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review 2020-09-20 19:44
WARRIORS: POWER OF THREE: LONG SHADOWS by Erin Hunter
Warriors: Power of Three #5: Long Shadows - Erin Hunter

Sol has a grip on ShadowClan and it causes Tawnypelt to leave them and come to ThunderClan where her brother, Brambleclaw, is deputy. Jaypaw, Hollyleaf, and Lionblaze know that something must be done to break Sol's hold on the Clans and keep four Clans. While dealing with this, greencough is going through ThunderClan as well as fire. Then when it looks like ThunderClan will make it through all this, a deeply held secret is revealed. What happens now?

 

There is a lot going on in this book. Jaypaw, Hollyleaf, and Lionblaze are in the middle of it all. I think I know the secret but I guess I'll have to read the next book to find out if I am right. This is the first book that has that big of a cliffhanger. I found Jaypaw's one dream very interesting. I'd like to see where it will go and will the extent of Jaypaw's powers as well as Lionblaze's seeing the spirit of Tigerstar ever by revealed.

 

I love this whole series. This one is my favorite.

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review 2020-08-05 11:05
Decoding Your Cat
Decoding Your Cat - Dr. Carlo Siracusa,Dr. Meghan E. Herron,Debra F Horwitz

by American College of Veterinary Behaviorists

 

Non-fiction

 

I read a lot of books and articles about cats, but this started teaching me a few things I didn't know pretty quickly. For example, highly bred cats who are bred for temperament gets theirs from the father cat. Who knew?

 

The one big disappointment in this book was when it came to talking about cats who don't get along over a sustained period, it told me to ask my vet. My vet would just say re-home one of them which isn't an option! I was hoping they could give me some insights on how to get two cats at war in the same house to make peace, or at least manage to tolerate each other. To be fair, it did mention there are medications that might help.

 

There was some good related advice about making sure each cat has their own space and places to hide. The information was laid out in bites that made it easy to read, although it was sometimes repetitive and a lot of the information is already known by cat enthusiasts, but people new to cat ownership will certainly benefit from it and some things that seem obvious sink in better when put in writing. I'm not sure how the format will work with referring back to specific information but perhaps a paperback would be easier to flip through for that.

 

Overall it is a valuable source of information with something for cat veterans and a wealth of information for new cat owners. It would probably be my first choice for books I should have read when I first became a cat slave.

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review 2020-06-09 06:33
Six Cats a Slayin' (audiobook) by Miranda James, read by Erin Bennett
Six Cats a Slayin' (Cat in the Stacks Mystery) - Miranda James
Charlie has an uncomfortably flirtatious new neighbor, Gerry, who seems interested in buying up homes in the area. When she invites him to her big Christmas party, he decides to go in order to be polite but makes sure to take Helen Louise, his girlfriend, with him. Both of them are shocked when the party ends with Gerry's death, quite likely due to poison.
 
Kanesha's in charge of the investigation, and Charlie does his best to stay in her good graces by keeping his nose out of it. Mostly. It helps that he has a lot on his plate. His daughter-in-law is running herself ragged trying to take care of her new baby and might land herself in the hospital soon if she doesn't accept help. Also, in addition to Diesel, Charlie now has five mystery kittens to take care of. Someone, quite possibly a scared child, left them on his doorstep, and he's determined to find out who it was and see if they can be reunited.
 
Content warning for this book:
Transphobia, although not on the part of the main character or any of his friends.
(spoiler show)
 
The only other book I've read in this series was the first one. I normally like to read series in order when I can, but this was the only audiobook in this series that my library owned, so I figured I'd give it a shot. Honestly, skipping eight books wasn't too much of an issue. I could tell character relationships had changed: Kanesha has softened towards Charlie, Charlie now had a girlfriend, and his relationship with his son was better. There was even a part where Charlie thought back to what his life was like at the beginning of the series, so if there were any gaps in my memories of him and his relationships, they were filled in pretty neatly.
 
I read the paper version of the first book, so this was my first audiobook experience with the series. Bennett was a good cozy mystery narrator, but maybe not the best choice for this particular series, which features a first person male POV. Most of the secondary characters are female, so maybe that was a factor, but I still think a male narrator would have been better.
 
Anyway, now for the story itself. Oddly enough, the primary mystery seemed to be the kittens and the identity of the person who dropped them off. The murder was more secondary - although Charlie chatted with friends about it and did a little bit of research, he did mostly stay out of it, and as a result, most of the resolution happened off-page. While it was certainly a tragic story, I found it to be a bit weak.
 
The kitten storyline, on the other hand, was nice. Diesel got multiple opportunities to act as their adorable giant babysitter, and Charlie tried to resist being charmed by Ramses, the only one of the bunch with a distinct personality. I enjoyed Charlie's efforts to figure out who left the kittens, and the whole thing was resolved in a very warm and fuzzy way.
 
All in all, this made for a decent listen. I wish my library owned more audiobooks in this series, although thankfully I do own a used copy of Book 8 that I haven't read yet.
 
(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)
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review 2020-06-06 18:05
Lives lived in alternate worlds
The Coming of the Quantum Cats - Frederik Pohl

Dominic "Nicky" DeSota is a Chicago mortgage broker in trouble. Arrested by the FBI, he is accused of breaking into a nearby government lab — only at the time, DeSota was on a weekend trip to New York City. This isn't good enough, however, for a moralistic and oppressive federal government, because if it wasn't DeSota, who else could it have been?

Dominic DeSota is a United States senator enjoying a romantic night with the world-renowned violinist with whom he is having an affair when he is asked to fly to a military research lab in Sandia, New Mexico. When he arrives he learns that the military police have Dominic DeSota in custody, a man who is the senator's exact double. Under interrogation, the captive DeSota provides only cryptic answers — just before vanishing right before them.

 

Dominic DeSota is a United States Army major who has been assigned to an assault team invading another world. Their mission is part of a larger plan designed to use the newfound ability to cross over onto parallel Earths to defeat the Soviet Union and win the Cold War. This plan begins to fall apart, though, when the America they invade proves less than cooperative. And then there is the growing problem of ballistic recoil . . .

 

Frederick Pohl was one of the grand masters of science fiction's Golden Age. During a career that spanned over seventy years he wrote or co-wrote nearly five dozen novels, some of which endure as classics of the genre. This book is not regarded as one of his best works, in part because of its focus on a particular time and place. Set in the then-contemporary world of 1983, the novel follows the different incarnations of three characters as they discover the existence of their counterparts. As their worlds come into conflict with one another, these characters confront their alternate selves and ponder the differences suddenly before them.

 

While Pohl uses his premise to address the allure of the life unlived and the degree to which we are defined by the world around us, his main interest is on commenting on the growing conflict between the various Americas he describes. For the most part these worlds are satirical takes on the America of his time, consisting of a police state run by religious fundamentalists, a thinly-veiled military dictatorship, and a complacent self-obsessed superpower. What makes Pohl's novel stand out from similar works of its type is in how he presents these worlds, not by scattering extended infodumps in his text but through the differences between the characters from them. By showing how the lives of Dominic DeSota, Nyla Christophe, and Larry Douglas differed because of their circumstances, he provides a work of alternate history that is among the best of its type. This is why, for all of its datedness, it is still a novel that is very much worth reading.

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review 2020-05-31 00:15
Nyankees (manga, vol. 1) by Atsushi Okada, translated by Caleb Cook
Nyankees, Vol. 1 - Atsushi Okada,Caleb D. Cook

This series stars a bunch of stray cats who are usually depicted as tough human thugs and gang members. Ryuusei is a newcomer in Nekonaki, the territory ruled by Taiga and his gang. He doesn't always think before getting into fights, but he's tough and has the scars to prove it. Taiga and the others think he might be looking to steal some territory, but in reality the only thing he's interested in is finding a mysterious calico tom with a scarred eye. There's a chance that the cat Ryuusei wants to find is the new leader of the Goblin Cat Tails, but in order to meet him he'll first have to fight his way through a bunch of cats trying to create a cat utopia.

The main reason I got this was because of the cats. And also, the "cats depicted as people" aspect reminded me a little of Hatoful Boyfriend (although I suppose that was "birds briefly depicted as people"). Based on what I've seen of the cat politics around my apartment building, depicting cats as thugs duking it out for pieces of territory seemed like something that would work well.

The art was decent: nice clean lines, cats that were usually drawn well (the legs were occasionally weird), and easy-to-follow action. I liked the way Okada worked aspects of each cats' fur pattern into their clothing design. For example, Taiga, an orange tabby, wore a jacket with tabby stripes on it. Design-wise, Madara was my favorite, both in his human and cat versions. As a cat, he was a tortoiseshell (which would probably be hell to draw consistently if Madara became a regular character). In his human form, his tortoiseshell pattern became a coat with a camo pattern.

The humor was so-so. A few crass moments, like when Ryuusei tried to hit on Mii, or when a panel focused on Ryuusei's jiggling feline balls (so many cat testicles in this). There was also the bit with Ryuusei and the box. Honestly, it's amazing he's survived this long.

The whole "cats depicted as people" thing seemed a little inconsistent. It wasn't quite that these were cats sometimes shown as people but still 100% cats - Okada occasionally drew them in poses that weren't natural for cats but were natural for their human depictions. But behavior-wise, they also weren't just cats with people's minds. It was a bit weird.

Unfortunately, the characters and story didn't capture my attention at all. The characters did a lot of shouting and posturing but didn't otherwise stand out much. The one moment Ryuusei really stood out, for example, was when he demonstrated a willingness to show his belly to humans in order to charm them into giving him food. Otherwise, though, he was mostly Main Tough Guy Who Shouts a Lot and Is Occasionally Silly. Taiga was Leader Tough Guy Who Shouts a Lot. Then there was Kinbi and Ginbi, aka Tough Villain Guys With Dreadlocks Who Shout a Lot. And Mii was The Girl. I assume this world has more than one female cat in it, but you wouldn't know it from what you saw in this volume. I liked that it was noted that the volume's male calico and tortoiseshell were both rare, but it would have been nice to see more female characters.

It was a little confusing, but it sounded like the male calico Ryuusei was looking for was maybe someone he looked up to at some point. Other than that, I have no idea why finding this particular cat was so important to him. I also don't know that I care enough to buy any more of this, although there's a possibility I might check out a library copy of the next volume one day.

Extras:

A page of translator's notes, which for some reason is included just before the final chapter in the volume, and a couple full-color illustrations.

A missed opportunity: the volume was peppered with cat-related terms that readers might not necessarily know, like clowder and molly, so a page devoted to those might have been a good idea.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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