Book review

Arsenic and Old Books – Book Review

Mom read another really good book this week. It’s titled Arsenic and Old Books  and it’s the 6th (and newest) book in Miranda James’ A Cat in the Stacks Mystery series.

Mom likes Miranda James’ writing style. It’s easy to read and flows well. Unlike most other cozy mystery series, the main character is a man, Charlie Harris. Most books of this genre have female lead characters, and it’s nice to get away from “girl stuff” and read about a guy – actually, a southern gentleman. Charlie and his Maine Coon cat Diesel make a wonderful pair, and Diesel is seamlessly woven into Charlie’s daily life.  It’s easy to tell that the author knows her kitties. Diesel has a charming personality and I won’t be spoiling anything by saying that the author does not let Diesel eat chicken that’s been cooked with onions or cookies that contain raisins.

There was one minor element of the story line that was fairly obvious to us, but it didn’t detract from the story as a whole, which kept our attention until the end.

The book concludes with a short story When Charlie Met Diesel . Like all perfect human-cat matches, Diesel chose Charlie! 🙂

We give this book 4 paws up.

Book review

Dead With The Wind – Book Review

Mom read another book this week, Dead with the Wind by Miranda James. This is the second book in A Southern Ladies Mystery, which is a spin-off from another of James’ cozy mystery series, the “Cat in the Stacks” featuring Charlie Harris and Diesel his Maine Coon.  She read this book without me, so I’ll let her take over writing.

Dead with the Wind was a typical cozy murder mystery. The elderly Ducote sisters are Southern ladies who have taken in a twentyish year old young man along with Peanut the Labradoodle and Endora the Abyssinian. While visiting family for a wedding, there’s the usual mayhem and murder, and the ladies are in the midst of it all.  The story progressed nicely and was easy to read. One of the plot points was pretty obvious, but there were enough characters to keep you guessing about who the murderer was.

I felt there were a couple shortcomings with this book that were difficult to overlook. It was hard to believe that the two Southern ladies who are keenly aware of tradition and good manners would occasionally act as rudely as they did. I also felt that Peanut and Endora needed to be integrated into the plot a little more instead of being typical pets who do typical pet things.

Overall, Dead with the Wind  is a fun read and I give it 3 paws. But I’m not sure I’ll read the next book in this series because the ladies’ behavior was too contradictory to their supposedly impeccable manners and there was nothing special about the animal characters that really endeared them to me. I prefer the Cat in the Stacks series featuring Charlie Harris and Diesel his Maine Coon.

Others may like this series much more than I, so here’s a non-affiliate link to the book on Amazon if you’re interested.

Raven here. Mom promised the next post will be about me. I don’t want you to get the impression that mom is an avid reader. She reads only a few books a year and decided to read two of them in one month! I think it’s time she paid more attention to me.

Book review

Black Cat Crossing – Book Review

It was rainy this weekend so I decided to cuddle up with mom while she read Black Cat Crossing by Kay Finch. This is the first book in the new series “A bad luck cat mystery”.

The book centers around Sabrina, who is helping her aunt manage vacation rentals while trying to write her first book. Sabrina stumbles into a real life murder mystery while befriending a stray black cat she names Hitchcock. Some of the superstitious townsfolk are convinced Hitchcock is worse than bad luck, he’s “El Gato Diablo” or the Devil Cat and want him run out of town. But Sabrina knows that’s foolish and tries to make sure no harm comes to Hitchcock.

The book has spunky, smart characters. The mystery is interesting and the plot is focused and progresses at a fast pace. It was a terrific read for a rainy weekend and would be a great summertime read too.

Four paws up for this fantastic book! Mom said she’s definitely going to get the next book in this series. I’m happy that a black kitty plays such an important role and is just as interesting as the humans.

Here’s a non-affiliate link to the book on Amazon if you’re interested.

Book review

The Dalai Lama’s Cat – Book Review

I recently read three books by David Michie:

  • The Dalai Lama’s Cat
  • The Dalai Lama’s Cat and the Art of Purring
  • The Dalai Lama’s Cat and the Power of Meow


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The books encompass stories of daily life, told from the perspective of the Dalai Lama’s cat. After being rescued off the streets of Delhi, His Holiness’s Cat (HHC) lives with the Dalai Lama, listens and learns from the Dalai Lama’s discussions, and lets us see daily life from a cat’s point of view. HHC has many friends in town, and brings their stories to us through her frequent visits to them.

HHC is a wonderfully developed character, and I quickly came to care about her and the human characters in the stories. Buddhist teachings are a theme throughout the books, but they’re presented in a light-hearted and unassertive way. The books are also very well written and easy to read.

If you’re not a religious person, or if you are deeply committed to a particular religion, don’t let the Buddhist viewpoint of these books deter you from reading them. The author is not trying to convert anyone to Buddhism. On the contrary, the author frequently points out that many faiths have similar beliefs that are expressed in different ways, and the various teachings can complement each other.  What I also found enjoyable about these books is that they are relaxing. Obviously that’s a major focus of the  Buddhist viewpoint, but I enjoy reading books that don’t have arguing or violence. 

The only drawback I found in these books was that the third book (The Power of Meow) was a bit heavy-handed in the continued mentions of how meditation has been shown to be beneficial to a person’s health. But the book was still fun and interesting despite the occasional feeling of being swatted with a rolled up “meditation” newspaper.

I recommend all three of these books, and I think it best if you read them in order. I read the second book before the first and it wasn’t too disruptive, but the characters’ life stories will flow more naturally if you read the books in order.  I enjoyed reading about the events in HHC’s life and about bringing happiness to your life and the life all all living beings.