Mailbox Monday

For anyone who has ever stopped by this blog, it’s not breaking news that I love animals. I was happy to receive a copy of The Historical Animal by Susan Nance from NetGalley. Here is the description of the Historical Animal from Amazon:

“The conventional history of animals could be more accurately described as the history of human ideas about animals. Only in the last few decades have scholars from a wide variety of disciplines attempted to document the lives of historical animals in ways that recognize their agency as sentient beings with complex intelligence. This collection advances the field further, inviting us to examine our recorded history through an animal-centric lens to discover how animals have altered the course of our collective past. The seventeen scholars gathered here present case studies from the Pacific Ocean, Africa, Europe, and the Americas, involving species ranging from gorillas and horses to salamanders and orcas. Together they seek out new methodologies, questions, and stories that challenge accepted historical assumptions and structures. Drawing upon environmental, social, and political history, the contributors employ research from such wide-ranging fields as philosophy and veterinary medicine, embracing a radical interdisciplinarity that is crucial to understanding our nonhuman past. Grounded in the knowledge that there has never been a purely human time in world history, this collection asks and answers an incredibly urgent question for historians and others interested in the nonhuman past: in an age of mass extinctions, mass animal captivity, and climate change, when we know much of what animals have done in the past, which of our activities will we want to change in the future?”

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Posted in Animals, Shopping | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

MEWOW FREE Cool Cat Mystery June 28-30, July 1-2

You can download a Kindle copy of MEWOW for free at Amazon June 26-30 and July 1-2:
If you’ve been reading the Cool Cats Mystery Series, you know who is the boss. Meow.
Another caper begins with Grace and Jack enjoying Prohibition cocktails at a fashion show, where the House of Cats’ fashion line designer mysteriously dies. Magical cool cats, Tatania and Zeus, lead the way to 1920s Hollywood and unravel a killer’s façade as adeptly as a ball of yarn. Solving mysteries is like catnip to Tatania and Zeus. MEWOW!

The Magical Cool Cats Mystery Series can be read in any order. If you’d like to know the chronological order of the series, here it is for you:

**Splendid Summer
**Emeralds, Diamonds, and Amethysts
**Cher Ami
**Available exclusively in Grace, Jack & Magical Cats Boxed Set Vol i
Meow Baby
Cupcake Kitty
Meow or Never
Catty Corner
Cat Dance
9 Lives to Live
Meow Now Brown Cow

You can download your free copy of MEWOW by clicking on the image above or the link below:
MEWOW (Magical Cool Cats series Book 11)

And remember you can always enjoy Kindle books on your phone, tablet, and computer by downloading a Free Kindle reading app:


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Posted in 1920s, American History, Animals, Cat, Free Ebooks, Patriotist, Roaring Twenties, Romance | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mailbox Monday

I’m thrilled that the audiobook edition of Jasinda Wilder’s Falling Away, Falling into You, Book 4, landed in my mailbox this Monday. Here is the description from Amazon:

“My name is Benjamin Dorsey. You know my mom and dad’s story. You know Kylie’s parents’ story. You even know Kylie’s story.

You don’t know mine yet.

You don’t know what a broken heart is until you’ve loved someone your whole life only to have her slip through your fingers because you waited too long. That’s heartbreak. That’s regret. And how do you live with that? How do you go through the motions when she’s there as a reminder of what you lost, of what you could have had but were too damn chicken to go after? I couldn’t. So I left.

That’s right, I ran away. I found myself across the continent, playing minor league football. I mean, at least I still had football, right?

Nope. That got taken away from me too. A career-ending injury left me down and out, scraping the bottom of the barrel, hating myself, and hating life. And then I met Cheyenne Leveaux, my physical therapist, who became my one and only friend, the one bright light in the darkness of my messed up life.

But of course nothing is ever simple or easy.

Tragedy struck, and the rug was swept out from under me yet again. This time the guilt, the doubt, the secrets, and the old heartbreak may threaten my one chance at true happiness, my one shot at my own happily ever after.”

Jasinda Wilder is an awesome husband and wife writing team with their own heroic story. Here’s an interview where they talk about becoming romance writers:

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

Posted in Audiobooks, Reviews, Romance | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Empire of Deception –His Last Con May Not Have Been Uncovered

After a friend swindles Leo Koretz out of money in a Panama timberland investment scheme, he learns two things:

1) The closer friends they are, the harder the suckers fall;

2) He could create a bigger and better fraudulent Panama investment scheme and swindle his own family and close friends.

The book opens in the 1920s at a party thrown by investor friends for Leo Koretz at Chicago’s Drake Hotel where the invitations call him “Our Ponzi”. Seriously. This made me wonder if some of his friends were in on the swindle from the beginning. Would anyone throw a party for their investment manager today and call him “Our Madoff”?

You can tell a lot about people by the way they treat animals. When a wealthy client of Leo names him as her Trustee, with the instruction to take care of her dog, Leo takes her dog home after she dies. Then, the dog suddenly dies and Leo gets all the money. There’s an immediate sinister inference. Even when reading anecdotes of Leo’s charm, I still had the lingering feeling that he was a vile and repulsive character.

His scheme began with offering fake shares in vast Panama landholdings abundant with timber. Copying his friend, he said that the railroads guaranteed they would buy the timber for railroad ties. Then he started the rumor that he’d found oil and turned down a multi-million dollar investment offer by Standard Oil. On his desk, he kept little bottles of whiskey he labeled oil.

If you’re hoping the book will immerse you in atmospheric twenties style, you could be disappointed. The book moves from Leo’s story to chapters about Leopold and Loeb’s criminal trial, Chicago politics, and Al Capone. It can feel jarring. My Kindle was at only 38% when the scam had been discovered and Leo was on the lam. I would have preferred different editing and structure and more focus on the time the scam was ongoing.

Leo, living under a pseudonym, settles briefly in New York and then moves on to Nova Scotia where he refurbishes an abandoned lodge and throws extravagent parties. His identity is uncovered when a tailor notices his real name on a label on the lining he brought to the tailor for repair. Leo returns to Chicago accompanied by law enforcement.

After Leo is sentenced, he arranges for chocolate to be smuggled to him in prison. Imbibing pounds of chocolate purportedly leaves him in a diabetic coma and he dies. After his alleged burial, reports surface that he didn’t die and a prisoner with TB was buried in his grave. This may have been his final con. With Leo Koretz’s bent for scheming, he undoubtedly could have concocted a plan to surreptitiously leave prison while someone else was buried in his place. The body was never exhumed.

You can see Empire of Deception by clicking on the image above or the link below:
Empire of Deception: The Incredible Story of a Master Swindler Who Seduced a City and Captivated the Nation

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Posted in 1920s, American History, Reading, Reviews | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Misbehaving – This One’s A Keeper

Here’s a definition of behavioral economics from Investopedia:

“The study of economic analysis that applies psychological insight into human behavior to explain economic decision making.”

Misbehaving by Richard Thaler provides fun glimpses into buying choices from ski lift packages to wine futures. You’ll learn about “sunk costs” and “econs” vs. “humans” in an entertaining way. L.J. Ganser provides a great narration and I predict this is one audiobook you’ll want to listen to again.

And when I listened to the results of several studies by Richard Thaler, I was heartened to learn that it’s still part of human nature to want to help someone out even if it means giving up a $. Also, consumers react highly negatively to merchants who “gauge” — i.e., increasing the price of snow shovels after a snow storm. In Misbehaving, Richard Thaler compiles highlights of his forty years as a behavioral economist. It’s a great choice for summer road trips.

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

You can see the Audible edition of Misbehaving at Amazon by clicking on the image above or the link below:

Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics

Posted in Audiobooks, Reviews, Shopping | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Mailbox Monday

I love history and I scored two upcoming historical books in my mailbox this Monday.

Here is the description from Amazon:
“From baby boomers with ‘groovy’ and ‘yuppie,’ to Generation X with ‘whatever’ and ‘like,’ each generation inevitably comes to use certain words that are particular to its unique time in history. Those words not only tell us a great deal about the people in those generations, but highlight their differences with other generations.

In this entertaining compilation, Allan Metcalf, author of OK: The Improbable Story of America’s Greatest Word, shows that each generation–those born within the same roughly 20-year time period–can be identified and characterized by its key words. Metcalf tells the story of the history and usage of these words, starting with the American Revolution and ending with the post-Millennial Homeland generation. With special attention to the differences in vocabulary among today’s generations–the sometimes awkward Millennials, the grunge music of Generation X, hippies among the Boomers, and bobbysoxers among the Silents–From Skeddadle to Selfie compiles dozens of words we thought we knew, and tells the unheard stories of each and how they accompanied its generation through its time.”

Here is the description from Amazon:
“Despite dire predictions in the late twentieth century that public libraries would not survive the turn of the millennium, those libraries continue to thrive. Two of three Americans frequent a public library at least once a year, and nearly that many are registered borrowers. Although library authorities have argued that the public library functions primarily as a civic institution necessary for maintaining democracy, generations of library patrons tell a different story.

In Part of Our Lives, Wayne A. Wiegand delves into the heart of why Americans love their libraries. The book traces the history of the public library, featuring records and testimonies from as early as 1850. Rather than analyzing the words of library founders and managers, Wiegand listens to the voices of everyday patrons who cherished libraries. Drawing on newspaper articles, memoirs, and biographies, Part of Our Lives paints a clear and engaging picture of Americans who value libraries not only as civic institutions, but also as social spaces for promoting and maintaining community.”

Disclosure: I received copies of From Skedaddle to Selfie and Part or Our Lives from NetGalley. This post contains affiliate links.

Posted in American History, Reading | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Audiobook Giveaway! The Hollow Ground by Natalie S. Harnett

To celebrate June, Audiobook Month, Audible is giving an audiobook copy of The Hollow Ground written by Natalie S. Harnett, and narrated by Luci Christian, to one reader of my blog. Here is a clip of this evocative story:


And here is the description of The Hollow Ground from Amazon:

“‘We walk on fire or air, so Daddy liked to say. Basement floors too hot to touch. Steaming green lawns in the dead of winter. Sinkholes, quick and sudden, plunging open at your feet.’

The underground mine fires ravaging Pennsylvania coal country have forced 11-year-old Brigid Howley and her family to seek refuge with her estranged grandparents, the formidable Gram and the black lung-stricken Gramp. Tragedy is no stranger to the Howleys, a proud Irish-American clan who takes strange pleasure in the “curse” laid upon them generations earlier by a priest who ran afoul of the Molly Maguires. The weight of this legacy rests heavily on a new generation, when Brigid, already struggling to keep her family together, makes a grisly discovery in a long-abandoned bootleg mine shaft. In the aftermath, decades-old secrets threaten to prove just as dangerous to the Howleys as the burning, hollow ground beneath their feet.

Inspired by real-life events in Centralia and Carbondale, where devastating coal mine fires irrevocably changed the lives of residents, The Hollow Ground is an extraordinary debut with an atmospheric, voice-driven narrative and an indelible sense of place. Lovers of literary fiction will find in Harnett’s young, determined protagonist a character as heartbreakingly captivating as Scout Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Q & A with The Hollow Ground’s author, Natalie S. Harnett

Mary: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Natalie: From at least the 3rd grade. I remember when my teacher chose a classmate’s poem
over mine to pin on the bulletin board. I remember thinking, “But I’m the one who’s going to be a writer, not her.” (That classmate, in fact, wanted to be a doctor and became one!)

Mary: Who are your favorite authors?

Natalie: Flannery O’Connor and Richard Yates are big ones. But so are Alice Munro, Joyce Carol Oates, and Margaret Atwood. Also Junot Diaz and Gary Shteyngart. I also have a thing for the Existentialists.

Mary: What do you like most about being a writer?

Natalie: I get immense pleasure from discovering a truth that I didn’t realize I knew. Or maybe I didn’t know it until I discovered it while writing. It could be a truth about a character’s motivations or a life situation. Writing is such a process of self and philosophical and psychological discovery. I love that.

Mary: When you began writing The Hollow Ground, did you consider setting it in a decade other than the 1960s?

Natalie: I did. I think I originally planned the late 70s/early 80s. But once I researched the fires, I wanted to be as historically accurate as possible. So I followed the timeline of the Carbondale, PA coal mine fire dig out.

Mary: In The Hollow Ground, “Auntie” tells “Brigid”, “If you only think about what’s bad, well then, life’s bad.” Is one of the themes of The Hollow Ground whether people are more controlled by internal or external forces?

Natalie: Absolutely! And the external forces they face from this fire are extreme, so they are continually challenged regarding the way they think/feel about their lives, themselves and each other.

Mary: Were you involved in choosing the narrator for The Hollow Ground?

Natalie: No, but I think Luci Christian did an absolutely wonderful job. She really brought the story to life. It’s the first time I’ve had another creative person interact with my work. Writing is otherwise so solitary. It was really thrilling first to have the audiobook made and then to be so happy with how it turned out.

Mary: Do you have a preference for audiobooks, eBooks, or paper?

Natalie: I will always feel something very tender, special, almost sacred for a paper book. But one of the reasons I love audiobooks so much is because I’m able to listen to way more books than I could ever read. I listen in the car, doing housework, exercising. I love that they enable me to multi-task and give my eyes and neck a rest from reading.

Mary: I love your quote from William Butler Yeats at the beginning of The Hollow Ground. Have you ever thought about writing a novel based on the romance between Yeats and Maude Gonne?

Natalie: I haven’t thought about basing a book on that romance, but I like the idea!

Mary: What is your next book about?

Natalie: I’m working on a novel set in the 1950s that is inspired by my great grandmother’s and her servant’s lives. My great grandmother was a diamond dealer, and she came over from Amsterdam under very shady circumstances. Her servant was a white woman who was basically her slave. That servant was never paid a dime, never had a day off and, once she became too old to work, my great grandmother gave her away to my grandmother.

Their story has haunted me since I was a little kid, and it’s been a very powerful experience writing about them. What’s also been a powerful experience is writing about Queens, NY, where the novel is set. My family has lived in Queens for over a century, and the novel is filled with snippets of family history (which includes my great grandfather’s speakeasy). It’s also influenced by Queens and NYC history. I just finished the second draft and have really enjoyed it. It was a lot of hard work but this novel came easier to me than other writing has in the past.


I’ll be looking forward to more books by talented Natalie S. Harnett. And Luci Christian is a fabulous narrator. To enter to win this giveaway, just leave a comment about something you’re looking forward to doing this summer. The winner will receive a promo code from Audible that will allow the downloading of an audiobook copy of The Hollow Ground without any necessity for purchase. You don’t need to join Audible to win this free audiobook copy. I will announce the winner on June 10. I’m wishing you all a splendid summer!

Posted in Audiobooks, Free Audiobooks, Reading | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Mailbox Monday – Misbehaving by Richard Thaler

I’m so happy that I received an audiobook copy of Misbehaving by Richard Thaler on its release date today! Thank you to Audible for giving me a copy in exchange for an honest review. Here is a description of this exciting new release from Amazon:

“Get ready to change the way you think about economics.

Richard H. Thaler has spent his career studying the radical notion that the central agents in the economy are humans – predictable, error-prone individuals. Misbehaving is his arresting, frequently hilarious account of the struggle to bring an academic discipline back down to earth – and change the way we think about economics, ourselves, and our world.

Traditional economics assumes rational actors. Early in his research, Thaler realized these Spock-like automatons were nothing like real people. Whether buying a clock radio, selling basketball tickets, or applying for a mortgage, we all succumb to biases and make decisions that deviate from the standards of rationality assumed by economists. In other words we misbehave. More importantly, our misbehavior has serious consequences. Dismissed at first by economists as an amusing sideshow, the study of human miscalculations and their effects on markets now drives efforts to make better decisions in our lives, our businesses, and our governments.

Coupling recent discoveries in human psychology with a practical understanding of incentives and market behavior, Thaler enlightens listeners about how to make smarter decisions in an increasingly mystifying world. He reveals how behavioral economic analysis opens up new ways to look at everything from household finance to assigning faculty offices in a new building to TV game shows, the NFL draft, and businesses like Uber.

Laced with antic stories of Thaler’s spirited battles with the bastions of traditional economic thinking, Misbehaving is a singular look into profound human foibles. When economics meets psychology, the implications for individuals, managers, and policy makers are both profound and entertaining.”

If you’d like to see a copy of Misbehaving, please click on the image above or the link below:

Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Posted in Audiobooks | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Happy Birthday to You! Birthday Freebies

When I compiled a list of birthday freebies, I decided to limit it to FREE instead of FREE WITH PURCHASE. Free with purchase never seems actually free to me. I have more respect than ever for awesome freebie and frugal bloggers like Heather of Heather spoils her readers everyday with freebies.  Subscribe to Heather’s blog and enjoy!

And treat yourself on your birthday to any or all of these birthday freebies:


Aveda: Free custom blended body product:

Benefit: Free brow arch at the eyebrow bar.

Sephora: Two free lip pencils

ULTA: Free eye shadow palette.

Victoria’s Secret: $10.00 to spend for your birthday.

Drinks & Food

Au Bon Pain: Free Sandwich

Baskin Robbins: Free ice cream

Del Taco: Free premium shake on your birthday and two grilled tacos for joining.

Denny’s: Free Grand Slam Breakfast

IHOP: Free pancakes on your birthday, free pancakes when you join, and free pancakes on anniversary of joining

Panera: Free birthday gift loaded to your card.

Red Robin: Free burger for your birthday.

Starbucks: Free custom drink of your choice on your birthday (I’m still waiting for Bailey’s shots, HA) and free custom drink of your choice for joining Starbucks Rewards.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Comments Off

Amazon Has Coupons!

How did I not know this? I thought I was as addicted to Amazon as every other smart shopper. But I just found out today that Amazon has digital coupons you can “Clip” and put in your cart. The savings will be applied at check out.

Of course, I found this out when I was looking at pet supplies. The following link is for Pet Supplies Coupons.


If you’d like coupons in other categories, like Office & School Supplies, Beauty, Grocery & Gourmet, just scroll along the left side of the page after you click on the link under “Browse Coupons”. Enjoy!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Posted in Beauty, Cat, Dog, Shopping | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off