Abraham Lincoln and Cats – Presidents & Pets

1860s White House.jpg
Public Domain, Link

When asked if her husband had any hobbies, Mary Todd Lincoln reportedly said, “cats”. President Lincoln welcomed stray cats to the White House. During the darkest days of the Civil War, the company of his cats helped sustain him. He rescued three orphaned kittens at General Grant’s headquarters in Virginia. So the next time you do something nice for a cat, you are following in the footsteps of one of the greatest American Presidents.

Cute grey kitten.jpg
By Nicolas Suzor from Brisbane, Australia – Kittens!
Uploaded by Kaldari, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

Of course Lincoln wasn’t the only President who loved his pets. President Calvin Coolidge and First Lady Grace Coolidge kept cats, dogs, and even a pet raccoon. Grace Coolidge posed for her official portrait with her dog. Should Presidential families include their pets in portraits more often?

Grace Coolidge Official portrait.jpg
By Howard Chandler ChristyWhitehousehistory.org, Public Domain, Link

Posted in American History, Cat | Tagged , , , , | 45 Comments

*Expired* Magical Cool Cats Mysteries Boxed Set Volume 1 Free December 31 through January 4

Grab a free download of Magical Cool Cats Mysteries Boxed Set Vol 1 from December 31 through January 4. Here’s the description from Amazon:

Without missing a nap, magical cool cat sleuths find clues as intoxicating as catnip and help their humans, fun-loving 1920s detectives, Grace and Jack, solve crimes.

Excerpt from Splendid Summer: A white cat sat against his pillows, grooming a paw.
“Do you sleep with her?”
“No, we’re just good friends,” he replied.

In Emeralds, Diamonds and Amethysts, Tatania and her tomcat companion, Zeus, race bootleggers to find an extraordinary jewel collection. Emeralds, Diamonds, and Ametheysts is about a code known only to women who fight for the rights of all women.

Excerpt:: Grace looked at a ticket. It read: Good for one in a Pierce Arrow for the Suffragette March.
“I thought it was a march.”
‘Bless your heart, Grace. When one can ride in a nice Pierce Arrow, why walk? One can show one’s support from a luxury car just as well. Those with a chauffeur also serve.”

In Cher Ami, two people drop dead within minutes of each other. They appear unrelated. Tatania, and Zeus find the story of Cher Ami, a WWI carrier pigeon with the heart of a lion.
Excerpt: It’s not easy to get seven years of sleep in each year. Cats do their best. Since cats live seven years for each human one, naps are mandatory. Tatania, a fluffy white deaf Persian, and Zeus, a black and white with a little pink nose, were napping when the commotion began in Coronado Tent City. They sprawled across the bed’s middle.
Grace slipped on a sleeveless dress with a scalloped hemline.
“Feels a little chilly,” she said, rubbing her shoulders, “should I put on a sweater?”
“With the heat I generate, you won’t need one. Just stick close to me,” Jack said.

You can grab your free download by clicking on the image above or the link below:

Magical Cool Cats Mysteries Boxed Set Vol 1 (Books 1, 2 & 3 & A Christmas Feral)

And you can always read Kindle books on your PC, tablet, and smart phone by downloading free Kindle Reading Apps:

Kindle for PC [Download]

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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Nine Lives and Google Play and Amazon’s 99 Cent Movies Deal Through January 23, 2017

Nine Lives is a cute movie. Kevin Spacey plays an executive who briefly inhabits the body of a cat. As Mark Twain said, “If you crossed man with a cat, you’d improve man but deteriorate the cat.”

And Nine Lives is one of about 49,000 movies that Amazon is offering in a 99 cents movies promo through January 23, 2017. When you see the movie you’d like to watch for 99 cents, click on “More Purchase Options” and receive a prompt to enter your movie promo code: MOVIE99. The price won’t change on your screen but you’ll see the promo applied in the confirming email you receive from Amazon after you rent the movie. Google Play is also offering movies for 99 cents through January 23, 2017 and you don’t need a promo code for Google Play.

Click on the link below to see Nine Lives and other movies available at Amazon:

Nine Lives

Happy Holidays!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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*Expired* MEOW or NEVER – Free Dec 11-15

From December 11 through 15, enjoy a free download of Meow or Never. Here’s the description from Amazon:

In the 1920s, nothing interesting happens before 2 a.m. When a wealthy stockbroker’s wife disappears, magical cool cat sleuths, Tatania and Zeus, sniff clues as intoxicating as catnip and help human detectives, Grace and Jack, find her.

Excerpt from Meow or Never:

Zeus, a cute and mischievous tomcat, kept following the tide in and out, letting the water sprinkle his nose, and acting surprised when the tide chased him back to shore. Wet, he shook like a puppy. Then, he sniffed each front paw carefully.
He scampered excitedly towards their favorite humans, a slender woman in a sparkling dress, and a muscular man with black hair and skin kissed brown by the sun. Tatania, his white Persian cat companion, looked away. Tatania thought there were a lot of appropriate ways to greet humans. Running towards them like a puppy wasn’t one of them.

You can download your free copy of MEOW or NEVER by clicking on the image above or the link below. And you can always read Kindle books on your phone, tablet, or pc with free kindle reading apps. Happy Reading!

Meow or Never (Magical Cool Cats series Book 7)

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Posted in 1920s, American History, Animals, Cat | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Mailbox Monday

I’m thrilled that One Breath: Freediving, Death, and the Quest to Shatter Human Limits by Adam Skolnick, The 12 Dares of Christmas by Leigh W. Stuart, and Girl Online by Zoe Sugg landed in my mailbox. Here are the descriptions from Amazon:

*ONE BREATH*

“One Breath is a gripping and powerful exploration of the strange and fascinating sport of freediving, and of the tragic, untimely death of America’s greatest freediver

Competitive freediving—a sport built on diving as deep as possible on a single breath—tests the limits of human ability in the most hostile environment on earth. The unique and eclectic breed of individuals who freedive at the highest level regularly dive hundreds of feet below the ocean’s surface, reaching such depths that their organs compress, light disappears, and one mistake could kill them.

Even among freedivers, few have ever gone as deep as Nicholas Mevoli. A handsome young American with an unmatched talent for the sport, Nick was among freediving’s brightest stars. He was also an extraordinary individual, one who rebelled against the vapid and commoditized society around him by relentlessly questing for something more meaningful and authentic, whatever the risks. So when Nick Mevoli arrived at Vertical Blue in 2013, the world’s premier freediving competition, he was widely expected to challenge records and continue his meteoric rise to stardom.

Instead, before the end of that fateful competition Nick Mevoli had died, a victim of the sport that had made him a star, and the very future of free diving was called into question. With unparalleled access and masterfully crafted prose, One Breath tells his unforgettable story, and of the sport which shaped and ultimately destroyed him.”

*THE 12 DARES OF CHRISTMAS*

“Lauren Hall has one wish for Christmas this year—raise money to build a new, no-kill animal shelter for the town of Sycamore Cove. And she is prepared to do anything to make it happen. Even dare a man she just met to perform a strip tease for the local knitting society.

Gabe Nicholson has one wish too—obtain the job of a lifetime to launch his career. Only his wishes get snowballed when his best friend’s little sister hands him a pair of stripper pants and a bottle of eggnog-flavored body oil.

It’s all sugar plums and mistletoe until a scandal caused by Lauren’s fundraiser threatens to ruin it all. With Gabe’s work opportunities disappearing before his eyes and Lauren’s fundraising efforts tanking, their game of dares stands to burn them both. Unless it ignites a spark of Christmas magic.”

*GIRL ONLINE*

“From award-winning YouTube sensation Zoe Sugg, popularly known as Zoella, comes her New York Times bestselling debut young adult novel, which perfectly captures what it means to grow up and fall in love in today’s digital world.

I have this dream that, secretly, all teenage girls feel exactly like me. And maybe one day, when we realize that we all feel the same, we can all stop pretending we’re something we’re not… But until that day, I’m going to keep it real on this blog and keep it unreal in real life.

Penny has a secret.

Under the alias GirlOnline, Penny blogs her hidden feelings about friendship, boys, high school drama, her crazy family, and the panic attacks that have begun to take over her life. When things go from bad to worse at school, her parents accept an opportunity to whisk the family away for Christmas at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. There, Penny meets Noah, a gorgeous, guitar-strumming American. Suddenly she is falling in love—and capturing every moment she spends with “Brooklyn Boy” on her blog.

But Noah has a secret, too, one that threatens to ruin Penny’s cover—and her closest friendship—forever.”

Wishing everyone a lovely and bountiful Thanksgiving!!

Disclosure: I received a copy of One Breath: Freediving, Death and the Quest to Shatter Human Limits by Adam Skolnick from Audible in exchange for an honest review. I received copies of The 12 Dares of Christmas by Leigh W. Stuart and Girl Online by Zoe Sugg from Net Galley. This post contains affiliate links.

Posted in American History, Audiobooks, Mailbox Monday | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

AudiobookReview: The Many

This is a story about grief and loss. In a once prosperous fishing village, that is processing the grief that comes with contaminated water and the loss of livelihoods, Timothy buys a house that has been uninhabited for ten years. The village greets Timothy with suspicion. He’s the proverbial outsider.

Processing his own grief and loss, Timothy moves back and forth between waking and dream sleep hours, and isn’t always able to distinguish between the two. He doesn’t know if he’s spent minutes or hours staring into his wife’s eyes in bed. The Many seems timeless.

The Many was long-listed for the Booker Prize 2016. The audio book edition is well-narrated by Gavin Osborn.

Disclosure: I received a copy of The Many from Audible in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

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Mailbox Monday

Here is the description from Amazon:

“Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2016 Timothy Buchannan buys an abandoned house on the edge of an isolated village on the coast, sight unseen. When he sees the state of it he questions the wisdom of his move, but starts to renovate the house for his wife, Lauren to join him there. When the villagers see smoke rising from the chimney of the neglected house they are disturbed and intrigued by the presence of the incomer, intrigue that begins to verge on obsession. And the longer Timothy stays, the more deeply he becomes entangled in the unsettling experience of life in the small village. Ethan, a fisherman, is particularly perturbed by Timothy’s arrival, but accedes to Timothy’s request to take him out to sea. They set out along the polluted coastline, hauling in weird fish from the contaminated sea, catches that are bought in whole and removed from the village. Timothy starts to ask questions about the previous resident of his house, Perran, questions to which he receives only oblique answers and increasing hostility. As Timothy forges on despite the villagers’ animosity and the code of silence around Perran, he starts to question what has brought him to this place and is forced to confront a painful truth. The Many is an unsettling tale that explores the impact of loss and the devastation that hits when the foundations on which we rely are swept away.”

Disclosure: I received a copy of The Many from Audible in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

Posted in Mailbox Monday | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Review: Tangled Vines by Frances Dinkelspiel

While the original thirteen colonies were fighting for independence from England in 1779, in California, Franciscans were perfecting wine. Tangled Vines depicts the fascinating history of California’s wines. It’s bookended by the story of the worst wine arson ever: In 2005, Mark Anderson set a wine warehouse on fire and destroyed over 4.5 million bottles of wine worth over 200 million dollars. The author learns that the bottles destroyed include an 1875 vintage produced by her own great-great grandfather: Isaias Hellman.

Tracing these bottles’ origin takes her back to Rancho Cucamonga, the Southern California town that once dominated the California wine industry. She chronicles the ups and downs of California wine — including a depressing period when vintners allowed hogs to run wild through their vineyards eating grapes because grape prices had plummeted beyond the practicality of production. With the gold rush of 1849, vintners prospered and customers rode through on horses decked with silver. Ms. Dinkelspiel describes a time when one could ride horseback for hours and see only cows in the wilderness that once defined California. When California became a state in 1850, laws that you probably didn’t hear about in history classes are passed that deny Native Americans the right to vote, deny Native Americans the right to testify against a white man in court, and allow Native Americans to be arrested for not working. This leads to exploitation by certain vintners. In the 20th Century, Bobby Mondavi led Northern California’s emergence as the dominant territory for California’s wines.

I listened to the Audible edition of Tangled Vines. Narrated superbly by Dina Pearlman, the audio version presents this well-written book with the engaging style of a favorite history teacher. Mark Anderson currently remains in a federal prison serving a 27 year sentence.

Disclosure: I received a copy of Tangled Vines from Audible in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

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Best Of Blog: Hemingway’s Cat is Missing

This post appeared in November 2011. The kitty pictured above wasn’t Hemingway’s cat but she was the inspiration for the Magical Cool Cat Mysteries. The books don’t really do her justice. She died unexpectedly and I’m just grateful now that I knew her in one of her nine lives.

Early readers of this blog — Hi Deb! Hi Ann! Hi Jane! — know that in July, after I read Paula’s McLain’s brilliant book, The Paris Wife, I posted that Hemingway’s Cat is Missing.

I explained that I felt drawn to The Paris Wife, Paula McLain’s novel written from the perspective of Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley, because A Moveable Feast, Hemingway’s own memoir of Roaring Twenties Paris, has passages that remain indelible to me today —- though I read it long ago. One is mentioned in the blurb of The Paris Wife: Hemingway returns after several days in a love nest with Pauline, who becomes his second wife, and sees his first wife Hadley, standing with his son, waiting for him at the train station, and wishes he had died before he loved anyone but her.

And Hemingway describes waking to a Paris morning, sharing breakfast with his son, nicknamed Bumby, and his cat, nicknamed F. Puss, and calls them good company. Denouncing as ignorant anyone who states a cat will suck a baby’s breath, Hemingway vividly portrays F. Puss as Bumby’s babysitter, guarding him in the crib. I envisioned a purring, fluffy cat lulling Bumby to sleep.

So I was part way through The Paris Wife, and feeling transported to 1920s Paris with F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein and John Dos Passos, among the people the Hemingways knew, when I thought, Where is the cat? Surely the cat entered Hadley’s consciousness. I kept reading this beautifully written book expecting at least a line for F. Puss —- maybe watching Parisian birds from a window, grooming a paw after sharing Papa’s meal, or nuzzling Bumby in his crib. I finished the book. Hemingway’s cat is missing.

UPDATE: Later, I emailed Paula McLain and asked about Hemingway’s beloved cat, F. Puss. Paula McLain graciously replied and said that when Hadley was interviewed about F. Puss, and the great babysitting service F. Puss provided, Hadley said that Hemingway built it up too much. Mystery solved. I think we can also surmise that when F. Puss meowed for breakfast, Hemingway lept up to serve breakfast while Hadley slept.

Posted in 1920s, Cat, Paris, Reading | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments

Mailbox Monday

I like California, history, and wine and I’m looking forward to listening to the Audible edition of Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession, and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California by Frances Dinkelspiel. Here is part of the description from Amazon:

“On October 12, 2005, a massive fire broke out in the Wines Central wine warehouse in Vallejo, California. Within hours, the flames had destroyed 4.5 million bottles of California’s finest wine worth more than $250 million, making it the largest destruction of wine in history. The fire had been deliberately set by a passionate oenophile named Mark Anderson, a skilled con man and thief with storage space at the warehouse who needed to cover his tracks. With a propane torch and a bucket of gasoline-soaked rags, Anderson annihilated entire California vineyard libraries as well as bottles of some of the most sought-after wines in the world.”

Disclosure: I received a copy of Tangled Vines from Audible in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

Posted in American History, Mailbox Monday | Tagged , , | 7 Comments