Four Paws up for Ghosts of New York by Jim Lewis

I have to be honest with you. Pretty much all the New York-themed books I’ve read involve man-chasing, Manolo Blahnik-obsessed shopaholics. When I think of Manhattan, I envision Broadway shows, enchanting parks lit up with fairy lights and fashionable women strolling arm-in-arm down bustling sidewalks. I have since grown out of this chick lit genre, but the glossy veneer of New York life still lives long in my mind.

As you have probably surmised, I have never been to the Big Apple. Yet after reading Ghosts of New York, I feel like I’ve been given a tour by a local. To be clear, this isn’t a whimsical romanticized depiction of the city, but an unfiltered slice-of-life look into the people who live in the nondescript outlying neighborhoods, the studio apartments, the walk-up Brownstones. Told by an all-omniscient—in some cases prophetic—narrator, the chapters contain vignettes about troubled New Yorkers who are facing some serious blows—from losing everything to bankruptcy, to falling in and out of love, to realizing you can never come home again. The latter hits home with me, big time.

And therein lies the beauty of this book. So many of these stories are relatable to readers because the characters (Caruso excluded) are much like you and me. They’re not on a quest to vanquish evil sorcerers or to solve a whodunnit—they’re just making their way through this game of life the best they can. Needless to say, this isn’t a light read, but it was definitely worth my while because sometimes it’s good to lean into life’s dirty, gritty underbelly. Sometimes it’s good to feel these raw emotions and to know others have felt them too.

Deep stuff, I know. But hey, it’s good to go outside your comfort zones and read what I like to call “Intellectual Fiction,” not just for the stories themselves but for the beautiful prose. Hats off to Mr. Lewis for taking the art of writing to stratospheric heights! Most books I read are heavy on the dialogue, but this is mostly narration—a rather bold move for an author, but it works because it casts a voyeuristic effect. Some reviewers knocked a few stars off for this rather unorthodox story structure, but I rather liked it. The mystery of time was also an interesting, albeit disorienting, effect. Some chapters were told in the future tense, others in the past, but it’s anyone’s guess which decade we’re in. If I were to go out on a limb here, I’d say this was a nod to the “ghosts” theme of the book…because time and space is always a big question in the Great Beyond, isn’t it?

This review is turning into a novella, and I give you snaps for making it this far! There’s so much more to say about the poetic metaphors, the complex characters, my many questions about the mysterious virus and so on, but I’ll stop right here before giving away any spoilers. Even if this genre isn’t your cup of tea, I encourage you to venture off into uncharted territory and read something that stretches your thoughts about life, existence and the hereafter a little further.

Well done, Mr. Lewis! Keep ‘em coming!

Meowder Mondays: Without a Brew

Let me start off with OMG YASS! This is a new cozy mystery book theme that I never knew I needed in my life! I’ve never met a microbrewery I didn’t like, and now I am yearning to fly to the Bavarian tourist town of Leavenworth, WA and sample all of the delicious IPAs!

Naturally, I decided to read this during dry January because I love to torture myself. I do not advise this! I actually extended my torture into the first week of February since I cheated here and there. But hey, January was a tough month, so I give myself a little slack!

But I digress. Let’s get back to mystery, shall we? It all begins when Sloane (the nano-brewery/B&B manager) finds herself in the middle of a simmering bar brawl between a mysterious woman named Liv and an overgrown frat boy from Hell named, what else, Brad. Liv’s dead body turns up on a river bank the very next day and more suspects come out of the woodwork.

I quite enjoyed puzzling out this beer-infused mystery and was pleased that it had nothing to do with nefarious real estate developers. That plot device is getting old in these cozies. Just sayin! Most of all, I loved, loved, loved the setting and all of the little bits of beer-brewing knowledge. Adding to the intrigue is a mystery on top of the mystery involving Sloane’s mysterious past. Growing up in foster care, she knew nothing about her mother–and why she was abandoned. Somehow, her former in-laws seem to know a lot more about her biological mother than they’re letting on. I won’t give anything away, but I will say there’s more to this mystery that will unfold in the next book. Way to dangle that carrot, Miss Alexander!

I only have a couple gripes. Firstly, this book is devoid of animals. That’s a problem. Also, Sloane is…well how should I put this? Personality-free, might be the best description. She always has that customer service hat on and is as pleasant as can be, but she could use a few quirks. Maybe throw in a few jokes here and there and get a little sloppy? She’s the kind of person who intentionally blends into the crowd and clutches those cards close to her chest. Not the most relatable or likable, in my opinion.

Other than that little gripe, I’m down with this series and am already starting on the first book so I can learn more about Sloane’s early beginnings at Nitro Brewery, and how all the drama went down when she walked in on her husband–ex-husband, I should say– doing the deed with the beer wench.

Overall, this is a quality cozy for beer enthusiasts such as myself who miss frequenting microbreweries amidst this unending social-distancing way of life. When this pandemic is over, I’m going on a long-overdue Hill Country beer crawl!

 

Furbidden Fatality by Deborah Blake

Furbidden Fatality book In true cozy mystery fashion, this story follows a single, unlucky-in-love gal who is at a crossroads in her young, 30-something life. Now for the twist! She just won the lotto and has millions of dolla dolla bills to spare! When an adorable homeless kitten crosses her path, she discovers a rundown animal rescue in the midst of closing down furever—oh no! So of course she has to buy it and save all the homeless doggies and kitties that have nowhere else to go—not even the city pound, which is underfunded and over capacity. This is sadly the case in the real world, and I speak from 12 years of experience as a seasoned dog rescue volunteer who got chewed up and spit out by the F****D-up system. I’ll stop right here before I get up on my soapbox. Trust me, you don’t want that!

The mystery: This is a fun little whodunnit involving nefarious vandals, shady townsfolk and one sadistic animal control officer who seems to have it in for one particular dog (a pit bull, of course). Kari’s efforts to spruce up the rescue gets thwarted when she stumbles across his dead body on her property—making her suspect No. 1! Why was he shoveling a hole in her dog yard? Who’s smashing her windows and leaving misspelled threats on her doorstep? Why is the police department so pitifully useless? Well you’ll have to read the book to find out!

What I liked: The protagonist Kari Stuart is living my dream of running my very own animal rescue/sanctuary, providing a safe place for all the sweet doggies that get turned away from the so-called “No Kill” (aka Slow Kill) rescues. Might I just add that the term “No Kill” is a misnomer because these shelters are indeed killing dogs. It’s a numbers game and no dog is safe—especially at the most beloved shelters (*cough* Austin Pets Alive *cough*) where dirty, dirty politics are at work. A dog’s chances hinge upon their level of popularity with politically-savvy volunteers and the “dog behaviorists,” whom by the way have zero dog-training certification credentials and just use a one-size-fits-all method of punishment-based methods—including shock collars that they like to call “remote collars.”

Oops…did I just get on my soapbox a bit? Sorry y’all! Ok, back to the book. So Kari is a girl after my own heart, and I appreciate her willingness to eschew a luxurious life in Tuscany with her riches to answer the call of duty—hoorah! I especially love her cute little black kitty sidekick who magically knows how to warn her when danger is near.

What didn’t work: Kari is clearly a passionate cat lover, but I didn’t really sense much of a connection with dogs. I’m not sure how much research was put into the making of this book, but I think it would have behooved the author to watch an entire season of Pit Bulls and Parolees. If anyone can embody the passion—the spirituality even—that goes into a dog rescue operation, it’s Tia Torres and her two daughters. I think this may have been more believable if Kari was running a cat rescue, but dogs…not so much. I really hope this develops further in the next book, and I have faith that it will because I’m rooting for Kari!

This review is in honor of Brindle, Goldman and Dennis (aka Denny Bear). All three died at the shelter this year. 

Overall: This is a fun little mystery that is sure to please animal lovers—especially us crazy cat ladies! I applaud the author for bringing more attention to our nation’s overburdened and underfunded animal centers. It seems like you’d have to be a lotto winner in order to start a new rescue facility in a society that places very little priority on animal welfare. Sorry—had to throw in one last soapbox zinger.

Shoutout to NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Lil Bootz’s Halloween Treat: The Spook in the Stacks


In short: Somebody knocked off a wealthy businessman in the rare books section of Lucy Richardson’s beloved lighthouse library during a Halloween-themed book event! All clues point to his mysterious–dare I say shifty–granddaughter Julia, who stands to gain a lot from his demise. 

What I liked: The author did a fantastic job creating a fun, spooky atmosphere around the historic Bodie Island lighthouse. The apparition of a horse appears in the mist and things go bump in the night when the lights go out at the historic, possibly haunted lighthouse. I especially enjoyed the scene where the townsfolk gathered outside the library at night for a special reading of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”–my favorite Halloween tale for a dark and spooky night! 

What irked me: Lucy the librarian is great, but she really needs to stop being so wishy washy about her love life. Connor is a catch, but if the chemistry isn’t there, throw the man back out into the dating pool, woman! 

Also, I have to say that Theodore is downright creepy. I get that he’s Ichabod and Julia is his lady Katrina, but dang boy, back off! Seriously, he was the creepiest part of the story. 

The mystery: As usual, this was another solid installment of the Lighthouse Library Mystery series. The murder victim made a lot of enemies among the town’s business community, so there’s a lot of suspects to sort through. I enjoyed tagging along with Lucy and her kitty sidekick Charles (not so much Theodore), as they followed the clues and ferreted out the killer whilst enjoying the haunted happenings around town during All Hallows Eve. Such fun! 

Summed up: I highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys literary-themed cozies. Fans of Jen McKinlay and Lorna Barrett are sure to enjoy this cozy Halloweenie read

Lil Bootz’s Halloween Treat: Murder in the Bayou Boneyard

Next up in our Halloween countdown extravaganza is this fun little cozy mystery that we received for free (in exchange for a brutally honest review)  from NetGalley! Since this is light on scares, Lil Bootz recommends this to all the fraidy cats who love a good, cozy whodunnit.


 

image of book Murder in the Bayou Boneyard One look at this cover and I couldn’t hit the “request” button fast enough! How could I resist this adorable vampire basset hound lurking in a spooky graveyard? I always enjoy returning to Maggie’s historic plantation homestead-turned B&B located in the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun country. While reading this, I kept picturing Disney’s Haunted Mansion overlooking an overgrown cemetery shrouded by Spanish moss.

Of course, this cozy mystery is light on scares, so it appeals to even the most squeamish of readers, but the author does a fine job weaving a lot of Halloween hijinks into the storyline. There’s a rougarou lurking in the woods, inexplicable happenings in the attic and–even more frightening–nefarious relatives outstaying their welcome at the Crozat Mansion B&B! Bloodthirsty Cajun monsters ain’t got nothing over Maggie’s Canadian relatives, let me tell ya!

I must warn you, there’s a LOT of characters to sort through in this mystery, so it’s quite a challenge keeping them all straight, let alone sorting out the suspects. Since I’ve read all the other books in this series, it wasn’t so hard, but I did find myself flipping back to the list of characters. I love it when they include these little glossaries in cozy mysteries because the struggle is real, yo!

As for the characters, Maggie and her Crozat family are as charming as ever. It’s cute that she and her granny are planning their weddings together. The only thing I couldn’t figure out was why the granny’s fiancé never entered the picture. Where was he? Hell, I can’t even remember who she’s marrying, to be honest. Guess I’ll need to look in the previous book to catch myself up to speed. I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of the “spunky grandma” trope in these books. I find them annoying rather than cute, and Maggie’s grandma is walking a fine line…but she does have her moments.

While I’m being nitpicky, I had to roll my eyes at Maggie when she shouted at a suspected killer –who, at the time was brandishing a potential weapon– “Stop in the name of the law!” I know this was supposed to be chuckle-worthy, but it just made me groan.

Gripes aside, this is a quality mystery series filled with Cajun lore, Southern cooking and heartwarming moments. I must warn you: Do not read this on an empty stomach! You’ll get some mad cravings for shrimp gumbo, crawfish etouffee and sugary cakes!

CeeCee’s Short and Shivery Halloween Treats: Clown in a Cornfield

image of clown in a cornfield

Trick-or-treating may be canceled this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t scare ourselves silly with ghosts, ghoulies and blood-thirsty clowns! Here’s a short and shivery review of Clown in a Cornfield–a new book that’s been getting a lot of buzz from B-movie horror lovers such as myself! If you’re a fan of Pennywise, you’re sure to love this new title. Time to float!


image of Clown in a Cornfield BookWell, well, well, I must say this book took me by surprise! What I thought was going to be a run-of-the-mill YA thriller (low on scares and high on teen melodrama) turned out to be a solid slasher movie-themed thrillride with oodles of blood and guts. It was like reading one of those forbidden B-horror flicks that I’d watch at slumber parties with my giggling friends. Ah such sweet memories of rebellious tweenage bliss.

Amidst the cat-and-mouse chase with killer clowns lurking in the corn fields and dilapidated barns, the author managed to weave some timely themes into the story–themes of small town, small-minded hate and bigotry. The author even spelled it out for us in the townies’ “Make Kettle Springs Great Again” ballcaps. You see where I’m going with this, yes?

So hats off (pun intended!) to the author for weaving some social commentary into this modern-day slasher. You won’t find any big-boobied “bimbos” getting chased through the woods by chainsaw-wielding fiends in this book. Nope, in fact, the female leads are the town’s only hope for survival. There’s even a surprising twist to the love triangle that I didn’t see coming.

The only reason why I knocked off one star is because a big chunk of the book is an action-packed cat-and-mouse chase that demanded a lot of my attention span. I’m probably in the minority here because most reviewers loved the second half of the book, but I’m just not a big fan of chapters and chapters and chapters of action-packed scenes with car chases and exploding buildings. It’s just not my cup of tea.

But, like I said, most people love that stuff, so don’t let my minor misgivings throw you. This book is definitely worth checking out, especially during the spooky month of October!

Lil Bootz’s Meowder Mondays: A Murder She Wrote Reading Roundup!

Hello and happy Monday! Lil Bootz is here to take the sting out of this detestable day of the week by bringing you stories of murder, mayhem and spooky castles! So take a break from the monotonous emails and enjoy purrusing these cozy mysteries starring none other than our favorite busybody, JB Fletcher!


Death of a Blue Blood

Move over, Downton Abbey! Castorbrooke Castle has more nefarious blue bloods and manipulative housemaids than you can shake a stick at! JB Fletcher and her sort-of boyfriend George Sutherland got more than they bargained for when they arrived at the castle for a posh New Year’s Eve ball. Before the champagne is even popped, she’s already stumbling upon her second dead body. I mean, at some point, she should quit acting surprised when this happens. Without fail, someone croaks when she makes an appearance at a party. I love you, JB, but if I see you entering the room, I’m out. Either way, her festive vacation soon turns into a game of Clue and it’s up to JB and George to solve this thing because the local law enforcement is as worthless as a dead slug.

If you love a good old fashioned whodunit, you’ll enjoy this mystery. There’s even a dead body in the conservatory! There’s a good chance you’ll guess the killer early on, but who cares? It’s all about traveling to far and distant lands (with high murder rates) alongside the ever delightful and fashionable JB Fletcher.

Blood on the Vine

In this wine-infused mystery, I get to travel to Napa Valley! I’ve always wanted to go there but never got around to it…maybe because my husband’s more of a beer guy. Either way, I was able to experience the sites through JB’s eyes as she explored the tranquil vineyards, tasted delicious wine at lovely candlelit restaurants and traversed the touristy village with her Scotland Yard detective buddy George Southerland. If you’re expecting their romance to heat up amidst all the wining and dining, don’t hold your breath. Let’s face it, poor George is and will forever be friend-zoned. JB needs to stop stringing the poor ol’ chap along. There are plenty of single grannies out there who would snatch him up in a heartbeat.  Aside from that minor grievance, I absolutely loved every bit of this book. Similar to her adventures in Castorbrooke Castle, JB is surrounded by a bunch of greedy vultures who all have ample motives for killing off the infamous Bill Laddington. He made a lot of money-—and enemies—during his stint in Hollywood as a big-time movie mogul. And, wouldn’t you know, just hours after JB Fletcher joins him for dinner at his winery/castle, he’s floating dead in his moat! Local law enforcement, again, ain’t worth a hill of beans, so she and George must solve the case…while enjoying a taste of the grape here and there. This was a fun puzzle to piece together, and I must admit that the big unveiling was a surprise this time! This book ranks right up there at the top 10 Murder She Wrote installments, definitely worth a read!

CeeCee’s Book of the Month: The Whispers by Greg Howad

It’s been a long time since I’ve said this, but this book is close to perfect. This right here is why young adult–even middle grade–books can be more illuminating than your typical mainstream adult novels. This is some powerful stuff—especially for those of us who went through adolescence feeling alone and unwanted. Even if you don’t have any childhood battle scars, this book will bring back some nostalgia from those long summer days chasing fireflies and camping out in the backyard. As for young readers, I hope this story will draw some empathy for the “weird kids” who often sit alone on the school bus.

Little 12-year-old Riley is one of those kids who always gets picked on for being just a little different. I really felt for the poor guy as he desperately tracked down the magical illuminated “Whispers” floating around in the woods—hoping they would lead him to his missing mother, the only person on earth who loved and accepted him and all of his “conditions.” But of course, he wasn’t totally alone because his faithful best friend Tucker stayed right by his side throughout his journey, as dogs do.

While reading this book, I got to thinking about my own four-legged BFF CeeCee Honeycutt, and how she has always, without fail, been my rock. I could totally relate to Riley when he would reach for his dog during tense moments. I mean, this kid is going through a lot—the mystery of his missing mom, bullying, an emotionally-detached dad, homophobic bible-beating townsfolk and even unrequited love! Oh to be a preteen again…no thanks.

Admittedly, I saw what was coming, so I had to put the book aside for a few days. The last few chapters tore me up, but I needed a good cry because as Riley says, sometimes you just need to cry out your entire soul. Again, this is some heavy stuff, but there are some comforting themes that can really stick with you, like the power of unconditional love, self-acceptance and healing.

At that, I’ll leave you with my favorite passage from this book. It’s clear this author truly loves and understands these magnificent creatures we call dogs. And that’s why CeeCee chose this as her book of the month!

P.S. Kudos to the author for helping to bring LGBTQ into the mainstream! This is a brave, yet risky move in a society that still seems to be living in the dark ages, so I applaud him for it.

Christmas in July Reading Roundup

Ho ho ho! Merry July, everyone! It’s that special time of year to crank up that A/C and snuggle under the blankies with a good read and a spiked hot toddy. So in the spirit of the season, Lil Bootz and CeeCee picked out a few heartwarming cozy mysteries filled with good tidings, playful kittens and dead bodies galore! A big thanks to all the publishers that granted us free advance reader copies via Netgalley.


Mistletoe Moussaka and Murder by Tina Kashian

image of Mistletoe Moussaka and Murder One look at this cover and I couldn’t ask the author for an ARC fast enough! What can I say? I’m a sucker for adorable kitties and sandy beaches! This is my first foray into the Kebob Kitchen mystery series, and it won’t be my last. Admittedly, I’m not a big hummus girl, but I did love the family-run restaurant setting nestled in the quaint little Ocean Crest village. There’s a hodgepodge of gossipy townsfolk, a mischievous little cat, touristy storefronts and lots of Christmassy activities. It’s anyone’s guess who drowned the mean-spirited caterer during the Polar Bear Plunge (BRRRRR!), and it’s up to Lucy and BFF to put the right person behind bars! Solving the murder was fun, butt I most enjoyed the festivities –from the holiday homes trolley tour to the town Christmas tree lighting. Living in Texas, I’m unfamiliar with the sights and sounds of the Jersey Shore, but it sure sounds like a fun place to visit during the holiday season

A Merry Murder by Kate Kingsbury

image of the pennyfoot hotelOh how I love spending Christmas at the Pennyfoot Hotel! Every book is the same, but yet it’s still such a delight to spend the holidays at the stately, snow-covered mansion with a murderer afoot! That’s right, this grand hotel is a popular destination for holiday revelers, Christmas carolers and fiendish killers! As per usual, the upstairs/downstairs cast of characters are preparing for the all the annual things, including the dreaded Christmas concert that inevitably results in disaster and tears. As expected the “Christmas Curse” rears its ugly head when the head housemaid finds a random dead guy in the basement with a scarf wrapped around his neck. It’s up to Cecily the woman-of-the house to do all the detective work to put the right person behind bars….again. Seriously, the investigators in theses books are just as worthless as Cecily’s husband. If you’re new to this series, you’re in for a treat, especially if you’re a fan of Downton Abbey. For me, this was more of the same, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Overall, a quality Chrsitmassy read for cozy mystery fans!

Six Cats a Slayin’ by Miranda James

I really wanted to like this book, especially since the main character is a big-time cat lover/rescuer, but sadly I could not connect with Charlie or any other character in this story. Even Diesel the cat seemed strange and serious to me. Charlie is nice enough and he’s clearly a very devoted family man, but he needs to lighten up and crack a few jokes. On the bright side, the mystery proved to be a real puzzler, and i did not see that big reveal coming! Also, Charlie nurses a whole box of kittens back to good health, so that’s a plus. He had quite the busy holiday season with a litter of hungry kittens, a family mental health crisis, and never-ending holiday chores. On top of all that, he has to single-handedly solve the murder of his overly flirtatious next-door neighbor. Boy, the holidays sure can be rough. Overall, this might be worth a read for the older folks who enjoy slow-moving mysteries with senior citizen sleuths. This series just isn’t for me.

Apple Cider Slaying by Julie Ann Lindsey

image of apple cider slaying Nothing says Christmas-in-July like a steaming cuppa spiced (in my case, spiked) apple cider! On second thought, let’s just make that a cold hard cider longneck since the heat index is pushing triple digits in this blast furnace we call Texas. That’s why I chose this time of year to transport myself to Blossom Valley, a snowy little hamlet of West Virginia filled with rolling hills of apple orchards, moo cows and rustic ol’ barns. Amidst this tranquil Christmassy backdrop, a murderer lurks—and he (or she?) seems to be targeting Winnie’s struggling apple orchard business. It all begins with a dead body in her apple press, which proved to be most embarrassing while she was giving the local banker a tour of the place in hopes of getting a loan to save the family farm! The plot thickens when her brain-dead granny (sorry, but it’s true), becomes the number one suspect. OK, I have to pause for a moment and admit that her granny needed that jailtime to reflect on her own stupidity for railroading herself with her own naivety. Just because she’s a geriatric, that doesn’t mean she has to have the IQ of an insubordinate toddler. Just sayin! Aside from that minor snafu, the mystery proved to be an entertaining, Christmassy read. If you love formulaic cozies with hunky, mysterious sheriff’s and hapless sleuths, this is for you. Plus there’s two adorable, mischievous kitties involved!

CeeCee’s Pick of the Month: Finding Gobi by Dion Leonard

image of Finding Gobi book coverDog lovers, I know what you’re thinking, so I’m going to assure you that little Gobi is still alive and well with his family in Scotland. Now that we’ve got that settled, let me just say this book gave me everything I needed out of a dog/running memoir and more! This is such an incredible journey that show us all that instalove is a true phenomenon among dogs…humans, eh the verdict’s still out.

The moment the homeless little desert dog laid eyes on HIS HUMAN, he just knew he found his soul mate, his destiny. I truly believe this because my CeeCeee was attached to my side the moment I scooped her up off the street. It’s like they can see far into the future and just know they are home. Out of all the super-human ultra runners camping out in the desert, Gobi only fixated one Dion, well technically he was more obsessed with the yellow gators wrapped around Dion’s shoes. Like a cat with a mouse, he chased after those gators for miles upon miles upon miles. Astonishingly, those tiny legs kept up the pace with a trained elite athlete as they traversed the scorching desert’s rugged peaks and valleys. Just incredible, I tell you! I do a bit of running (half marathons), but there’s no way I could even fathom a full marathon, let alone hundreds of miles in extreme temps. These two unlikely teammates were a powerful force!

At first, I couldn’t make up my mind about our narrator, Dion Leonard, especially when he was growing annoyed of Gobi diving after his feet. But when he found the little guy in distress at a water crossing, he sacrificed his time to run back over to scoop him up and stick by him to the finish line. From then on, Dion surrendered himself to the fact that the scruffy little bearded dog was all his. Also, from a human standpoint, Dion won over my heart when he stopped to rescue a fellow runner—also his biggest rival—who collapsed and nearly died of extreme dehydration. Pretty scary stuff, especially when he described the guy’s grayish pallor and black-tinted urine. Yeesh. Dion is, in my opinion, a good human, and I’m willing to bet Gobi sensed that the moment they crossed paths. Dogs have that way about them.

When the grueling multi-stage race came to an end, Dion’s biggest challenge had yet to begin. He had to find a way to transport the little guy all the way from a dog-unfriendly communist country to Scotland. Y’all! I know there’s a lot of red tape involved in moving a pet across a continent, but the struggles Dion faced were beyond comprehension! There’s months of quarantine at the kennel, airline protocol bullshit, and insurmountable fees upon fees upon fees. To make matters worse, while Dion was sorting his affairs in Scotland, the woman he entrusted to keep Gobi safe managed to lose him! I won’t say anything more on that matter, but I will say that I’m still highly suspicious of that nasty bit of business.

This truly is a fascinating book about the mutual unconditional love between a dog and its human. Together—and with the help from legions of crowd-funding donors and a team of local heroes—they made the impossible possible. Gobi is certainly a miraculous dog with such a big heart. I couldn’t even imagine the pain Dion endured when he learned his best friend was missing in probably the worst possible city for stray dogs. I can imagine the pain would be on par with what runners call “The Wall,” that point in race when you just can’t want to crawl into a hole and die.  I’m just so glad he pushed through and reunited with his miraculous little dog.

“They say it takes a village to raise a child. I think it takes almost half a planet to rescue a dog.”- Dion Leonard

If you’re looking for a heart-warming dog book that doesn’t end in tragedy, you have arrived. I may have to pick up the children’s version of this book to read to CeeCee. Also it looks like Gobi’s kitty sibling has a book out as well—what an accomplished literary fur-family!