Book Reviews

Recommended Books to Read

Book Reviews

Below are books recommended by our volunteers but have not necessarily been approved by LFFAC.

Book Reviewed & Recommended — Click on Book Title to Read Review

I found the book The Nine Lives of Christmas in a pile of my daughter’s books.  She said she had never read it had no idea where it came from and I was welcome to borrow it.  So I did.  Having just finished a couple of “loser” books about cats, or rather books featuring cats in amongst all the human angst and drama, I was anxious to find a decent book about a cat or cats that could catch my interest for a few hours, not leave me sobbing into a tissue, and was, hopefully upbeat.  Although a tad out of season, this book filled the bill!

Sheilah Roberts, the author, must be a “cat lady”.  At least she is deeply sympathetic to and understanding of cats.  I have to believe she’s a “cat lady” or at least a “secret cat lady”.

This book features Ambrose, a cat who finds him self in the awkward position of having to bargain with God, or with the “Cat God”, take your pick, for his ninth life.  He’s used  up his other eight, you see.  Ambrose is rescued by a fire-fighter named Zach.  A kind man at heart who has been thrown some curves and is shut down to any sort of a relationship involving any sort of commitment with a woman.  Zach has a girlfriend, but WHAT a girlfriend!  Neither Ambrose or the reader will like her.  He also winds up becoming friends with Merilee, an employee in what sounds like one of our own “Pets Marts”.  Since it seems that Ambrose has been given his ninth life so that he can help Zach, Ambrose must pull some “kitty-strings” to bring Zach and Merilee together.  There are a number of scenes to make you smile, some to make you laugh.  All in all, this book is a happy good vibe that also points out the often sad fate of shelter cats, the unfairness of rent restrictions against responsible pet owners — a book that you will enjoy reading and will close with a smile on your face.  You can find the book in used book stores, on Amazon, in the library or on Kindle.  Happy reading.

Best Friends — The True Story of the World’s Most Beloved Animal Sanctuary by Samantha Glen gives the inside “scoop” on how Best Friends came to be and how it has grown into an international advocate for no-kill shelters nation-wide  The first Best Friends news letter was a mimeographed single sheet telling about the sanctuary located in beautiful Angel Canyon outside Kanab, Utah.  A small group of dedicated people back in the sixties (probably “hippies” and everyone knows how lazy and dirty they are — right?  Read on!) bought a ranch in Eastern Utah, with minimal funding at best, and how they tenaciously hung on, building it gradually into the grand place it now is.

From the start they  knew the need for a no-kill sanctuary with good living quarters designed especially for the animals they immediately began to be inundated with, was a huge undertaking.  They couldn’t turn any animal away and through their own creativity and dedication they were able to turn around near bankruptcy into the shelter it is today.  There are stories of unthinkable human cruelty along with stories of human love and devotion.

I read the entire book in one evening.  About six hours.  I simply couldn’t put it down.  There are wonderful photographs of various founding members as well as those who support them, such as vets, whose care is vital.

Yes, there are some stories in this book that are a bit hard to read.  But overall it is an extremely uplifting book. And it’s easy to start and stop anywhere in the book. You can read a chapter and put it down and read more later.

I learned just this week that Michael Mountain, one of the chief founders still lives in Angel Canyon at Best Friends.  While he is no longer visibly active he still works to help the Sanctuary.  He is currently active in environmentalism and marine life (and that, of course, doesn’t mean the US Marine Corps!).  Faith Maloney, another of the original founders, also still lives in Angel Canyon at the Sanctuary and she has an advice page where people can send in questions re problems they are experiencing with one of their pets (cat or dog) and Faith will answer.

Faith’s page is in their lovely, glossy magazine that is upbeat, doesn’t present the reader with horror pictures of animals being tortured or killed.  This book tells some harrowing stories, but on the whole it is very upbeat.  You might need a tissue while reading it, but a whole box is hardly necessary.  If you want to read an uplifting book about animals who come to Best Friends and are healed, loved, cared for and made to feel safe — if you want to read about loving homes being found for many and see how the “no-kill” movement is taking hold all across this country get this book!

It’s been out a while so you can find it used book stores, in the library, on Amazon either used or new or on Kindle — also in Barnes and Noble which is where I first purchase mine several years ago.  All the original founders are now in their seventies, a few in their eighties.  As a child of the sixties, I can relate to that!

Visit their website and find out how you can become a member.  Visit their Facebook page and learn more.  I’m  “Guardian Angel” as far as Best Friends membership goes.

I adopted one kitty from them whom I saw on their web site.  She had been rescued from a hoarding situation in the extreme cold and heat of Nevada. The muscles in her ears had atrophied since she was in such a tiny enclosure out in extreme heat and cold so her ears didn’t stand up like most kitty’s ears do.  She had been declawed.

I applied to adopt her on  line.  A Best Friends volunteer showed up at my house to determine if I would be a good human for this little cat who had endured so much.  The volunteer left saying that if she ever came back as a cat she would love to be one of mine.

Shortly after her visit another wonderful volunteer drove this fragile kitty  from the Sanctuary to Chatauqua Park in Boulder where we met and she gave me “Cybil”.  I renamed Cybil “Grizabella” for the kitty who sings the haunting song “Memory” from the musical CATS.  All her teeth had to be pulled when she arrived at Best Friends.  She had had numerous ear infections and I had to put drops in her ears a couple of times a day.  She only weighed two pounds when I got her.  During the nine more months she was alive she slept on my pillow each night with her chin resting in the palm of one of my hands.  She actually gained a pound.  She never again knew cold, heat, thirst, hunger or fear.  Her kidney’s began to fail and I was only able to buy her a bit of time with sub-cutaneous fluids. I held her and sang old cowboy and Beatles songs to her and she slipped away across the Bridge.  She KNEW she was loved and safe!

Although letting her go made a cat-shaped hole in my heart, I would do it again and have many times since Grizabella.  I’ve been rescuing cats since I was about twenty and feel it is one of the reasons I’m on this earth.

My idea of a perfect vacation is to go to the Sanctuary and spend a week or two loving on kitties, walking the occasional dog, communing with the pigs and hanging out with the horses.

I fear I would come home with a pig and possibly a kitty or two.  Pigs and chickens are allowed inside the city limits here in Los Alamos.

If you’ve never heard of Best Friends get the book!  Then visit their website and learn how you, too can support this amazing Sanctuary and the no-kill movement.

Their goal is for this country to become a “no-kill” nation by 2025.  And with all of us doing what ever we are able to do, that goal just might become  reality!  I guarantee you’ll love this book!!

After Cleo Came Jonah by Helen Brown, as the title tells us, is about the kitty who came into the lives of Helen and her family after Cleo’s passing.  Helen was determined not to have another cat.  She was recovering from breast cancer and surgery and had NO intentions of adopting another pet.  But a visit to a pet shop changed all that.  Suddenly, there in their home was the Siamese kitten, Jonah.  Getting accustomed to Jonah and Jonah to her and her family took some doing.  Meanwhile, her book on Cleo had become an international best seller.  So not only was Helen dealing with her own mortality, but with her sudden fame as the writer of an international bestseller, and just to complicate matters, her daughter had decided to become a Buddhist nun in Sri-Lanka, which was then in the throes of a civil war that had been going on for some time.  Jonah was yearning to become an outdoor cat, her daughter was yearning to become a Buddhist nun, Helen was yearning for a healthy body.  Helen’s visit to her daughter in Sri Lanka proves to be a turning point for them both.

A book about very real people, their very real cat, and their very real struggles, aspirations, concerns, triumphs — just life in general is, as with any Helen Brown book, very readable.  It took me a couple of afternoons.  You can find this book in the library, on Kindle, in used book stores, on Amazon.  I bought mine used off Amazon.  This is not a sad book!  No tissues necessary!

Cleo, the Cat Who Mended a Family by Helen Brown is the first book about Helen’s life, her kids and her kitties.  Cleo arrives, the runt of a litter with a tiny black body and huge  ears kind of like sails.  She has no way of knowing she has just landed in a family devastated by tragedy.  Cleo really does “save” Helen and her family as they struggle through a tragic death,  Some serious illness, a major relocation from New Zealand to Australia.  A divorce and remarriage.  This book is rich in wisdom and healing.   I found myself wiping tears and even laughing out loud.  You are indeed in for a treat with this book about a tiny black cat who showed up exactly where she was needed as she was needed most.  You’ll love Cleo’s quirky character and  you’ll also be along for the ride as you get to know Helen and her family members, including her opinionated, outspoken elderly mother.

I got this book used on Amazon.  It is probably available in Barnes and Noble, on Kindle, in the library and used book stores.  I loved it so much I have purchased and devoured After Cleo Came Jonah.  So, more to look forward to!

My absolute favorite line in this entire book is “Your cat, he whispered.  Just.  Peed.  On.  Me.”  I’ll leave you to find that gem.  It was one of many droll moments.  Enjoy!

Bono, by Helen Brown is not only the story of a rescue cat who needed a foster home but of the woman and her daughter who fostered him in their tiny New York rental apartment.  (Lest you make the mistake of pronouncing Bono’s name as the last name of Sonny Bono, the author explains that he was named for the lead singer in U2 — bit of a difference there).

Bono’s became homeless during Hurricane Sandy, had been found bedraggled and quite sick with an infection, so had to have daily meds and, embarrassing to him, he had been given a “lion-cut” due to his badly matted fur.  He was residing at Bide-a-Wee, a real, no-kill shelter in Manhattan, but due to his lack of socialization and his weird hair cut, plus he was FeLV+ so it was unlikely that he would get adopted.  He needed a foster who was patient, in a quiet home.  He needed time.

Helen went to New York because, quite frankly, she was bored with her life in Australia.  Helen had survived breast cancer,had been married for twenty years to a kind, successful,  but “samey” sort of guy and she longed for the bright lights and excitement that she had found when she first visited NYC as a successful author.  She had friends in New York and no sooner had she arrived with her young adult daughter Lydia than she got together with a friend, Michaela, who worked  at Bide-a-Wee — Michaela immediately talked her into fostering Bono.  You’ll have to get the book and find out how Bono changed not only Helen’s life and her relationship with her daughter, but how he helped change her relationship with her husband.  There, I’ve already disclosed too much!

I enjoyed this book so much I’m going to find her first best-seller about her cat, Cleo.  Not only does she love kitties and write about them, but she writes well — not something always easy to find in the “cat stories” genre.  Suffice it to say that Helen and Lydia also change Bono’s life — and insure that he gets the chance he needs.  I post kitties who are on “Death Row”in the NYC-ACC every day on FB and Bide-a-Wee is, thankfully, a far cry from the NYC-ACC.  It’s good to know there are places like Bide-a-Wee, which is Scots dialect for “Stay a While”.

Look for this enjoyable book about a special needs kitty in the library, on Amazon Kindle, at Barnes and Noble, and just possibly in used book stores, although its copyright is 2018.  As a person who has never been to NYC, and has absolutely no desire to go, I was afraid  I would be put off by Helen’s love affair with the place.  Suffice it to say that her love affair with the city of “cold steel canyons” becomes a love affair with her foster kitty.  Find out if Bono finds the forever home he deserves, if Helen and her husband get back together and if she returns to Australia.  Guaranteed —you’ll find this book thoroughly enjoyable!

Homer and the Holiday Miracle, by Gwen Cooper is a very slender little book that makes an ideal afternoon’s reading while curled up with your kitty(s).  Gwen Cooper is one of my favorite writers featuring kitties.  I won’t tell you what the holiday miracle is- you’ll need to read for yourself.  You can get this delightful little book on Amazon, Kindle, at Barnes and Noble or probably in the library.  It is brand new and won’t be in used book stores for a bit.

For all of us kitty lovers, this little book will warm your hearts.  Best wishes for 2019 and happy reading! — Christina

Finally a book about cats by a truly good author, one we’ve come to depend on.

My Life in a Cat House by Gwen Cooper (Homer’s Odyssey) was delightful.  Gwen Cooper really knows cats!  And she loves them to pieces!

Since patience has never been one of my virtues I pre-ordered this from Amazon.  It’s only available in hard cover right now, or on Kindle.  You’ll learn more about not only Homer, but Scarlet and Vashti, the two cats Gwen had when she adopted Homer.  You’ll also meet her two current kitties, gotten while Homer was still alive, Clayton and Fanny.

Ms. Cooper has a hilarious way with words.  I found myself laughing out loud and even wiping away a tear or two.  Each chapter shows, at the beginning of the chapter, a photo of each one of her cats.   I spent three wonderful evenings reading this book.  Well spent!

Ms. Cooper has another book out that has been out a year or two.  I just haven’t been able to afford it.  It’s called Kittenish and is a take off on the numerous selfies of Kim Kardashian — gack!  I mean to order it as soon as it’s available used.

Meanwhile, if you’ve never read any of Gwen Cooper’s books, start with Homer’s Odyssey, go on to The Ninth Life of Homer the Blind Wonder Cat, and then pick up Love Saves the Day — all books about a cat or cats — all wonderfully written,  a couple of which will make you reach for an entire box of tissues, but well worth the tears.  It is so much fun to have a book worth reviewing — or even worth reading for that matter.

You can order it new on Amazon, find it at Barnes and Noble, and on Kindle.  Not in used book store yet.  May you experience the delightful anticipation of sitting down with a book you know you are going to enjoy — one of the most satisfying of thoughts!  Happy reading!

The Cat in the Window is a compilation of stories (each chapter a story), edited by Callie Smith Grant.  Since each chapter is in itself a short story about a different cat, you can pick this book up and start anywhere and read for as long or as little as you like.  I tend to like book-length stories, but this one was recommended to me, so here t’is.

Ms. Grant gives us a short bit of info about each contributing author.  Some chapters are taken from full-length books, such as the excellent book about Kit Kat and Lucy by Lonnie Hull DuPont.  More than one writer has contributed a few stories.  It’s interesting to compare the writer’s styles.  As in all compilations, there are some you will love, some will make you laugh out loud, some will make you feel as if the writer is being a little “too cute”.  I don’t recall any out and out sad stories in this book.  If you’re looking for a book featuring cats, that you can pick up and set down without committing a whole evening, this book might be just the one.  Available on Amazon (used), in used book stores, in the library  and probably on Kindle.

If any of you gentle readers has read a good cat book that hasn’t been already reviewed, please shoot me an e-mail and tell me the title and author.

I’m fast running out of good kitty books to report on.  I’ve read a couple that were so bad I absolutely refuse to report on them.

The OLD MAN and the CAT A Love Story), by Nils Uddenberg.

In looking for upbeat books about kitties, the title of this one caught my eye, so I ordered it from Amazon and read it.  It is about an old man and a cat, but as far as being a “love story”, I remain unconvinced.  Translated from the Swedish, perhaps the book lost something in translation.  My reading of this book didn’t show me that the old man who, very reluctantly, adopted a stray kitty, felt any empathy,much less love!  The book doesn’t end sadly.  I’ll say that for it.  The writer is a retired professor of medical psychology.  He spends quite a bit of the book discussing human/cat relationships, in a scientific manner.  I found myself getting bored.  The last page is the saving grace of the entire book, in my mind.  He says, “I wouldn’t mind dying in my bed with Kitty somewhere close by.”  I can relate to that!  Maybe another reader will get more out of this particular book than I did.  Not quite up to the reviews I read about it, you can, none the less, obtain it on Amazon, in used book stores, the library or on Kindle.

If any of you gentle readers has a good cat book to recommend, one I haven’t already reviewed, please shoot me an e-mail and I will look into it. E-mail:

Finding good kitty stories is harder and harder, especially for a voracious reader such as myself.  I read a book about a cat in England who, but for the selfishness of his owner, would probably be alive today.  I refuse to review the woman’s book.  She was more impressed with her “twenty minutes of fame” due to her kitty and his passing, than with her actual kitty.  I read all kinds of books about cats – some funny, some whimsical, some terribly sad, some about a different cat in each chapter.  I’ve written about all my favourite cat books so far, and some that have not been so favourite.

I’m down to one more book in my stack to review and then I’ll be searching.  BTW, I read up to four books a week — all types, mostly about the Native Americans, either historical, or biographical, books about the Anasazi, environmental books, geology, some mysteries, some good fantasy, only good westerns, which does not include Louis L’Amour.

I’m picky what I read, but since I read so much I am always looking for new books and authors.  I try to avoid sad animal stories, since there are plenty of sad animal stories right around us, in Real Life.  I have some excellent books about otters, elephants, horses, animal rights, vegetarian/vegan movements, no-kill shelter movements, environmental issues.  I’m just running out of good kitty books.

The Good Luck Cat, by Lissa Warren

In 2008 Lissa Warren witnessed the death of her beloved father from a heart attack.  Ting, the living extension of Lissa’s dad, is a purebred Korat.  My only problem with this book was that Lissa and her parents didn’t seek out and save the life of a shelter cat.  Instead they spent a huge amount on a purebred cat.  Those of us in cat-rescue would save the life of a cat in a shelter, or one we had taken in from one of the colonies, like Charlie,Oscar, Ebony, or CJ to name a few.  (I’m still hoping some kind soul will step up to adopt sweet Sweet Pea out at Big T’s).  Lissa and her parents are obviously well off financially and it never occurred to them to look in a shelter for a cat.  That being said, they gave Ting the best life any cat could have.

Less than a year after her father’s death, Ting is diagnosed with a potentially fatal heart condition.  Their only option to save her life is to have a human pacemaker implanted in Ting’s little cat body.  The procedure is performed by the best animal hospital in Boston.  Thus begins the story of how Ting helped Lissa and her mother deal with the loss of Lissa’s father.  When her dad was alive he was “Ting’s person”.   This book does NOT have a sad ending!  Ting survives the surgery and her journey back to health helps prepare Lissa for a serious diagnosis of her own.

Beautifully written, this book is not just the story of a spoiled purebred cat and her upscale owners.  It is a book about grief, hope, and how our pets, in this particular story, a little grey cat, can not only help us through the tough spots, but enrich our lives and enable us to keep on keeping on, to keep on hoping and to appreciate each day we have, especially each day we have with a beloved pet.

​Available in the library, on Amazon, in used book stores and on Kindle, I found myself involved in Ting’s life, her prognosis, as well as how Lissa, her mother and Ting become a team — a team that is strong because they have the love of each other.  An enjoyable read.  Although I found it hard to relate to the social background of Lissa and her mother — one of privilege, in a sense, of entitlement.  But if you can get around that aspect, it’s a good story about a kitty who overcomes the odds and helps her humans.  Read it to read about Ting!

Rescued is twelve stories of rescued cats as told through “their eyes”  I normally don’t like to read a collection of short stories since I’d rather have a story I can get in to,  however, this book was recommended by a friend and I got it used from Amazon.

Twelve rescuers tell the stories of a cat they rescued, as seen through the eyes of that cat.  Not cutesy.  Not adorable.  No gimmicks.  At the end of the book each author is pictured and there is a short bio for her/him.  There is a photo or two of each cat featured — that appears along with that cat’s story.

As rescuers we all can relate to more than one of these stories.  They are heart-warming, sometimes funny, sometimes a bit sad.  But every kitty in each story is indeed a rescue.

If you want a book you can pick up and read a short piece from, this just might be the answer.  I think the story of “Rama:  Sideways” might just be my favorite.  You can find this book new or used on Amazon, probably in used book stores, maybe on Kindle and possibly in the library.  Read it and see which kitties are your favs!

If you are able to locate either on Amazon, Kindle, in the library or a used book store, A Cat Named Squeeky, you will never regret any effort made on your part.

I read this book in one night!  The author, Vic Reskovic, has no other books to his name, but his account of how he and his wife came to adopt, and be adopted by a stray little girl kitty whose face, in his words, looked like it had it had been “dipped in a hot fudge sundae, with a cream colored streak coming down the middle of its forehead and over its nose.”  Her eyes were so blue the author expected to see clouds in them!

Part Siamese, this little girl was quite talkative and Vic and his wife Cindy named her “Squeeky”— a fitting name indeed.  They didn’t want a cat.  But they fed her when ever she showed up.  One day she just waked into their house when Vic held the door open.  From her appropriation of a blue shawl to finally sleeping on their bed between them, Squeeky went from being a homeless stray to a kitty with two humans of her very own.  This author has a humorous side to his writing.  I often found myself smiling.  I even laughed out loud a couple of times.

​Squeaky lived for nineteen years with Vic and Cindy.  Would all stray kitties were so fortunate as to find such accommodating humans to love them!  You’ll need a hanky at the very end, but every bit of the story is well worth any tears.

We’ve all experienced what Vic and Cindy experienced at the passing of Squeeky.  Vic has become an advocate for stray cats and lists several organizations in the back who he suggests might be helpful in finding a home for a stray, unless you don’t wind up adopting him/her yourself.  One of the organizations he lists is Best Friends Animal Sanctuary outside of Kanab, Utah.  The largest no-kill shelter in the country, I know from personal experience that Best Friends is a wonderful place and a wonderful organization.  Get this book and enjoy every minute of it!

The Cat Who Covered the World.

This one is good, entertaining and not likely to require a box of tissues!  Henrietta surely ranks among the world’s “traveled” cats, right up there with Peter Gether’s “Norton”.  Henrietta’s adventures in countries all over the world surpass even Norton’s travels.

Over seventeen years and tens of thousands of miles, she became the plucky, indispensable companion for foreign correspondent and well-known author Christopher S. Wren and his family.  The Wren family copes with chaos across the globe and Henrietta finds her share of adventures, sometimes terrifying sometimes humorous.

Resilient is the word that comes to mind when reading this book about a family who traveled all over the globe, taking their curious, charming, spunky cat in tow.  You will get to adventure with Henrietta as she catches mice and dines on caviar in Moscow, to enjoying prosciutto in  Rome, to getting lost in Cairo, where she must have used up a few of her nine lives.

The ending will give us cat-people hope for others to succumb to their charms.  I bought mine used on Amazon, but I’m sure it’s available on Kindle, in the library or in the Used Book Emporium.

​You’ll all enjoy this one!

A Cat Abroad is the second in the trilogy by Peter Gethers about his wonderful Scottish Fold cat named Norton (for Ed Norton of the “Honeymooners”).

Peter and his girlfriend, Janice decide to completely change their fast-paced NYC lives by spending a year in the South of France.  I, personally, read A Year in Provence before discovering Peter Gether’s book.  And not to say I’m prejudiced, but I enjoyed Peter’s book because of the presence of Norton more than Peter Mahle’s A Year in Provence.  Personal preferences aside, the second of the books revolving around Norton was really about food.  I believe Peter Gethers is a serious foodie!

Still, Peter told about the places he, Janice ad Norton went, the interesting people they met, and the charming old village they lived in for a year.  Not only do they visit and live in France for a year, but they tour the Continent.  Needless to say, everywhere Norton goes he is his usual, suave, unflappable self.  An entertaining read (especially if you’re into food — I’m not) you will find yourself smiling at the characters encountered by Peter, Norton and Janice.  Upon their return to the US, Peter decides to escape the corporate life forever.  And he does!

At the end of this book Peter provides a short summation of his, Norton and Janice’s lives.  He and Janice have aged and settled into a committed relationship, although  neither of them believe that a piece of paper means one is married.  Norton has gotten a bit older, too.  He has developed just a touch of arthritis by the end of the book.  But he’s still up for hitting the road whenever Peter starts to pack.  We all know how most of our cats hate to travel.  Not so Norton!  Norton is a “dyed in the furr” traveler.  December’s book review will be about the last book in this series.

Just to prepare you all a bit.  We’ve all loved and lost pets (cats and dogs) who have left paw-prints on our souls and in our hearts.  With those words, all I can say is sit down with an entire box of Kleenex when you read the last in the series The Cat Who’ll Live Forever.   But it’s well worth the tears.  Meanwhile, look on Amazon (books or Kindle), in the library or the Used Book Emporium or your favorite used book store and find the second in this charming trilogy.

When Fraser Met Billy, by Louise Booth.  Good books about kitties aren’t easy to come by.  I think I’ve read most of them.  And it’s true, you have to kiss a lot of frogs  before you find a prince!  This one qualifies as a “prince”. 

The author and her family live on the Balmoral Estate in Scotland (yep, the same Balmoral where the Queen and her Corgis hang out).  Louise Booth’s book is about her autistic son and his cat, Billy.  I seem to be attracted to authors in the UK.  Once again, a kitty plays the starring roll in the life of a little boy with autism.  This book took me one night to read.  It’s easy, grabs your attention and has no sad parts — all pluses! 

Read about how Fraser makes amazing progress, due, not only to his parents and teachers, but also to his grey and white cat, Billy.  Billy truly seems to have the gift of ESP where Fraser is concerned.  Let no one discount the healing power of kitties! 

Even doubters might have a change of heart after reading this book. Louise Booth is no “writer”, that is she doesn’t take you there like another favorite author, Denis O’Conor, in fact she is a straightforward, basic sort of writer.  But she tells the story of her son and Billy in such a way that the book is hard to put down. 

You can find this book at a used book store, on Amazon, probably on Kindle or in the library.  For a quick, pleasurable read with a wonderful kitty as the star, this book is spot on.  — Christina

Welcome back to the Yorkshire village of Huddersfield and the whimsical world of Deric Longden, his wife Aileen and his cats.

Deric’s sense of humor is sometimes a bit sappy and downright groan-worthy, but it rubs off on you, at least it did on this reviewer.  This is the book that comes before A Paws in the Proceedings.  It tells you more anecdotes about Thermal and Tigger not to mention the occasional stray that Tigger brings into their home.

Deric and his cats aren’t as old as they have become in A Paws in the Proceedings and this book is a bit more light-hearted than that one.  If you like to read British authors (and I do) and cheerful cat stories (same again), you’ll enjoy this book.  I am especially fond of Deric’s “cat dialogs”.

An easy, one-night read, this book is available used on Amazon, and in used book stores.  BTW, I particularly think you’ll like the ending — no more hints, just get the book.

As anyone who reads these book reviews knows by now, I am partial to British authors and so here is more of the writer, Deric Longden.  Deric and his wife, the novelist Aileen Armitage, live in Huddersfield, Yorkshire.  One gets the flavor of an English village when reading his books.  He wrote the very successful book The Cat Who Came In From The Cold, and has since written a few more, all featuring the cats in his and Aileen’s life.  In this book Thermal and Tigger, the stars in The Cat Who Came In From The Cold, are aging.

While enjoying the intermittent visits of a feral black tomcat Deric noticed that Eric, the tom, was often hiding out in their cellar.  They left food for him and made him a bed.  This was long before the days of TNR.  Life on the mean streets being uncertain at best Eric one day disappeared and they never saw him again or learned what happened to him.  Then, a few days after Eric’s disappearance the Huddersfield Examiner, the local newspaper, ran an article that told how the RSPCA had captured a pair of feral cats along with their three black kittens in the village park.  A fourth kitten had escaped.  As Eric went down to breakfast the next morning he saw, sitting on the old wooden bench in the garden, a half-grown kitten as black as coal.
Eric spoke to the young cat.

“I was reading about you only last night.  I think I knew your dad, slightly.”  The kitten made no reply.  But that was the beginning of how Nokia came to join the household of Eric, Aileen Thermal and Tigger.  We’ve all known feral cats who suspected that there might be a better life if they only knew how to get past their fear and distrust of humans.  Nokia certainly falls into that category.

This is not a “sad animal story” but one to be smiled over and even laughed over.  Deric Longden is humorous and clever.  You will enjoy meeting up with Thermal and Tigger again, aging as they are.  Nokia adds a complete new dimension to the lives of this household in Huddersfield, Yorkshire.  If you love kitties you will enjoy this book.  Low key, easy read, just plain enjoyable.

I got mine used on Amazon.  I imagine you can find one in a used book store, possibly even on Kindle, or even in a Barnes and Noble.  I think you will enjoy this bit of British life.  I sure did.

The Cat Who Came Back for Christmas seems like an appropriate book for this month.  Like so many of my favorite cat stories, this one takes place in the UK.  It’s the story of Julia, a single mom trying to make it on her own and her autistic son, George, and the black and white kitten who appears as a stray in their lives.

With the appearance of Ben, George began to change from a withdrawn child lost in his own world, subject to frequent outbursts, hating strangers, hating new places, and sometimes seeming to even hate his mom.  As Julia and George get to know Ben he becomes not only part of their lives but a vital member of their family.  In a voice that is supposed to be “Ben’s”, George starts communicating with Julia, actually talking to her.  Only it’s not George who’s talking, but really Ben — or so George wants Julia to think.  Delighted with the positive change in George, Julia hosts a wonderful — “all out” “Winter Wonderland” in their village.  Everyone comes.  And George actually participates — unheard of interaction for him with outsiders and even other family members.

George, Julia and Ben embark on some of the happiest months of their lives. Then a terrible thing happens.  Ben goes missing and all the progress George has made seems to have evaporated.  He tells his mom he hates her, that she lost Ben, and then he stops talking.  Be prepared for an edge-of-the-chair ending, but also one that will warm you heart right down to your down-bootied toes!  Julia goes to every length to find Ben and this is not a book that ends sadly nor does it disappoint.

As Julia searches for Ben she encounters some kind folks, a sad story or two, and develops into the local “lost cat locator”.  This wonderful book, copyright 2010,  is available on Amazon, where I got it used, though in excellent shape, probably also on Kindle, possibly at Barnes and Noble and also at any used book store.

British authors are some of my favorites and this book does not disappoint.  Get ready to meet Julia,  George, and Ben and to love them all — especially Ben — but that is hardly a surprise!  You’re sure to like this one — a lot!

The World According to Bob by James Bowen.

I loved A Streetcat Named Bob so much I was delighted to find another book about Bob and James.  This book is brand new.  It goes into more about James and Bob’s lives together, in which James discusses the life of an addict candidly, tells more about Bob and lets us see life in London from the perspective of those who are far from rich and famous.

If you enjoyed the first book, I guarantee you will also enjoy this one.  Great illustrations are also included.  We all find ourselves hoping, for James’ sake, that Bob will live forever.  You’ll get an inside look at how the first book came to be written as well as a closer look at the lives of these two.  James, and Bob, have my utmost respect.

Available on Amazon, Kindle, and in bookstores.  This one is a “must read”.