Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Toon Time with Truffles: My New Wheels

Hey everybody, Truffles at the keyboard! It's a pretty well-established fact that we're NASCAR fanatics at my house, right? Well a couple months ago my new friend Callie at Pawsitively Pets ran a giveaway for an Imperial Cat Cardboard Racer Convertible, and I WON!

We were already huge fans of Imperial Cat products and their fun and stylish lines of Scratch ‘n Pads, Scratch ‘n Shapes, Cat ‘n Around, Snack ‘n Treat, and Neat ‘n Tidy products. They also re-purpose scraps from other Scratch ‘n Shapes products to create Scratch ‘n Bits, extremely affordable scratching pads that are available in three sizes and purr-fect for use in shelter cages, cat rooms or foster homes, for their Adopt-a-Cat Scratcher Donation Program.

These are the purr-fect scratchers for me because I am very much a horizontal scratcher, and Mommy gets a little upset with me when I start "doing my nails" on the living room rug!

Thank you again for the giveaway, Callie! I *love* my new wheels!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Children's Books Focus on Cat Adoption

Hey everybody, it's Truffles! To wrap up Adopt a Cat Month we wanted to tell you about a few new children's books that teach kids the importance of responsible pet ownership. Giveaway copies are available for all of them, too!

In Carmella the Cat readers find out how Carmella, a stranded, orange and white tabby kitten, was rescued and adopted into a loving fur-ever home and what it means to be responsible for another living being. In the second book in the series, Carmella the Cat Goes Fishing, kids learn about being a patient pet owner, as Carmella explores her new environment!

Each book is written by Ann Cerino, illustrated by Kathy Kunsman, and retails for $12.95. A 10% portion of the proceeds goes to local animal rescue organizations in the Lehigh Valley, PA area, which is where Ann is from. Additional books in the series will be launched in 2016 and beyond.

The Carmella the Cat series is based on Ann’s cat, the real Carmella. Carmella was found, along with her littermates, in a flooded drainage ditch, and was the only kitten to survive. She was rushed to “The Cat Doctor,” Dr. Ackerman, who helped save her life by treating her until she was healthy and ready to be adopted. When Carmella was well, Dr. Ackerman introduced the tiny kitten to Ann, who had recently put her cat to sleep, and a loving, fur-ever match was made.

I recently had the opportunity to chat with sweet Carmella and ask her a few questions about her life and book series.

Truffles: Welcome, Carmella! Thank you so much for taking a few moments to chat with me. Could you start by telling us a little about yourself and how you came to live with your human?

Carmella: I was adopted by my Mom when she was at her vet's office. The Cat Doctor saved my life and when Mom saw me , she fell in love with me immediately. I still needed some care then went home with Mom 2 weeks later.

Your name is very beautiful. Does it have any special meaning?

My name in Italian means "garden". The Cat Doctor wanted a name that was flowery. I am also the color of caramel candy.

Please tell us about your sweet children's books and what inspired you to write them.

Mom wrote the books because she wanted to share my story and it's happy ending.

What do you hope kids learn from them?

We want everyone to know it's important for all animals to have a "Forever" home.

Do you have more books planned?

We have four more books to publish.

After such a rough beginning, what's life like for you today?

My life now is the BEST! I am the Queen of the house! I just celebrated my 9th birthday last week!

Connect with Carmella online on her website, Facebook and Twitter!


The Perfect Place For Toodles tells a story of a very young cat that experiences abandonment and great loneliness more than once. He thinks he has found a permanent home with a loving family. Life is good for a time, perhaps too good. After a while the cat is left to spend many long hours in a window waiting and watching for his family to return. While there are still some fun moments with his adopted family, Toodles gets the feeling of being left out. Things really take a turn for the worst when an annoying neighbor visits more often and pays a lot more attention to the cat. When the cat is devastated by some shocking news, he makes a serious move to direct his life in a different direction.

The inspiration for Toodles’ story resulted from author Barbara Pierce’s visit to the Jersey Shore, where she found a large commune of stray cats living under the boardwalk. “My eyes were really opened to the plight of some animals,” Pierce said.

I found the ending to be incredibly sad, but unfortunately it's a very realistic look at what happens to so many family pets when kids "don't have time for them anymore". I guess that is the ultimate lesson...don't get a pet if you aren't in a position to be the best pet parent possible for their entire life.


Giveaway: I have one set of the Carmella books, and 3 copies of Toodles to give away. Leave a comment by noon eastern on Monday, July 6th for your chance to win. Don't forget to leave your email address, and also if you have a book preference! (US entries only, please.)

Monday, June 29, 2015

When a Book Leads to an Adventure

Every time you pick up a book the pages take you on an adventure, but how often does a book take you on a real life adventure? Not very often, and that's why I've asked for Truffles' permission to take over today to tell you a really cool story.

It's well-documented here that my mother and I are HUGE Gone with the Wind fans. (Hence, Tara's name. And don't even get us going on the nonsensical New York Post editorial calling for it to be shelved.) The love of my mother's life is Clark Gable. (It's okay, my father already knows.)

On Mother's Day I gave her a copy of the new book Fireball: Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 3.

From the publisher: This fresh look at Hollywood's "Queen of Screwball," Carole Lombard, presents a first-ever examination of the events that led to the shocking flight mishap that took her life on the side of a Nevada mountain in 1942. It also provides a day-by-day account of the struggles of Lombard's husband, Clark Gable, and other family, friends, and fans to cope with the tragedy. In effect, having just completed the first sale of war bonds and stamps in the nation following its entry into World War II, Lombard became the first Hollywood start to sacrifice her life in the War. The War Department offered Gable a funeral service with full military honors, but he refused it, knowing that his wife would not approve of such spectacle. Based on extensive research rather than gossip, this investigation further explores the lives of the 21 others on the plane, including 15 members of the U.S. Army Air Corps, and addresses one of the most enduring mysteries of World War II. On a clear night full of stars, with TWA's most experienced pilot at the controls of a 10-month-old aircraft under the power of two fully functioning engines, why did the flight crash into that Nevada mountainside? This gripping page-turner presents the story of the people on the plane, the friends and families left behind, and the heroic first responders who struggled up a mountain hoping to perform a miracle rescue. It is a story of accomplishment, bravery, sacrifice, and loss.

She started reading it immediately and kept telling me how much she was enjoying it. One fact that really stood out is that the co-pilot of the doomed flight, Morgan A. Gillette, hailed from right here in Burlington, Vermont. The book revealed that he was buried here, too. In passing I mentioned to her how cool it would be if he were buried in the historical Lakeview Cemetery where both of Mom's parents are buried.

A quick Google search on revealed that shockingly, that is exactly where he was buried.

So on Father's Day afternoon we visited the cemetery to pay our respects to my grandfather (who passed away before I was born), and to attempt to find the pilot's grave.

It almost felt like looking for a needle in a haystack, but by keeping our eyes peeled for the distinctive mausoleum in the background, we found it in under a half hour.

I find old cemeteries incredibly fascinating, and particularly love this one, so this was a pretty amazing experience. After so many years of loving Gone with the Wind and Clark Gable, to help my mother find a local tie is something I won't soon forget.

And not to get too graphic or anything, but the book goes into great detail about how in 1942 there was no DNA to identify bodies. The plane crashed into a mountain and there were body parts everywhere, so search teams "pieced people together" as well as they could. It's horrific to think about, but there's always the slightest possibility that a little part of Carole Lombard might be buried here in Burlington.

What an adventure.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

KittyKind Adoption at Strand Book Store

We're joining the Sunday Selfies blog hop!

Hey everybody, Truffles reporting! Since it's pretty obvious that our favorite things in life around here are books and cats, we wanted to tell you about a really cool upcoming event that merges the two.

Before she started blogging and receiving so many free books to review, one of Mommy's favorite places to order books was Strand Book Store in NYC. They have all kinds of fun gift ideas, rare and collectible books, and brand new hardcovers for half price!

Since we're on the Strand mailing list, the other day we got an email about an adoption event being held there this week in honor of Adopt a Cat Month.

KittyKind Adoption at Strand!

June 29 and 30: 3:00PM – 6:00PM

Adopt a kitty in need of a home right MEOW at Strand's KittyKind Cat-stravaganza! KittyKind, the exclusive cat partner of the famed Meow Parlour on Hester Street, will bring adoptable kittens and cats to our store for the afternoon. Meet with cat experts and adoption counselors on fostering, permanent homes, volunteering, and more! KittyKind will be accepting donations.

Stop on down to Strand's basement level for an un-fur-gettable afternoon... plus, we'll have our adorable kitty totes and merchandise readily available for you to purrr-use.

Hopefully some of our friends in the NYC area will be able to attend!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

National Sunglasses Day

My future's so bright...I gotta wear shades!!!

Hey everybody, it's Truffles! Today is National Sunglasses Day, so for our Caturday Art Mommy took this picture of me lounging in the window and applied the Sunglow effect in PicMonkey, then added my cute red sunglasses from their Overlays options.

Earlier this week Mommy did some more cat sitting for our neighbor T-Two. As a thank you gift, her human gave Mommy this adorable eyeglass case:

She's going to use it to hold her sunglasses. The sun has been out so little lately that they never leave her purse, so this gives them a fun place to live!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Truffles Interviews: Muffins from Footprints in the Frosting by Laura Pauling (w/Review & Giveaway)

Hey everybody, it's Truffles! Today I'm chatting with a really fun pup...Muffins, the canine star of Laura Pauling's Footprints in the Frosting. Following the interview is our review and a chance to win a $15 Amazon gift card. I would suggest using it to buy your kitty something special...but you'll probably use it to buy more books.

Truffles: Welcome, Muffins! Thank you so much for taking a few minutes to chat with me today. Could you start by telling us a little about yourself and how you came to live with Holly?

Muffins: Ruff Ruff!! Hi Truffles! I was a little iffy when I was sent to live with Holly. She didn’t realize it but her parents hired me as a trained watchdog. Oh, not the type that can save your life--but you maybe some day. I’m highly aware of my surroundings. I watch out for Holly, alert her to any trouble, sniff out clues and bad guys. That sort of thing. You’ll learn more why they gave me to Holly in Murder with a Slice of Cheesecake.

Isn't it fun being named after a dessert? But I have to ask...Holly specializes in cheesecake, so how did you get named Muffins?

Muffins? Fun? Not really. Geez. I wanted a strong watchdog kind of name, like Tower of Triple Fudge or Bad *ss Brownie. Though, I’ve grown used to it, because when you’re named after a dessert, the bad guys tend to underestimate you. Well, that and my size. I’m like a secret weapon.

I don’t know why Muffins. Maybe because it’s easier to say than Strawberry cheesecake? Could you imagine--me trotting off down the street only to hear, “Come here, Strawberry Cheesecake. Sit, Strawberry Cheesecake. Yeah, so not cool. 

What is a typical day like for you?

You know, the typical my-owner-is-an-amateur sleuth type of day. Eat, snooze, chase down clues, and create mischief and mayhem so Holly can do her thing. It’s really dog heaven, because most of the time, I’m with her. Not stuck in a house all day like some dogs.

What kinds of mischief do you and Holly get into in Footprints in the Frosting?

I like to call myself the Sherlock Holmes of the doggie world. Intelligent, but furry. I’m the star of high-action chase scenes. Holly might call it disobedience and threaten obedience school, but don’t let her fool you. It was all about me hot on the trail of the bad guys. Pfft. Disobedience.

Just between you and me...are there any paw prints in the frosting too?

Of course. I am a dog, after all. I not only sniff out crime, but delectable desserts.

How do you feel about kitties?

I plead the fifth. How do you feel about doggies? ;)

Anything you can tell us about your upcoming adventures?

Humph. I’m still in kind of a doggie huff. After being the main canine attraction in Footprints in the Frosting and Deadly Independence, I now have to share the limelight with a Great Dane. He’ll be introduced in Frosted on the Ferris Wheel.

From the publisher: Cheesecake, Love, and Murder! It’s the Grand Opening for Holly Hart’s new business, Just Cheesecake. When footprints in the frosting lead to a body facedown in one of her cheesecakes, Holly becomes a prime suspect. With her opening day delayed, Holly deals with a nosy no-good reporter and the local cop, the handsome Officer Trinket, as she puts her sleuthing skills to the test to save her business and her name. With the help of her dog, Muffins, she needs to find the real murderer, before the killer looks to frost someone else.

What a fun debut to the Holly Hart Cozy mystery series. Holly wakes up on the morning of her bakery Just Cheesecake's grand opening filled with nothing but excitement until she realizes her precocious pup Muffins is missing. She finds him in her shop's kitchen with a dead man who is face down in one of her cheesecakes. Who is the mystery man and what was he doing in her bakery??? Her grand opening and new life might be permanently put on hold if she doesn't track down the killer.

This is a very short book but it introduces us to some fun characters, from Officer Trinket to trouble-making reporter Millicent to cat lady Charlene (my favorite) and members of the local mystery book club. The identity of the killer really took me by surprise, and with everything wrapped up I'm looking forward to watching Holly's new business thrive. I'm also hoping to learn more about what Holly seems to be running from and why she's so distrustful of the police.

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Thursday, June 25, 2015 Review: Wellness TruFood CocoChia Bakes

Hey everybody, it's Truffles! Lately Mommy has been reading a lot about the benefits of coconut oil for both people and pets and decided to buy a jar for us. She was delighted to discover that I absolutely LOVE it! The only trouble is, it's so darn messy! She puts it on her fingers or a plate for me to lick off, and it ends up everywhere. She mixes it in with my food and it globs up in the corner.

Then one night a couple months ago we were participating in a BlogPaws chat with Wellness, and we heard about a new treat with coconut oil inside! We were SO excited and could hardly wait for these treats to hit our store shelves.

We waited, and we waited, and we couldn't find them anywhere. Then asked us to review them as part of their Blogger Outreach Program!

Wellness believes in giving pets a colorful palette of the best nutrition possible, so they made TruFood with whole foods from farm, field and sea. TruFood has more of what pets need to be vibrant and happy - that's how love becomes Wellness. When you spoil them with chia seeds and whole-prey protein, your cat gets more than just a tasty treat. These TruFood CocoChia Bakes are packed with coconut oil and probiotics to support skin and coat and digestive health.

Guess what? I didn't like them. At all. I hesitantly sniffed them but wouldn't even give them a lick, much less put one in my mouth! I asked my neighbor kitty Pumpkin to give them a try, and he felt the exact same way. (Mommy did a little research and found less than stellar reviews from other kitties on Amazon and Chewy too, so it wasn't just us left underwhelmed.)

Just when we thought all hope was lost for these treats, Mommy decided to try them on one more kitty...our neighbor T-Two, who she's cat sitting this week. And finally we hit the jackpot. She loved them.

So out of three cats, only one liked these treats. In theory they're a really good idea, but there's just something about them that doesn't appeal to many cats.

Do your cats like coconut oil? 
How do you give it to them without making a mess?

We received one free package of treats in exchange for our fair and honest review as part of the Blogger Outreach Program. All opinions are our own.