Friday, May 22, 2015

Chewy.com Review: Hill's Ideal Balance Crafted Canned Cat Food

Hey everybody, it's Truffles! For the last couple months Mommy and I have been working on a BlogPaws campaign to let our readers know about the new Hill's Ideal Balance Crafted line. Hill's sent us a bag of their kibble which I have been devouring ever since, so when the canned food was one of Chewy.com's offerings for the May's Blogger Outreach Program, I was super excited to have the chance to try that too.

I chose the Savory Chicken Pot Pie with Buckwheat:


From Chewy:

Ideal Balance Crafted canned foods are made in a new form -- shredded natural chicken in mouthwatering gravy. These thoughtfully sourced, authentic ingredients are combined with nutritional expertise and unique slow cooking process so you can give your cat a delicious, perfectly balanced meal. Hill's prepares the food the way you would, one batch at a time, so you can spend more time making memories with your pet. Made in Small Batches.

Key Benefits
* Keeps your cat healthy & active
* Gluten-free source of energy for an active life, and supports healthy digestion
* Helps keep cat’s eyes sharp and maintain healthy vision
* Helps build muscle for healthy play, and provides a great wholesome taste
* Provides a rich taste and builds muscle for your cat to jump & play longer
* Perfectly Balanced Nutrition
* Made in the USA

My thoughts: While I usually love any new kibble that I get to try, I am *extremely* fussy about canned food. Very rarely will I deviate from my favorite *Fancy* brand food. Plus, it has to be pate...I don't do shredded or chunky. I dove into this food quite enthusiastically when Mommy dished it out, but then *gasp* I detected some very small chunks. (Thought I wouldn't find them, huh? Nothing gets by me!!!) I did end up eating the whole can, leaving behind any and all chunks, of course.

I'm going to give the Crafted canned food 3 out of 4 paws up (the Crafted dry food gets 4 paws WAY up!) Thanks to Chewy generously sending me a case of 24 cans, I'm going to keep some and donate some to my friends at the shelter!


We received a case of food for free in exchange for our fair and honest review as part of the Chewy.com Blogger Outreach Program. All opinions are our own.

Memorial Day Box of Books Giveaway


Memorial Day weekend is known as the unofficial beginning of summer, and to celebrate we've put together a huge giveaway to get your summer reading off to a great start.

Here's the box of 10 books we're giving away (not pictured is an ARC of Wendy Sand Eckel's Murder at Barclay Meadow.)


This giveaway only runs through the weekend, so make sure you enter today! (Because of postage costs, US entries only please.)

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Cats Celebrate #RedNose Day Too!

Truffles: Today the inaugural Red Nose Day is being held in the US. Red Nose Day is a campaign dedicated to raising money for children and young people living in poverty by simply having fun and making people laugh. Being the good sport that I am, I decided to participate.


How do I look? Are you red nosing it today?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Tara's 8th Gotcha Day

Tara has been gone for almost 2 years now, but I still think of her every single day. 8 years ago today I brought her home for the first time. We didn't have nearly enough time together, but I will always cherish the time that we did have.

In honor of her 8th Gotcha Day I thought it might be fun to share her PetFinder profile. I actually met her "in the fur" at the PetSmart adoption center before I went home and looked her up on PetFinder, which I'm really glad about because I don't think the posted pictures did her justice at all.



Kelly
Cat
Dilute Tortoiseshell Mix

Size: Large
Age: Adult
Gender: Female

Notes: Kelly is a beautiful short haired cat with a sweet personality. As you can see from her pictures, the coloring on her face is half black and half brown and is divided at the nose. She is a pretty big girl who loves to sleep (even in her litter box if it is clean). Kelly would like a home where she has a big bed to curl up on and a person to give her attention. Kelly sleeps through most anything except when another cat goes by her cage, for this she will even get up and tell the other cat to back off. Because of this Kelly needs to be the only cat in the household.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Truffles Interviews: Biscuit from Linda O. Johnston's Bite the Biscuit (w/Review & Giveaway)


Hey everybody, Truffles at the keyboard! Today I'm interviewing Biscuit, the cute canine star of Linda O. Johnston's brand new book Bite the Biscuit, the first in her Barkery & Biscuits mystery series. Following our little chat is our Tortie Shorties review and your chance to win a copy of the book! Enjoy :)

Welcome, Biscuit! Thank you so much for answering a few questions for us today. Could you start by telling us a little about yourself and how you came to live with Carrie?

I'm what humans call a mixed breed dog, part toy poodle and part terrier, although to me I'm just me. My fur is gold color and fuzzy. I'm considered a rescue since I met Carrie after I was brought into Mountaintop Rescue in Knobcone Heights, California. I don't really want to get into my life before that, but I love Carrie!

Carrie's Barkery (a homemade dog biscuit bakery) must be heaven on earth for a pup like yourself! Do you get to snack on samples all day?

This Barkery stuff is really fun. Carrie doesn't give me samples all day, but I get a lot, sometimes from her assistants. The treats Carrie came up with taste good so, yes, I could eat them all the time. They're her own recipes, you know--nice and healthy stuff, she says, that she develops as she works at her other career as a vet tech.

What is a typical day like for you?

I wake up really early in the morning now with Carrie, since she needs to go to her two shops by around what she calls five o'clock AM so she can bake things to sell in Barkery & Biscuits, for dog stuff, and Icing on the Cake, for people treats. It used to be we didn't have to get up that early when she was only a veterinary technician, and then while she was working I would stay in the doggy daycare facility at her veterinary clinic. I still spend some time there, since she works at the clinic part-time when not at her shops. But despite how early we have to get up and take my first walk of the day I definitely like things now since I get to spend most of my time in the Barkery. Carrie has told me that it's supposedly not sanitary for people for me to go into Icing on the Cake or the kitchens shared by the two shops, but I'm allowed in the Barkery and so are other dogs, so I get visitors a lot during the days. Plus, Carrie takes me on walks from there, sometimes on the town square across the street which smells very interesting, since other dogs walk there, too. Then Carrie closes up the shops early in the evening and we get to go home and have dinner.

What kinds of trouble do you and Carrie get into in Bite the Biscuit?

There are some people in town, Myra and Harris Ethman, who have their own pet shop and give my poor Carrie a hard time for supposedly competing with them. She doesn't really, because her fresh dog treats are a lot different than their packaged dog meals, but they don't want to hear that. They yell at her--and then Myra is found dead with one of our Barkery treats near her. Poor Carrie is accused of killing Myra. I know better, of course, but no one would listen to me even if I could speak English and tell them how good Carrie really is.

Do you help assist Carrie in any way in solving the mystery?

Kind of, but I can't really talk about what I do to help. It might spoil the story.

How do you feel about kitties?

Kitties are okay. I see them mostly at the veterinary clinic now and then but don't get to play with them. And, yes, I do bark sometimes at the ones who live in our neighborhood.

Can you tell us anything about your upcoming adventures?

Carrie tells me there's some kind of mystery involving her brother Neal's new girlfriend whose dog got lost or dognapped or something. I don't know too much about it yet.


From the publisher: Veterinary technician Carrie Kennersly has become known for offering healthy dog treats at the clinic where she works. So when the owner of the local bakery moves away, Carrie jumps at the chance to buy the business and convert half of it into the Barkery, a shop where she can make and sell her canine delights.

But Myra Ethman, co-owner of another pet product store, hates the new competition. At the Barkery's opening party, she badmouths Carrie's homemade dog biscuits, insisting she'll find a way to shut the place down. When Myra is found dead with a Barkery biscuit beside her, Carrie must prove she didn't do it before she's collared for murder.


You can always count on Linda O. Johnston for a great pet cozy, and this first book in the Barkery & Biscuits mystery series is no exception. Protagonist Carrie has purchased the local bakery, Icing on the Cake, from her best friend, and converts the second half of it into a bakery for dogs, a "Barkery". In addition to the dual bake shops she has her plate full also working part-time as a vet tech. At the Barkery's grand opening party, Carrie gets into an argument with Myra, who co-owns a rival pet store with her husband, and then ends up finding herself the prime suspect in a murder when Myra is found strangled with a dog leash and one of Carrie's dog biscuits by her side. Added to that are some strange things going on at Carrie's shops, and soon she begins to think that someone is purposely trying to sabotage her life.

Carrie is a woman after my own heart. She loves animals passionately and is fortunate enough to have two careers that allow her to be around them all day, every day. There is also a great secondary cast of characters from a trio of men competing for Carrie's affections to her pair of employees who don't exactly get along. The killer's identity remained a mystery to me until the very end, and caught me completely off guard.

Two of the most popular themes in cozy mysteries are culinary and pets...this new series is a perfect blend of the two!


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Monday, May 18, 2015

Running a Small Rescue & Writing Mysteries: A Guest Blog by Carolyn Haines (w/Giveaway)

Today we are honored to welcome author Carolyn Haines as our guest blogger. Not only is she an award-winning cozy mystery author, but she also runs a small animal rescue in Semmes, Alabama, Good Fortune Farm Refuge. (Sounds like she just *belongs* here, doesn't she?) 

Running a Small Rescue and Writing Mysteries
by Carolyn Haines

I’ve always been animal crazy. Horse obsessed, dog adoring, and proudly serving the superior feline species. The first word I spoke was horse. Growing up, I spent about two months wanting to be a veterinarian until I realized that science, biology, and math were not my friends. I loved reading and writing and animals.

I’ve always taken in strays, and some twenty-five years ago I bought a small farm in south Alabama. You know how it goes. If you have a five-bedroom house, you fill it up with furniture. Same applies to animals. With acreage around me, I simply took in more and more critters.

Finally, I reached the point where I was spending a great deal of my time caring for these animals. A friend suggested that I actually call my home what it was—an animal rescue. I believe the breaking point came when I bought a pregnant mare and her foal off a truck headed to an auction where many, many horses are sold for meat.

Good Fortune Farm Refuge was created.

Stephanie Ryan, Carolyn Haines, Aleta Boudreaux—board members of Good Fortune Farm Refuge—and Sorrow the rescued beagle

Today, I have five horses (the pregnant Quarter Horse mare delivered a filly, and her name is Piper. Her sister is Flicker, and the mom is Cimarron), my thirty-four-year-old Anglo/Arab Mirage, (and yes that is very old for a horse), and Cogar, my Connemara/Thoroughbred cross. Piper is now eleven years old, and it is my intention that this “family” of horses will be together until they die.

I don’t know how many of you have had the pleasure of living with horses on a day-to-day basis, but it is an extraordinary gift. These animals are so intuitive and smart and playful. They are also a lot of physical work, and I’m very lucky to be able to care for them without help. I was out yesterday snipping the heads off thistles, which are trying to invade my pastures. I try not to use any chemicals or pesticides, so maintaining a good crop of grass is labor intensive.

I also have eight dogs—I had nine until I found a lovely home for a young puppy I found wandering in the middle of a highway. Little Lily is in a lovefest in Georgia, and I was thrilled (and heart broken) to let her go. My aim is to find, rehab, and place dogs and cats in loving homes. This is much harder to do than it sounds in an area where spaying and neutering is often not done. More on this in a minute.

Lily the rescued pup finds a new home with Elizabeth

I also have nine cats of my own—and they rule the roost. All nine were feral cats that I trapped, neutered, and tamed. They are loving, wonderful masters. Though I am inferior in all ways, they give me affection and joy. I help feed and neuter two feral colonies in other areas.

Because of my animal love, I’ve included a cast of characters in my mysteries—Pluto the black cat (who thinks Truffles is be-au-ti-ful!), Sweetie Pie Delaney, a red tick hound (I actually have four hounds and an assortment of other types of larger dogs), and Reveler, Lucifer, and Miss Scrapiron, the three horses at Dahlia House.

My books are set on a plantation in the Mississippi Delta, which is very different from the small farm I have. But my character, Sarah Booth Delaney, shares my love for animals and for solving mysteries. Sarah Booth has one thing I don’t have—a ghost. Jitty is the ghost of a slave from the Civil War era, and she is bossy, sassy, and determined to see that Sarah Booth, the last of the Delaneys, produces an heir to pass Dahlia House to.

I love writing the Sarah Booth stories, and I take great satisfaction in caring for all the animals who live with me. The sad truth is that Southern rescues—across the board—are overwhelmed by the number of unwanted cats and dogs. To that end, my friends helped me write a cookbook, BONE-A-FIED DELICIOUS: Recipes from Zinnia’s Finest Chefs. It’s a huge cookbook filled with Southern dishes and written from the perspective of thirteen of the characters from my mysteries.

We’ve raised over $5000 for a spay/neuter program for low-income families. GFFR was also awarded a $5000 Banfield Charitable Trust Fund Grant to pay for basic vet care for animals in low-income families. There is a lot of need in my region, and spay/neuter is the only solution.

A final request—adopt from a local shelter if you have room for a new family member. There are so many animals who want a loving home. You could be the answer.

Carolyn Haines is the author of the Sarah Booth Delaney mysteries. BONE TO BE WILD, which releases May 19, is the 15th book in the series. She has won the Harper Lee Award for Distinguished Writing and the Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence. She is the founder of Good Fortune Farm Refuge and lives on a small farm in Alabama with more animals than she can count. She urges all pet owners to adopt and neuter. You can learn more about her and the rescue at www.carolynhaines.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter.

***********************

From the publisher: Sarah Booth Delaney is heartbroken: her fiancé Graf Milieu has decided to move to Hollywood permanently, leaving their relationship in shambles. Sarah Booth has a perfect distraction, however, in the form of the Black and Orange Halloween ball her best friends are throwing in New Orleans. Sarah Booth plans to dance the night away to the swinging tunes of her old flame Scott Hampton's blues band. But just as the party gets going, Scott receives a mysterious message that threatens his life and the lives of his bandmates. Sarah Booth knows that a new case is just what she needs to take her mind off her failed relationship with Graf, and she's ready to help Scott investigate. And then the message turns from threat to reality when the bartender from Scott's club is gunned down in a drive-by. Enlisting Sheriff Coleman Peters and the rest of her friends from Zinnia, Mississippi, Sarah Booth is caught in a race against the clock as she tries to stop a killer from striking again.

With a twist around every corner, Sarah Booth's zany adventures will delight readers in Carolyn Haines's latest Southern cozy, Bone to Be Wild.

Giveaway: The 15th volume in Carolyn Haines' best-selling Sarah Booth Delaney mysteries, BONE TO BE WILD will be on store shelves tomorrow, but thanks to Minotaur Books, I have *three* hardcover copes of Bone to Be Wild to give away today! Simply leave a comment (don't forget your email address!) by noon eastern on Friday, May 22nd. US entries only, please.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Lovely Lilac #SundaySelfies

Hey everybody, Truffles at the keyboard! Today for my Sunday Selfie I'm catching some major window whiffies.


Remember how last week I said that Mommy was waiting for the lilacs to bloom in our yard?

They're here!!!