could help us shine some light on this bewildering establishment.”

With the bewildering introduction from the book jacket I should have guessed that the book wouldn’t make a lick of sense. I don’t know why I keep reading Snicket books, but I do – maybe I keep hoping I will enjoy them as much as I did The Series of Unfortunate Events; at least those books made sense in a Snicket-sort-of-way. But then, maybe that’s what Snicket wants – confounding books with confounding nonsensical sentences strung together in an attempt to create some sort of story. And that’s what this book is like. Each ‘myth’ is not a myth in any sense of the word – just 29 statements that offers no information on what the heck the story is supposed to be about. Oh, well. I’ll keep attempting to read his books because I hope they will be good. I don’t mind weird; but I do mind absolute total nonsense.

Rating 2 out of 5 paws because the only saving grace in the book are the illustrations, and that there’s a black cat on almost every page!





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!




Murder Go Round

murder go round

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!




The Improbable Cat

the improbable cat

The Improbable Cat

Allen Ahlberg
Illustrated by Peter Bailey
Delacorte Press, 2004

From the dust jacket, “It all begins when David’s family takes in a stray kitten. At least, that’s what the creature appears to be. But David and his faithful dog, Billy, immediately sense something terribly amiss. Then indeed “something crazy—impossible—horrific” happens….”

The story is told from David’s viewpoint – as a witness to a very, very strange occurrence. His family does indeed take in a small grey kitten, but from then on, the kitten – if you could call it a kitten – transforms into something weirdly cat/human-like and hypnotizes David’s family into serving it day and night. Only David and his dog, Billy, are unaffected. Somehow David has to rescue his family – and get rid of the “cat”.

This is a great little mystery – what could the creature be? What is it doing to David’s family? And why? All these questions – and more – popped up in my mind as I read this book. The copy I read is small (only 4.5 x 6.5 inches) and 92 pages long, but it packs a punch. Its classified for youth but, really, adults would enjoy it as well. This is the kind of story you read (or tell) around a campfire at night or some other spooky location. The ending is a little less than satisfactory – but that’s because David still has questions about what happened. If you like ghost stories and unanswered mysteries, this is the book for you!!!

Rating 4 out of 5 paws for being creepy, spooky and fun all at the same time.




the improbable cat a

This is how the story begins.


the improbable cat b

This is how it almost ends!!!

Murder Has Nine Lives

murder has nine lives


Murder Has Nine Lives
A Jaine Austen Mystery

Laura Levine
Kensington Books, 2016

From the dust jacket, “The future is looking bright for freelance writer Jaine Austen. She’s signed up for a new job, she’s looking forward to a tropical vacation and her cat Prozac is slated to star in a major commercial. But when the claws come out behind the scenes, Jaine worries that murder might be the only thing to meow about…
“A writer’s life is far from glamorous. Still, Jaine’s new gig to write an ad campaign for Toiletmaster’s new line of self-flushing toilets comes with a few perks—including a date with the president’s dreamy nephew. And with a much-needed trip to Maui on the horizon, it seems life couldn’t get any better—until her cat Prozac is tapped to star in a Skinny Kitty commercial. But Jaine never would have guessed the world of cat food could be quite so catty…
“Jaine is nervous that Prozac won’t be able to take direction, but the finicky furball ditches her diva behavior for the camera, eating and napping on cue like a seasoned pro. But just as Jaine begins dreaming of fame and fortune, Skinny Kitty’s inventor drops dead on the set. Everyone is a suspect—including Jaine. And she’ll have to get her paws on the truth before the killer takes a swipe at another victim.”

Loved this book! It is a funny cozy mystery that has a cattitude-laden hero cat named Prozac! Of course, the narrator of the story, Jaine Austen is pretty funny, too. And her parents – my goodness – crazy humans!! So just as Prozac is about to become famous the inventor of the cat food (who is a nasty piece of work, BTW) insults the rising feline star and calls her ‘fat’! That’s it for Pro – she shuts down and throughout the rest of the book she just mopes around being depressed. (So much like humans!) Meanwhile, the very likable character of Jaine has a murder to solve – and a lot of funny things happen along the way! I was unable to guess who the murderer was so it was a total surprise and that’s the kind of mystery I like!

In the end, Prozac snaps back to her old self, the murderer is caught and all ends well. No overt violence, cursing or sex. This book is very readable for young adults and even older kittens as well. There are a number of other books in this series so at some point in the future I will have to read them, too!

Rating 4 out of 5 paws because it’s a lighthearted murder mystery with a manic-depressive cat and a funny, self-effacing female human protagonist.

Reviewer: BobbieSue