Tag Archive | cat

The Strong; Silent Type

History is not always pretty. The book I am happy to bring to the blog today is one that takes a serious note. It is one that really not only makes me look at the world of yesteryear, but also at the world of today. Yet, it’s a work of fiction. The Silent Woman takes place in the 1930’s during the build up to World War II. I have had the pleasure of flying to the WWII memorial with several veterans and hearing their stories of the war, the things that transpired up to the war and the unimaginable things that not only affected them, but also their home and family. I can’t imagine.

In The Silent Woman, Terry Lynn Thomas introduces us to a woman, strong in nature, and going through a rough home life. Stuck. Scared. Thank you Terry for bringing Catherine to Booth Talks Books today and introducing her to us and also introducing us to the world of the 1930’s in a way that most don’t know. Let the murderous history lesson begin…

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Citations:  Some information from Ms. Thomas’ research was retrieved from the following website: http://nationalarchives.gov.uk/ as well as the British Newspaper Archive, : https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/

London, 1937:

Catherine Carlisle is trapped in a loveless marriage. She sees no way out… that is until a trusted friend asks her to switch her husband’s papers in a desperate bid to confuse the Germans.

Soon Catherine finds herself caught up in a deadly mixture of espionage and murder. Someone is selling secrets to the other side, and the evidence seems to point right at her.The Silent Woman_FINAL

Can she clear her name before it’s too late?

Cat’s Backstory:

Cat Paxton lost both her parents in an automobile accident in 1917 on her seventeenth birthday. She left her small village in the north of England to live with her Aunt Lydia in London. Aunt Lydia is a successful artist who lives in Bloomsbury. Lydia is open-minded and encourages Cat to grow and be whatever she wants. She tried to expose Cat to the arts and culture. In 1922, Cat and Lydia were at an art exhibition when the black Rolls Royce pulled to the kerb and Benton—movie star handsome—and a gaggle of friends came to the exhibition. Cat was captivated at first sight. Handsome Benton who looked like a movie star, was always in the society columns, and had women throwing themselves at him, was a renowned bachelor. Cat was surprised when he went up to the waiter, took a fresh chilled bottle of champagne and two glasses, and asked Cat to join him on the roof. They spent a delightful evening. After they finished the champagne, they went to a jazz club and then out to breakfast. Cat arrived; back at Lydia’s just as the sun was coming up. Walking on air, drunk on love. Ben proposed two weeks later. Cat said yes.

Fast-forward seventeen years. Cat is thirty-seven years old, childless, with no passion in life. Her marriage had started to die after a series of miscarriages ten years ago. Benton withdrew when Cat lost child after child. Despite his privileged upbringing, Benton Carlisle worked hard. He was a brilliant engineer, the protégé of his firm, where he was working on a scheme to allow airplanes to fly at night. To hide his grief, Benton threw himself into his work. Rather than face his wife, Benton took a mistress and didn’t even bother to hide it. Humiliated, and doing her level best not to show it, Cat puts her best face forward and tries to cope with life in the Carlisle house.

She’s miserable there. Her sister-in-law Isobel takes advantage of Cat’s grief and manages to commandeer the household management duties—which should be rights belong to Cat. While Cat doesn’t hesitate to stand up to Isobel, she finds the tension exhausting. Although Benton’s family is wealthy, and Cat is able to waltz into the finest shops, drop the Carlisle name and get anything she desires, her husband keeps her on a short leash by not giving her any money of her own and forbidding her to get a job. He won’t divorce her—no Carlisle has ever been divorced, so Cat is forced to stay at the Carlisle house, with a husband who doesn’t love her a social climbing sister-in-law who makes Cat’s life miserable at every turn. The Silent Woman finds Cat backed into a corner, desperate to change her life, but not sure how to do so. On a whim, she asks for a sign…and so the story begins.

Meanwhile, Hitler is in power in Germany. He’s violating all the agreements set out in the Treaty of Versailles and is amassing an army, building planes, and stripping rights away from German Jews, while the powers that be in Britain turn a blind eye. The politicians in power—who hold sway over the newspapers—are not acknowledging the threat in Germany. But Cat’s friend tells her the truth about the status of the world. He asks Cat if she’s interested in serving her country and earning enough money to secure her freedom. All she has to do is switch her husband’s documents. Desperate for a way out, Cat doesn’t hesitate to say yes, catapulting herself into the thick of murderous deception.

Buy The Silent Woman

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Why this time and place?:

When I sent out to write a book, I know I am going to spending hundreds of hours hanging out with the characters and the settings I have created. All the books I’ve written so far (The Sarah Bennett Series, which takes places in 1940s California) and The Silent Woman (Book 1 of the Cat Carlisle Mysteries), take place during the 1930s through the World War II because I am drawn to the socioeconomic and political events of that time. I also want to pay a silent homage to all the brave men and woman who fought in those wars. We are losing the last generation of the WWII veterans, and we must never forget their sacrifice.

1930s Fashion.1

Enter 1930s fashion — for those who could afford to buy clothes. The economy in the UK was still in a shambles.

It’s also very refreshing to hang out in an era that is not so technologically advanced. Think about it, no cell phones, in some cases no house phones, no computers, no Internet. People wrote letters to their friends. The personal column (especially in British newspapers) provides keen insight to the way of thinking of the day, and was the media equivalent of Facebook, Twitter, etc. During my research, I’ve seen ads like this: “To the woman who left her magazine on the bench in Hyde Park: Please come to the same bench tomorrow at noon. I must speak to you!” Doesn’t that make you wonder if they met? What happened? And why was he so anxious to connect with this woman? When I was scouring The London Times before the Lusitania sailed on its fateful journey, I came across an ad in the personals admonishing people to not take that voyage. I still wonder about that.

 

It’s interesting to look back at the events between the two world wars with the Olympian vantage point of hindsight. I am amazed at the way media controlled the people, and Page 1can’t help but juxtapose that situation over what’s going on in the world politically right now. The powers that be knew that Hitler was building airplanes and conscripting an army, yet they were committed to appeasement because the British economy and the citizens were still recovering from the devastation of World War I. I read newspapers from mid-1936 through June of 1937 and found absolutely no mention of Hitler’s activities in the newspapers. Although there was evidence that the Germans were behind the bombing in Guernica, in April of 1937, it did not make front-page news. Appeasement was the word of the day. We owe a lot to Winston Churchill, of that I am certain. While all of this was happening, he was lambasting Parliament for their complacency. I believe it if weren’t for him, we’d all be speaking German now.

The German Danger.Jewish Virtual Library

Historians are committed to the accurate documentation and preservation of the past, so Headshotwe don’t forgot those lessons. I believe that historical novelists are interested in understanding and sharing how it FEELS to live in the past, and allowing people to experience that feeling through stories.

Please stop by my Facebook page and say hello. I have an author page, but am more active on my personal page.

 

 

 

 

Review of Hearse and Gardens by Kathleen Bridge

Hearse and Gardens by Kathleen Bridge

Review:
hease-and-gardensI now want to live in the Hamptons. Meg Barrett has taken me into her world of interior design, as well as cozy bungalows and I am now ready to hire her to decorate one for me to live in beside the ocean.

Kathleen Bridge has once again painted the picture of utter beauty that is the Hamptons. The lifestyle, elegance of the people and nature of living by the ocean have been sold to the reader. We get to see new locations that astound and amaze in the second installment of the Hamptons Home and Garden Mystery as we are taken to the grandiose home that is Sandringham. Oh what an amazing place!

In the process of helping clear out some older bungalows we find our first of many mysterious hidden rooms. This one, however, has the skeletal remains of a man that has been missing for some twenty years. This is only the beginning to Sandringham’s many mysteries. As Meg and Elle continue working with the family, more secrets ooze from the walls. Meg is literally the grown up Nancy Drew in this book. I found myself reading this, jealous of her pursuits of such a fantastic riddle.

skeleton-on-wallThe story was gripping, full of literal twists and turns and enough family secrets to keep one researching for years. The question throughout the story was always who had Uncle Harry’s best interest in mind and who was after the lost Warhol painting, the money and estate. The guilty would start looking innocent and the innocent, guilty. It was a wonderful rollercoaster of confusion. To add to the confusion, I had to question the fictitiousness of the writing. It all sounded so plausible that such a painted existed that I had to ask Kathleen. Who knew!

This story was not only a mystery on the surface with the sleuth, victims and suspects, but ran much deeper for me. It was psychological. It seemed that the hidden passages, discovery of bodies and the unknown fate of her housing situation showed the outward appearance of what Meg was struggling with inwardly. As an interior designer, she goes searching for the past, for items to fill a void in not only a person’s space, but also their life. She helps them create a story, a world that they want to live in and to escape to. At the same time, it fills voids in her own life.

She misses having a place to call home, a person to call her own after a bitter separation and she is mentally trying to figure out these hidden nuances in her personality and come out on the other end like one of her design creations, a beautiful statement that is one of a kind and looks put together with everything in the perfect spot. That is hard to do as a human and I think she will realize this as she comes into her own. But, I think she is making great progress in this book and I look forward to seeing her continue to develop as a character in the hands of Kathleen Bridge.

Synopsis:

To keep her mind off the legal battle over the oceanfront cottage she’s trying to buy, Meg agrees to help her friend inventory and clear out furniture from the massive Montauk estate of wealthy art broker Harrison Falks. But the job takes a terrifying turn when Meg discovers a skeleton in a hidden room in one of the estate’s many bungalows. The remains turn out to be those of Harrison’s son, who went missing nearly twenty years ago—along with one of his father’s Warhol paintings.

As Meg delves into the Hamptons’ pop art past, she gets drawn into the sketchy goings-on and family drama at the estate. But when Meg makes no bones about solving the crime, she just might become the subject of the killer’s next installation.

About The Author:

kathleen-bridgeKathleen Bridge, author of Hearse and Gardens and Better Homes and Corpses, started her writing career working at the Michigan State University News in East Lansing, Michigan. She is the author and photographer of an antiques reference guide, Lithographed Paper Toys, Books, and Games.

She is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America, and has taught creative writing classes at Bryant Library in Roslyn, New York. Kathleen is also an antiques and vintage dealer in Long Island, New York, and has contributed to Country Living magazine.

Author Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorkathleenbridge/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/KathleenBridgeG/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kathleenbridge

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorkathleenbridge/

Blog: http://weekendinthehamptons.blogspot.com/

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Buy The Book, Feed The Author, Leave A Review:

*And don’t forget to leave a comment here on my blog. I love to hear what YOU think.*

A Charming Voodoo Scavenger Hunt Tour

Welcome to BTB’s “A Charming Voodoo” Scavenger Hunt Tour Stop

 

About, “A Charming VooDoo”

Bubble. . . Bubble. . .
Whispering Falls is abuzz with the new housing development and new shopscharming-voodoo
popping up all over the magical village right before the annual All Hallow’s Eve celebration.

Cures and trouble. . .
June Heal’s intuition is on high alert and she just can’t shake that something bad is about to happen.

Magic stirs . . .
June finds Violet Draper standing over a dead body in the new pumpkin patch hours before it’s supposed to open for hayrides.

And trouble doubles . . .
Once again, June has to put her sleuthing skills to work and figure out who the real killer is before the new citizens pack up and move right back out of town.

 

Let’s go to the “A Charming VooDoo” Party.  After you……

kappes-door

Oh Look, The Clue In The Brew…

CLICK for “A Charming VooDoo” Scavenger Hunt Giveaway Clue and you could win…

Print

 

 

Buy “A Charming VooDoo”

 

Remaining Tour Stops & Dates:

9/30~Community Book Stop
10/1~Yaritza Book Group Facebook
10/1~ Girl with Book Lungs
10/2~Bab’s Book Bistro
10/3~Melissa’s Mocha, Mysteries, and Meows
10/4~Tonya’s blog 
10/5~Mystery Reading Nook
10/6~Life with Arielle
10/6~ MJB Reviewers
10/6~ Granny Loves to Read
10/7~Polished Nails
10/7~ A Girl and her Ebooks
10/8~Cozy Up With Kathy
10/9~Brooke’s Blog
10/9~The Books The Thing
10/10~Books, Coffee, and My Dog
10/10~Bibliophile Reviews 
10/11~Books, Movies, Reviews Oh My!
10/12~Shelley’s Book Case
10/13~Killer Characters
10/14~Sharon Reads
10/15-White Pine Cozy Mystery
10/15~I wished I lived in a Library
10/16~Homeschool n’ stuff
10/17~Sleuth Cafe
10/18~Wilovebooks
10/18~Bookish Smart

About Tonya Kappes:
tonya-kappes-witchFor years, USA Today bestselling author Tonya Kappes has been publishing numerous mystery and romance titles with unprecedented success. She is famous not only for her hilarious plot lines and quirky characters, but her tremendous marketing efforts that have earned her thousands of followers and a devoted street team of fans.

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BTB Spotlight and Giveaway Tuesday! Murder of A Cranky Catnapper

 

In the latest from the New York Times bestselling author of Murder of an Open Book, a school psychologist has her hands full after a school board sourpuss meets a MurderCatnapper_Bluebitter end…
“With her morning sickness finally abated, Skye Denison-Boyd is ready to pounce on the pertinent problems she faces as Scumble River Elementary School’s psychologist. After trying
almost every trick in the book to aid a handful of socially awkward fourth grade boys, Skye opts for the innovative approach of pet therapy with the assistance of the local vet, a Siberian husky, and a Maine coon cat.Unfortunately, the first session only breeds disaster and draws the ire of cantankerous school board member Palmer Lynch. But Skye’s worry over the episode changes to dread after Lynch is found dead in his home with the therapy cat hidden in his garage. With a clowder of questions unleashed, Skye finds herself dealing with a killer who isn’t pussyfooting around…”

 

Upcoming Releases from Denise Swanson:

September 6, “Sinfully Delicious“, a contemporary romance, 

Take one smoking-hot top chef who thinks food should be a sensual adventure, add a venture capitalist who has struggled with her weight since she was a teenager, and mix well. Is this a recipe that sizzles, or is he just another craving she must resist?

July 2017, “Lions, & Tigers, & Murder, Oh MyDevereaux’s Dime Store Series

 

Swanson1    Enter GIVEAWAY from Denise Swanson!   swanson2

Click to BUY “Murder of a Cranky Catnapper”

About the Author:Denise Swanson

New York Times Bestseller author Denise Swanson was a practicing school psychologist for twenty-two years. She writes the Change of Heart and Delicious Love contemporary romance series, as well as the Scumble River and Devereaux’s Dime Store mysteries. Her books all feature small-town heroines with lots of heart.

Denise’s books have been finalists for the Agatha, Mary Higgins Clark, RT Magazine’s Career Achievement, and Daphne du Maurier Awards. She has won the Reviewers Choice Award and was a BookSense 76 Top Pick.

Denise Swanson lives in rural Illinois with her husband, classical composer David Stybr.

Contact Denise!

Website: http://www.DeniseSwanson.com

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/DeniseSwansonAuthor/

Twitter : https://twitter.com/DeniseSwansonAu

Click to BUY “Murder of a Cranky Catnapper”

 

Review: Betting Off Dead by Tonya Kappes

Betting off Dead Cover

I can’t imagine that keeping one’s identity, as a witch in a southern town in Kentucky can be very easy. Southern ladies love to gossip you know. I know. I have lived in Kentucky most all of my life. That’s why I am pretty impressed with how clever Maggie Parks and her family have been, hiding out in Belgravia Court in Louisville all these years. Perfect setting to become a spy, right? Let’s just pile more secrets on. Anyway, if it weren’t for that flying owl, Miss Kitty, and a few other things, maybe Mrs. Hubbard would lay off them. Okay, may not.

Betting off Dead is the second in the Spies and Spells series from the Kentucky native, Tonya Kappes. She captures southern culture to a tee. Between the close knit family to the nosy neighbor, she has this witch family sitting pretty in one of the pretties cities in the state.

In this second installment, we join Maggie after she has found out what her life calling is suppose to be and just like all southern moms, mama isn’t having it. Mom Parks is going to do everything she can to protect her daughter from danger and that handsome, shall I say smoking hot guy, that keeps popping up that everyone in the family says is going to cause her nothing but trouble. What’s a daughter to do? After all, Mick Jasper is her co-worker and partner. Well, get dressed and go get into danger with the guy of course! It’s horse city and there is something fishing going on down at the Derby. With her familiar, a 1965 AC Cobra named Vinnie, and some witchy know-how, Maggie tries to help the horses of the Blue Grass state.

Not all goes smoothly of course. In the process, she loses a dear friend, faces a death she doesn’t realize would hit her so hard and starts to own who she really is. Maggie comes into herself in this second book. Tonya helps us journey with not only Maggie, but Aunt Mimi, Ms. Parks, Lilith and Abram. It’s a tough transition to watch, but well worth it once everything is revealed in the end.

Betting off Dead was an amazing book, so I can’t imagine how book three will be. Maggie is now aware of who she is and I am hoping fully accepted by her family. This is for a sure a coming of age story that so many people can relate to. Maggie is the one who is different from the rest of her family and they have to learn to accept her differences and I think they do. I hope they do. Beautiful book Tonya. The action and adventure in the book are fantastic, but the take away for me was the acceptance Maggie finds.

Tonya Kappes Pic

About the Author:

For years, USA Today bestselling author Tonya Kappes has been publishing numerous mystery and romance titles with unprecedented success. She is famous not only for her hilarious plot lines and quirky characters, but her tremendous marketing efforts that have earned her thousands of followers and a devoted street team of fans.

Tonya lives in Kentucky with  husband, four grown sons and two schnauzers.

Betting off Dead Cover

CLICK TO BUY!

Save Our Cozies READathon

13690613_306391963026599_308016324513905570_nWith the news that some of our favorite cozies getting the ax, we have banned together as readers, bloggers and even authors (who also read and blog) to come together for one day and read some of these book series that are in peril.  There are many, which is sad. They span across many publishers.  My hope is that these get picked up by other publishers so we can continue on our adventures with our favorite heroines, cats, dogs and continue to knit along as we help solve a mystery.  We have so many things to 8bfa7e_d363a24be1654109bd029cb48012d6e5.jpg_srz_p_228_330_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srzstill do with these characters.  They are our family, friends and in some cases, characters we LOVE to hate.  You know who you are.

I will be home reading and blogging most of the day tomorrow, Saturday the 16th as we pay homage to these artists of the pen.  Below are some links you can follow.  It’s going to be like a big family gathering via the internet and it will be amazingraisin the dead

29867784Goodreads Link:https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/191144-save-our-cozies-readathon

Facebook Link:https://www.facebook.com/groups/726103940858234/

 

So, what’s the OFFICIAL word on this READathon?  Here ya go!

Purpose of the Readathon:

Due to mergers among publishing companies, several beloved cozy mystery series have either been cancelled or are in danger of being cancelled. Depending upon an individual author’s contract, he or she may not even be able to self-publish or take the series to a new publisher. The Save Our Cozies Readathon seeks to:

  • Raise the reading public’s awareness of this issue across a range of social media platforms.
  • Introduce the reading public to these series.
  • Encourage publishers to rethink their decision to cancel cozy mystery series.
  • Create and support a community of readers and authors.
  • Read lots of quality, fun cozy mystery books!

 

FAQ

What is a cozy?

A sub-genre of mystery or crime fiction in which the violence is downplayed or happens “off screen”. The books tend to focus on non-professional crime solvers and contain little or no sex or foul language. For a complete definition visit the excellent Cozy-Mystery.com at http://www.cozy-mystery.com/Definition-of-a-Cozy-Mystery.html

 

What is an online cozy readathon?

An online readathon is an online 24 hour event that brings together a community of readers and authors to participate in all things cozy. This includes reading, posting frequently on social media, visiting author’s websites, posting reviews, visiting book blogger’s websites, and/or participating in fun challenges/activities. The amount and type of participation is up to the individual.

 

 

Canceled Series and Books by Publishers:

51WdpWVmJ6L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Penguin Random House
Avery Aames – Cheese Shop mysteries
Beverly Allen – Bridal Bouquet Shop Mysteries (not renewed) Now writing Vintage Toyshop Mysteries for Crooked Lane as Barbara Early.
Janet Bolin – Threadville Mysteries
Melissa Bourbon -Magical Dressmaking. Is thinking of self publishing but not anytime soon. Source: Author’s FB page.
Jacklyn Brady – Piece of Cake mysteries
Lucy Burdette – Key West Food Critic series
Amanda Carmack – Kate Haywood Elizabethan mysteries
Maia Chance – Fairy Tale Fatal
Erika Chase – Ashton Corners
Peg Cochran – Gourmet DeLite
Laura DiSilverio – Mall CopMall Cop
Monica Ferris – Betsy Devonshire Needlework series. Is shopping for new publisher and has plans for future books.
Christy Fifield – Haunted Souvenir. Owns rights, plans to self-publish.
Shelley Freydont – Celebration Bay
Eva Gates – Lighthouse Library (not renewed, possibly still hope). Is writing the Sherlock Holmes Bookstore and Emporium series for Crooked Lane under the name Vicki Delany. The year-Round-Christmas series by Vicki Delany is still continuing with Berkley.
Rosie Genova – Italian Kitchen mysteries
PickledVictoria Hamilton – Vintage Kitchen mysteries (she is continuing the series with another publisher, ebook only.)
Mary Ellen Hughes – Pickled and Preserved mysteries.
Annie Knox – Pet Boutique
Elizabeth Lee (Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli) Nut Shop Series
Meg London – Sweet Nothings Lingerie
Molly MacRae — Haunted Yarn Shop (plans to continue the series)
Leigh Perry – Family Skeleton. Shopping for a new publisher.
Cate Price – Deadly Notions
Paige Shelton – Farmer’s Market and Country Cooking School
Christine Wenger – Comfort Foods Mysteries (NAL, which was merged into Berkley); is considering self-publishing.Peril by Ponytail

FIVE STAR (Gale Cengage)
Five Star has dropped their entire mystery lineup.
Nancy Cohen – Bad Hair Day
Maggie Toussaint – Dreamwalker Mysteries
Susan Van Kirk- Endurance Mysteries
Limitless Publishing
A E H Veenman – Marjorie Gardens Mysteries (Limitless Publishing)

Kensington
Anna Loan-Wilsey – Hattie Davish

Move your blooming corpseMacmillan / St. Martin’s Press
D.E. Ireland – Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins (switching publishers)

Shh… don’t tell the cat! The Ninth Life by Clea Simon

the ninth life  large banner448

I am so excited to have author,  Clea Simon as a guest blogger here today at Booth Talks Books.  I was thrilled to be able to chat along with Clea after I received the book to read and as I journeyed through the dark world of Blackie and Care.  Before I tell you what I thought about “The Ninth Life”, Clea has some fun information that led up to the formation of Blackie.


 

Don’t tell Blackie. He’s the narrator of my new “The Ninth Life” mystery, the first in a new series for me. But for a few hours there, it was all about the squirrel.

I should explain. I have a complicated history with squirrels. Unlike my (real-life) kitty lg_26172-ARMusetta, I generally think they’re cute. While she sits by the window, muttering and lashing her tail and generally having homicidal (squirrel-cidal?) fantasies, I like seeing their fat white bellies when they sit up to eat and their bright eyes as they run up and down the trees in my yard. But when I find my bulbs dug up in the fall – and the heads bitten off my tulips in spring? Then they’re not so cute. And the one summer I tried to grow eggplant and each time one grew to be almost ready … and then I’d find it on the patio table with one bite taken out of it? I was almost ready to side with Musetta then!

But that all changed when I went for my new author photo. Now, you have to understand, author photos are challenging – probably for all of us. We’re writers, not movie stars, and we spend most of our days living more in our heads than on treadmills or in malls. So when it comes time to be photographed, well, let’s just say that the reality doesn’t often match up with the fantasy. And while maybe some authors can pay for the full-bore glamour treatment, the rest of us are just hoping that makeup (a lot) and lighting (a little) will produce something that will make us recognizable at conferences but won’t scare small children.

“Make me look friendly,” I told my photographer friend Naomi. “If you can also make me not too baggy and saggy, that would be great.”

“You are friendly,” she replied. “And don’t worry about the rest.” That wasn’t quite the encouragement I had hoped for.

But the real problem came when she started shooting. “Look over here,” she’d tell me – pointing to some distant spot. “Then move your eyes back to the camera.”

Well, I’m not the most coordinated person in the first place (I’m a writer, right? Not a pro athlete). Also, to make a portrait that would be timeless – or at least be good for a few years – Naomi had insisted that I take my glasses off. The glasses that I put on my nightstand last thing at night and grab for first thing in the morning. The latest version of what I’ve been wearing since third grade….

You can see where this is heading. Between my inability to see and my inability to follow directions, I was looking at the camera and moving my eyes away, or staring off at some vague movement – one of Naomi’s two cats? – when I should have been focusing in.

And then Naomi had a brainstorm. “Be right back,” she said, leaving me in her studio blinded by the million degree lights and the lack of my glasses. “Here,” she said, a minute later, and held out to me a fluffy plush squirrel – fake, of course – but with the same bright eyes as the little fellows in my yard. “You can see him, right?”

“Yes,” I confirmed. I could. And from then on, it was “Squirrel!!” “Look at the squirrel!” “Oh my, it’s a squirrel!”

CLEA

The Ninth Life by Clea Simon

It worked. Which makes sense, when you think about it. As any readers of my books probably know by now, I relate more to animals than I do to most people. After all, there’s a reason why a cat narrates my latest mystery. Once Naomi brought the squirrel into it, not only was I laughing, but I moved as she wanted me to, looking where and when I was supposed to. And if the photos aren’t beautiful, they are honestly relaxed and happy. Musetta, I think, would be proud.


Review of “The Ninth Life” by Booth Talks Books

We know nothing of Blackie when we meet him and when we meet Care, the ragged, pink-haired street rat that soon becomes his favored companion. His memory picks up from where she picks him up and their adventure seems to begin there. Blackie feels an unusual connection with this Care girl and chalks it up to the fact that she saved him from what he can only remember as three foggy shadows of what he assumes are men from their shapes.

 

Through Blackie, his eyes, his observations, his smells and cat-senses we get a look at the world in a different way. We go on a journey with his newfound companions to find out who murdered her former friend and father-like figure whom she refers to as “The Old Man.” Through this journey we are introduced to a boy, Tick, who used to share a foster home with her and who also is now on the street. He, a younger brother-like figure to Care.  Only, this boy is tied up in the world of drug smuggling, and other illegal trades, unable to shake their hold. Having escaped this life, Care had been taken under the wing of The Old Man and learned how to become a detective of sorts, taking down men such as those who Tick was now working for. Only a young boy, Care hopes to save him from this life of crime and need for drugs that are now becoming a life-style. Being a cat, Blackie has a heightened sense of smell, location and knowledge of people. He doesn’t know how, but he just seems to know what to do, how to go about it and that this girl, this Care has been well-trained and that he must stick with her and help her as best he can. Again, you become aware of how human-like Blackie is in his way of dealing with issues. Even though the people around him can’t hear his thoughts, we as readers are treated to his genius schemes and insights all through the book. If all cats think like this, I will never look at another cat the same again.

 

As “The Ninth Life” progresses, Care and Tick come in and out of each others lives and danger envelopes them both many times. Blackie is able to help them with various warnings and even searching out places beforehand. By the end, we are invested in the characters. I, for one, wanted Care to triumph in her journey and accomplish what she had been trying to do through the entire book. I also wanted Blackie to figure out the dream that continued to haunt him; the dream of the three shadow men.  Care is a brilliant sleuth with Blackie. A most shocking reveal is made at the end that changes all you think about Blackie and the future of Care. The second book cannot come soon enough.

Clea Simon has twisted my brain with this book.  I have been taken to the dark, damp underbelly of a drug infested, money greedy, mob-like world.  My tour-guide, a cat.  Normally, this would sound silly to me, but Blackie is amazing.  Anyone else telling the story would be all wrong.  We would know nothing like we know had she written in a different narrator.  My mind is blown by this angle and I love it.  Brilliant Clea, just brilliant.

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I was sent this book in exchange for a fair review