Friday, January 30, 2015

3 Books That Benefit Shelter Animals

It's pretty obvious that here at Mochas, Mysteries and Meows life revolves around cats and books. What excites us more than anything is when portions of a book's proceeds go towards helping shelter animals, and today we're profiling 3 new books that do exactly that!


Rescued: The Stories of 12 Cats, Through Their Eyes is a project that we've been following for quite awhile now. When the call came out for submissions, I briefly entertained the idea of writing Tara's story, but ended up being a bit intimidated by the amazing writers in the cat community and decided I just wasn't ready yet.

This book of real life rescue cat stories was compiled by Janiss Garza, who writes the Sparkle Cat blog, now featuring the lovely Summer Samba. The special thing about this project is that each author featured in the book has nominated a cat rescue. Each author has been assigned a month to promote the book, with a third of the profits from that month going to the rescue.  (You can read more about the cats and their causes here and here.)

A Pubslush crowdfunding campaign was created to help fund the initial expenses in order to make sure the rescues receive the maximum benefit. Any little bit helps, and you can also receive some really cool rewards by supporting the project. We were very happy to join the funding ourselves, and also look forward to featuring many of these kitties and their amazing stories here on our blog!


In “Sammy Sparrow’s First Flight,” (Guardian Angel Publishing; Dec. 25, 2014; ages 2-8, $9.95) a young sparrow named Sammy quickly learns why parents set rules. He was told not to fly alone at night. His wings are weak and Sammy falls into a bush below. The world looks scary from the ground. A friendly owl flies Sammy back home to sleep under his parents’ wings. It's the 3rd children's book of author Tracy Aherns, and was inspired by her childhood years of rescuing baby sparrows that fell out of a neighbor's multi-room birdhouse high on a pole.

In conjunction with the release of the book, Tracy has created the "Sammy Shelter Project" to help nine Illinois humane organizations with the book sales. By ordering through the project website, $2 from each book purchase will be donated to the organization chosen and noted on the form. To donate to a participating rescue organization, you must use the form available for download from the Sammy Shelter Project website.

Current humane organizations set to benefit from this project are: It's a Pittie Rescue (Peotone, Il.), New Beginnings for Cats (Bourbonnais, Il.), River Valley Animal Rescue (Momence, Il.), Cache Creek Animal Rescue (Anna and Joliet, Il.), Grassroots Animal Rescue (Medinah, Il.), Illinois Horse Rescue of Will County (Beecher, Il.), Iroquois County Animal Rescue (Iroquois, Il.), Kankakee County Humane Foundation (St. Anne, Il.) and Because Animals Really Kount (Kankakee, Il.).

New Beginnings for Cats is a no-kill cageless shelter started by a husband and wife who put all of their money into the facility. Tracy adopted her beautiful cat Forest, on the right, from them when he was 4 months old.

You can also find information about the project on Facebook under Sammy Shelter Project.


The Silas Series: The Adventures of Silas and Opal is a Vermont project from start to finish. The writer, illustrator, graphic designer, editor, web designer, and printer reside in Vermont, my home state.

Author Grannie Snow has written two books that reflect her love for her pets. "Big Ole Striped Silas" takes the reader through the sadness of losing a beloved pet to the joys and comfort of bringing home a new housemate from the shelter. In "Silas Gets a Sister," the search is on for the perfect friend for Silas. "Silas and Opal Meet" should be out in April 2015.

A dollar from each book sold will go to Homeward Bound Animal Welfare Center in Middlebury, Vermont. The books can be purchased at http://thesilasseries.com/the-books/ and when you enter the code  HBAC in the “Instructions From Buyer” section you will be helping to feed and care for shelter animals waiting for their forever home. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Truffles Interviews...Rebel the Boxer from Dianne Harman's Kelly's Koffee Shop (w/Review & Giveaway)


Hey everybody, it's Truffles! I'm a little bit confused because Mommy told me that I would be interviewing a boxer today. I'm not sure how that's going to work because I don't know a thing about boxing (and I'm pretty sure that she doesn't either!)

What's that, Mommy? Oh, it's a boxer *dog* that I'm interviewing! Okay, I can handle that :)

I hope you enjoy my interview with Rebel, the canine star of  Dianne Harman's Cedar Bay cozy mystery series.




Welcome, Rebel! Thank you so much for answering a few questions for us today. 

Truffles I really appreciate you taking the time to interview me. 

Could you tell us a little about yourself and how you came to live with Kelly?

I’m a boxer, pretty big, over 90 pounds. My owner was a drug enforcement officer, but he was killed while he was on duty. I got the guy that killed him, but my owner didn’t make it. His family was so sad about his death they decided to move away and one of my new owners’ customers at the coffee shop she owns, Kelly’s Koffee Shop, mentioned that the family was trying to find a home for me. Kelly took me in and I’m forever grateful considering what the alternatives could have been.

What's a typical day like for you?

We get up pretty early because she has to be at the coffee shop by 6:00 a.m. to open up and let Charlie, Amber, and Roxie in. I pretty much spend the day next to the cash register watching Kelly to make sure nothing happens to her. You know, I am a guard dog. After she closes up for the day about 3:00 we do all kinds of things. Lately she’s been getting involved in her boyfriend’s cases, like Amber’s murder, so we go lots of places. I always go along to protect her. I don’t think she’s very good at protecting herself and she definitely needs me.

Since Kelly owns a coffee shop, do you get to sample all sorts of yummy treats? Any favorites?

I get to sample a lot of the things, but her boyfriend, the county sheriff, has started keeping treats in his pocket for me. I like that a lot more than the stuff Kelly and Charlie make for the coffee shop customers. Kelly’s always worried that someone will tell the authorities that I sleep next to the cash register in the coffee shop and she’s not sure that’s allowed, so she keeps a yellow blanket behind the cash register with the words “Guide Dog” on it in case that happens. 

What is life like in Cedar Bay, Oregon?

Cedar Bay’s a sleepy little town on the Oregon coast and Kelly’s Koffee Shop is on the pier. When it’s sunny out, it’s really pretty, but it rains a lot. The people are nice and everyone pretty much knows everyone else. I know most of the people who come to the coffee shop. Some of them even take me for a walk if they’re waiting for a table. It’s pretty rare when any crime happens in Cedar Bay. About the only thing that’s ever happened until Amber was murdered, was people stealing pies off of window ledges. You can see what I mean, before Amber’s death, not much happened there.

What kind of trouble do you and Kelly get into in Kelly's Koffee Shop?

Kelly and I’ve been getting into a lot of trouble lately. For some reason, she thinks Sheriff Mike really needs her help. I hope I can keep her safe, but when you’re dealing with a murderer, you just never know.

Do you assist Kelly in any way in solving the mystery?

I sure do. I’m the one responsible for Mike and Kelly not getting killed. Goes back to all that training I had for drug sniffing and being a guard dog. Once you learn that stuff, you never forget it!

How do you feel about kitties?

I like them, but since Kelly doesn’t have one, I’m not around them very much, but I like you Truffles. I think we could be friends.

Can you tell us anything about your upcoming adventures?

Seems like Kelly keeps discovering bodies. In Murder at Jade Cove, she finds Jeff. Believe me, that guy will never be declared “Man of the Year” by the people in Cedar Bay. And then in White Cloud Retreat, she discovers Scott’s body, the head of the White Cloud Retreat Center who everybody loved. I don’t know what’s happening in our once sleepy little town, but I can tell you that in Murder at Jade Cove, Kelly brings home a little sister for me. Her name is Lady and she’s a yellow Labrador puppy. She’s pretty cool. I’ve started traveling with Sheriff Mike. He needs me to protect him and Lady’s getting pretty good at helping Kelly.

Truffles, I’ve really liked talking to you, but Mike just opened a new box of treats and I sure don’t want to miss out on them. Nice meeting you and hope to see you again!

About This Author: Dianne lives in Huntington Beach, California with her husband Tom, a former California State Senator, and is a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post.

Author Links
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/110409099727295696245/posts

Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/AuthorDianneHarman

Contributor: Huffington Post

Amazon: http://ow.ly/s6pN5

Smashwords: http://ow.ly/u4Fb2

Web Site http://www.DianneHarman.com

Blog: http://dianneharman.com/blog/

Twitter: @DianneDHarman

Purchase Link Amazon

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Blurb: Kelly pulled into the harbor parking lot next to the pier and noticed that Amber’s car wasn’t in its usual place and there was no sign of her. She was usually standing at the door of Kelly’s Koffee Shop, waiting for Kelly to open up. Wonder what that’s all about, she thought.

The local residents of Cedar Bay come to Kelly’s Koffee Shop for breakfast, lunch, and lots of gossip. Kelly serves it all up as she works to solve the murder of the high school Homecoming Queen. The townspeople can’t believe what has happened in their sleepy little Oregon seaside town. She identifies five prime suspects, but which one did it?

Follow Kelly, her boxer dog, Rebel, and her boyfriend, Mike, the county sheriff, as they try to determine who the killer is in a murder that’s shocked the town.

Tortie Shorties
Book reviews that are short and sweet...just like Truffles!

Set on the picturesque Oregon coast, Kelly's Koffee Shop introduces readers to the quirky residents of Cedar Bay. Kelly's little cafe, a town hotspot when it comes to gossip, is short one waitress when Homecoming Queen Amber goes missing and is later found dead. Kelly takes it upon herself to solve the mystery along with help from her boyfriend (the sheriff) and her beloved boxer Rebel, a former drug sniffing dog. She ends up discovering shocking information about Amber and other townsfolk that prove even the coziest locales are not immune from the seedier side of life. Five possible suspects are identified, but the real culprit ends up catching Kelly completely off-guard. Some might call the resolution "cheating" in a mystery, but I found it to be believable.

If you're looking for a quick and easy book to while away a few hours with, I would recommend Kelly's Koffee Shop. It won't tax your brain but it will introduce you to a cast of characters you would enjoy sharing a pot of coffee with.

Giveaway: Leave a comment by noon eastern on Wednesday, February 4th for your chance to win an e-book copy of Kelly's Koffee Shop. Open internationally!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Question for Our #BlogPaws Friends

Do you ever wonder who is *really* filling out the campaign applications???

An email just came in with a Blogger Opportunity from BlogPaws.
It's okay, Mommy. I'll take care of it.
(*grumbles* I have to do everything around here anyways.)


Maybe I'll save myself some time and just submit this picture of me looking adorable. What brand wouldn't want a precious little tortie working for them?


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Tail of Two Treats

It was the best of treats, it was the worst of treats...


Hey everybody, it's Truffles! This month when I got my Blogger Outreach email from Chewy.com Mommy practically squealed with excitement to see that they were offering samples of The Honest Kitchen products. She's been wanting me to try these for awhile now, but her excitement went down a notch when she saw that the cat treats are only available in fish flavors. She knows I'm not a huge fish fan (and fish isn't always that fond of me, if you catch my drift.) Still, we figured we would try out the haddock because that is a pretty light and simple fish that should go easy on my delicate little tummy.

Smittens™ fish cat treats are made from pure, wild, line-caught Haddock from the pristine waters off the coast of Iceland. They’re high-protein, low-fat and low-carb with just 1.1 calorie per treat. They are small, crunchy, and very aromatic. There was just one problem. I wouldn't touch them. They are the purr-fect little cat treat for fish lovers, but they were just too "fishy" for me.

So, as I've been known to do, I sought out the opinion of our neighbor kitty Pumpkin who likes to stop by my house each day for a treat. He's crazy about fish, and he was crazy about Smittens.


So I'm going to let Pumpkin enjoy my Smittens while I wait for The Honest Kitchen to make me some chicken or turkey treats.

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Another Chewy selection for this month was Pro Plan Savory Bites with Real Chicken Cat Treats, which we didn't choose because we already had a package here at home that we hadn't opened yet. (They also come in tuna and salmon for you fish-a-holics.)


Now this is more like it! These treats made me *extremely* happy...practically a party in my mouth! I ate 3 small piles of them before Mommy told me to slow down before they came right back up again. (Party pooper.)

Kitties. if you have an order in to Chewy make sure you add these to your shopping cart! They are currently HALF PRICE...only $1.85 for a bag of pure yumminess!!!

So there you have it...two different treats from Chewy.com made two kitties very, very happy. (Sorry Pumpkin, you won't be getting any of my Savory Bites...) We recommend Chewy for all of your pet's needs...they have something special for every kitty's palate.

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

Monday, January 26, 2015

Book Review & Giveaway: Romeow & Juliet by Kathi Daley


Blurb: Romeow and Juliet is the first in a cozy mystery series set on Madrona Island, a fictional island within the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington State. As a fourth generation islander Caitlin Hart is struggling to make her way as the economy and culture of the island evolves toward a tourism based industry. Cait lives in a cabin on her aunt's oceanfront estate where she helps her aunt run Harthaven Cat Sanctuary. When she isn't working with the cats, she helps best friend Tara, operate the coffee bar/bookstore/cat lounge they own, named Coffee Cat Books.

In the first installment to the series Cait and her dog Max find the body of a member of the island council dead in the back room of the old fish cannery. As Cait delves into the murder she finds herself with an unlikely sleuthing partner that might just lead to a relationship of a more personal kind.

Meanwhile, Romeo, as stray cat that followed Cait home, is causing all sorts of problems for Cait as, in spite of dire warnings from the neighbor next door, he refuses to stay away from her very expensive show cat, Juliet. Could Romeo really be trying to tell Cait something about the neighbor that she initially refuses to see?

Tortie Shorties
Book reviews that are short and sweet...just like Truffles!

Coffee. Cats. Books. Need I say more? Kathi Daley's new Whales and Tails Mystery series simply could not be more perfect for me. When Kathi first discussed the premise of the series I almost couldn't believe what I was reading...it's like these books were written just for little ol' me!

Cait lives in a cabin on her Aunt Maggie's property and helps her to run a cat sanctuary. She is also making plans to open Coffee Cat Books with her best friend Tara, a place where people can go to socialize, read, and hopefully adopt one of the cats housed there. While visiting the old fish cannery they plan to convert into their shop, Cait and her her dog Max find the body of a member of the island council. An upcoming vote on the fate of a huge new condo project has everyone taking sides, and Cait begins to wonder if it has become a motive for murder. Is it pure coincidence that her Aunt Maggie has taken sick while running for the open seat, and that another council member is being bribed to vacate his seat early? As Cait fights her conflicting feelings for the banker she is relying on to fund Coffee Cat Books, she can't help but wonder if he could be the killer.

Another complication to Cait's life is the arrival of a trouble-making stray named Romeo, who cannot stay away from her neighbor's purebred white Persian, Juliet. The adorable cover of Romeow and Juliet is a scene straight from the book. Will these two star-crossed lovers get their happy ending?

Cait is such a wonderful new character. I really enjoyed her impulsive nature which makes her prone to some pretty hilarious situations. The characters all come off as extremely realistic, and the island setting is just dreamy. As someone whose dream is to run a cat sanctuary this book just took me to such a happy place. Book 2, The Mad Catter, can't come fast enough.

Giveaway: Leave a comment by noon eastern on Friday, January 30th for your chance to win a copy of Romeow and Juliet. US - Choice of Print or Kindle copy; Canada - Kindle copy only.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday Selfies: Tofu...Seriouslies?

Hey everybody, it's Truffles! Things are slowly returning to normal in my little corner of the world. The Christmas decorations are gone. My grandpa was able to go back to work this week, 5 weeks after his stroke. (His birthday is on Thursday...I should probably hack up something special for him. Teehee.)

You'll never believe what Mommy is super excited about. She is obsessed with Mexican food, and tomorrow (Monday the 26th) at Chipotle if you purchase a tofu Sofrita, you can bring your receipt back in February for a free burrito. Tofu means no meat, right? I love her but she sure is weird sometimes.

Mommy and I are working on a fun contest and giveaway next month to coincide with the Daytona 500. (Don't worry...you don't need to know anything about racing to play along.) We'll have more details in a few weeks.

I guess that's all my news for the week. You're waiting for my Sunday Selfie, aren't you? I'm rather proud of this one myself :)


Saturday, January 24, 2015

{52 Snapshots of Life} & Caturday Art: Dream

It's week four of the #PBSG #52Snapshots of Life photo challenge (hosted by The Lazy Pit Bull) and the theme is dream. I  love watching Truffles sleep, and often wonder what she dreams about. (Look at those nails!!!)


For our entry in Athena's Caturday Art blog hop, we applied the Charcoal effect using PhotoCat, and then added the cute "sweet girl" frame because I call her "my sweet girl" all the time.