Evil: The Science Behind Humanity’s Dark Side by Julia Shaw

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Without understanding, we risk dehumanizing others, writing off human beings simply because we don’t comprehend them.

That is a loaded sentence and Evil is a strange beast, one we can’t ever contain because it’s slippery. The face of evil changes with time, what is evil today may be the norm tomorrow. One thing this book will do is make you squirm, because when discussing evil we remove ourselves from the equation until someone points out that ignorance is no excuse either. Oh yes, you and me too. Think about consumerism, all those things we just have to have on the backs of the broken. I have such a disgust for child abusers, but the truth is, Shaw raises solid arguments on why dehumanizing anyone actually hurts us all in the end. How can we learn and create a safe environment if we really don’t understand the why of it all? How can we understand the why of anything if we rush to label a person or thing evil? End of story, you’re nothing like me, you’re evil! Nothing else to see here, we’ve decided it’s just evil. I realize that is a huge mistake.

Someone thinks you are evil too, be it for your religious beliefs or lack thereof, maybe even the country you live in, or your sexual preferences. Julia Shaw’s book can start some very interesting conversations and you can bet not everyone is going to agree. This is not for the light reader, the subject is very heavy. You are not meant to feel sorry for people who are attracted to children or animals, to most of us this is beyond vile, repulsive but it doesn’t change that such people exist and struggle with these ‘urges’. Do you see what I mean, this is a tough read! It’s hard to review, because these are subjects we find downright abhorrent and, admittedly, evil. Like a dead rotting thing, we do not want to acknowledge it’s there, bury it, let someone else deal with it. Tell me though, what about people who have evil thoughts but never act on them? Or their forbidden urges? How do we help them, prevent these thoughts from escalating into acts? Can we?  What a slippery slope!

This book will challenge your notions of bad and good, much in the same way age blurs that line. As children, we are reared on stories teaching us morality, many meant to keep us in line or safe, to make sure we become upstanding citizens. As we age, life kicks us, we struggle, we make mistakes because we are human and flawed. We all want to be understood, forgiven our mistakes, and yet if someone’s darkest deed is out in the open, it’s less easy to move on because it’s all we can see, an ever-present stain. Not everything should be forgiven, we have laws for a reason, but we must understand or we gain nothing. In all fairness though, often some criminals do prove that they shouldn’t be trusted and commit the same crimes over and over. What about that?

Regarding our impressions based on looks (someone looks evil, weird, creepy) it is true we are biased. Surely someone who is beautiful, well-kempt, and  eloquent gains the trust of many, and often to our detriment. Our visual perception is deeply flawed, just as much as we trust beauty we are put off by those with unusual deformities, unfairly so. I agree with the idea that people often feel someone must deserve their suffering, we see it every day. This made me wonder… if someone looks ‘creepy’ to everyone they meet, they would certainly be treated suspiciously,  it wouldn’t be so far-fetched to imagine it affects their interactions and sours them socially. Why not, I would certainly be sick and tired of people myself always having an adverse reaction to me based on looks I had no choice in. On the flip side, I thought the same is true for those with stunning looks who do have depth and maybe have a hard time knowing who genuinely likes them as a person, rather than wanting them based on their beauty alone. Between the two though, people often stumble over themselves to help attrractive people. I refuse to touch on mental illness and the disgusting lack of understanding the whole world over, it’s such a mess even in our ‘modern age’. People are downright terrified of mental illness, it’s no wonder with popular culture and films, the mentally ill, if you believe Hollywood, are all serial killers. People are downright uncomfortable the moment they hear whisper of ‘mental illness’, much of that is due to ignorance, poor education as a whole on the subject. See, this book leads to stray thoughts. Back to evil…

Mob mentality is a beast, it certainly seems that cruelty (evil)  is easier for human beings if others are chanting alongside you. We also can be downright disgusting if there is anonymity to hide behind. Is that not evil? I have a hard time reading about the differences in cultures. My beloved uncle was an anthropologist and there were many conversations about the places he traveled, the shocking (to my American sensibilities) social norms he witnessed, many I would and do consider evil and I am adamant in my refusal to change my mind even at the risk of hypocrisy. That’s okay, I am human but I will listen at least, to your side.

Back to looks again, I agree we are biased in our judgements based on looks but I also believe in gut instincts. Personally, when I’ve ignored mine, it was a mistake. I think we have these gut reactions for a reason more often than not. Then again, I have met just as many ‘beautiful people’ that gave me a bad feeling. So there. The fact is, I would be the first to define someone as evil if they victimized my loved ones. It’s a different conversation when you experience it firsthand, I know this book isn’t about the victims, but it’s my personal feeling. I understand what Shaw is saying, and why it’s important but I don’t have to like it.

This is a provocative book. I will say, much as Shaw does, thoughts are one thing acting on them another. I hope we do someday have a way to intervene and help those with ‘unnatural urges’ (please, don’t bombard me with messages about what defines unnatural, we will be here for eternity and I mean murdering people, abuse, molestation, anything that victimizes another). I realize we victimize each other in small ways, but somehow taking someone’s life isn’t as bad as say, snapping at your child. Let’s face it, call it evil or not there are extremes that have to be measured or else society falls apart. We do need to continue studying the nature of evil, because that nature is in us all. Thank God there are others invested in this science, because for me, it would be too hard. I leave it to the experts.

An uneasy read, but I think it will give you a lot to talk about. It was hard for me to review!

Publication Date: February 27, 2019

Abrams Press

 

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Severance: A Novel by Ling Ma

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The key thing, we reminded ourselves, was never to stop, to always keep going, even when the past called us back to a time and place we still leaned toward, still sang of, in quieter moments.

Candace Chen, daughter of  Chinese immigrant parents, wasn’t there at the Beginning when everyone else was stalking Wal-Mart, googling survival, none of that. She was living on routine, one of the last to leave New York, on automatic working in her Manhattan office on a bible for teens. As it all falls apart, she is like a ghost keeping record with photographs of New York on her blog. Solitude is not made for survival. It is a Yellow Cab that becomes her ‘in’ with Bob and the group, but is it her salvation? The End, she assumed, was near and as others fell ill around her with Shen Fever, she waited to become infected herself. It didn’t happen. Surely she wasn’t much different, like a record skipping in place, doing the same thing over and over, that’s the illness. Regretting the choice she made to stay behind, even when her boyfriend encouraged her to leave New York with him, his plan to sail a yacht with his friend. The world is crumbling, it’s interesting that it takes an apocalypse for her to leave, so marred in her routine that not even love could budge her. Her hand is forced by circumstances this time. Why is she immune? None of us are, are we? Trapped in our jobs, noses in our phones, so many days often like a repeat of the one before. Wrapped up in nonsense, so much processed garbage we eat and put in our heads. Well…

The Facility is a place where they can all begin again, if they make it there. Bob has big plans, it’s vital they follow rules! It’s much like immigration, if you think about it. There is this idea of a new world born out of destruction, fear of the unknown, unsure who to trust. Hell is a shopping mall for me though, and it’s clever that she chose that location. You could put a lot of meaning into that, consumerism, a mall could be as self-sustaining, self-contained as she was while working on the teen gem bible. Her boyfriend was sick of that very world, here she is still trapped in it. Too, you can’t ‘opt out’- like she feels about Jonathan when faced with his idealism. It would seem the only way to overhaul the way we all live the whole world around is a pandemic. We are all of us so deep in this mess.

On their journey, they sweep through houses, past dead people for supplies. Memories are poison. How much worse when ‘stalking ones own homes’? It’s strange and eerie how people behave when infected. Candace revisits the past, everything that led her here, so the novel isn’t just another postapocalyptic struggle. Her love for Jonathan and her decision to stay in the life she didn’t even much like is too familiar to many of us. Why don’t we break away? Why do we cling fiercely to repetition, to the devil we know?

Bob is adamant they will do better this time, even if he has to go to great lengths to save people from themselves and keep them as one would prisoners. As if people won’t just ruin it all again. We are creatures of habit, more than we admit. The story Ling Ma shares about the members of the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter-day saints, their exodus, the only choice that remained for them to leave with their old world in ruins isn’t lost on me. Her own parents being immigrants too had to venture into the unknown, to America. Honestly, the novel is more literary fiction to me than sci-fi, I rather liked her flashbacks, the ‘pre-apocalyptic’ memories. The pacing might not work for readers that prefer action. The world stands still, and we are left with the destruction of our own making. Candace has her own second chance that may well have nothing to do with Bob and his visions for a new future but will she have the strength?

You can’t dive too deep into the past, nor can you live a life of meaning floating along the shallows.

Publication Date: August 14, 2018

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

 

A Little Bird Told Me by Marianne Holmes

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Don’t cry, I think, watching as she swallows hard. Crying is for bigger things than this.

Growing up with secrets doesn’t make for any easy life,  it is 1976 and Robin likes to go swimming, trail after her brother Kit, and dodge encounters with the bully Debbie and her ‘gonks’. At home, the atmosphere is heavy with the weeping of women whom her mother often tries to save from themselves, or abusive spouses. Then there is the mysterious cowboy, who like a shadow is hanging around her, offering her little presents that he says really belong to her to begin with. They are magic things, for protection. What does she need protection from, though? Her nights are spent restless with bad dreams, could they be memories?

To settle her fears, her mother always tells Robin her favorite story, about how they made their home here, ‘blown into town on a storm.’ That storm isn’t the baddest they’ll encounter. Her mother is meddling in a marriage, and the townspeople are saying terrible things about her. She is far too young to really know which way is up, angry that her mother is taking Robyn’s pitiful savings to help a grown woman, Sharon Mace and her little boy, Danny. No one is as irate though as Sharon’s husband. There isn’t much the police can do, this is the 70’s, and a wife belongs at home with her man!

What would Robin know of fathers caring enough to hunt down their wife and children, her own doesn’t even have a role in her life, is nothing but a wisp of smoke, not even a memory. Even if it’s in violence, Danny is lucky his dad cares at all. All of her inquiries into who her own might be are met with outlandish stories, ‘he is a Russian spy’, or a ‘great explorer’.  Even his name is fluid, Roger today, Roberto tomorrow. She, her mother and Kit have Mathew though, the only true father they’ve ever known after ‘crashing into his life with the storm’.

Robin keeps the cowboy a secret, until her mother sees the ‘gifts’ and acts funny about it.

Jump to the future, 12 years later Robin and Kit are back in town, their old house a standing reminder of their haunting past. In retracing the steps of their old life, will she uncover the truths her mother could never divulge? The locals aren’t happy about their return, but she can’t run forever. The not knowing is killing Robyn, and she doesn’t want Kit to know the risks she has taken to find out what really happened. Maybe Eve knows something, their mother’s friend? So much has changed in their absence, and so little. Young Robyn is blinded by her naiveté, as all children are, in the early years taking what they are told for fact, no reason to doubt the parent who loves them. Robyn in the 80’s is lost, damaged and depserate for closure. The back and forth between then and now worked for the most part, but Robyn was more solid in her youth to me, more of a ghost of her former self (maybe that’s done on purpose) in the later years.

Where is their mother? Why was she so passionate about helping others, at the risk of her own little family? The one person who may know the truth is the one man they need to stay away from, the one who promised to hunt them down with the ominous threat ‘Family is blood and pain’ swearing he will teach Robyn and Kit his meaning. Does she really want the truth?

My issue is, with all the secrecy of the past, shouldn’t their mother lay low rather than bring attention to herself in such a small town? Ok, nature will out- it’s her way to save others, still one must ask, ‘why at great risk to herself and her children?’ Maybe I would have cared more about Kit and Robyn in their later years if we had a bit more filler about what they were up to after tragedy struck. Luckily I cared about Robyn as a little girl, if not as much when she was grown up because she wasn’t as real to me, so I wanted to keep reading for little Robyn’s sake. The ending was solid, one I didn’t quite predict. I admit it’s hard to be kept in the dark as a reader about some things, so I can see how it could frustrate others.When we meet Robyn in the 80’s the pace slows a bit, and I found myself looking forward to the past more. It takes a bit of a dark turn at the end. With that said, it is a good debut novel, and I look forward to Holmes future stories.

Publication Date: September 13, 2018

Agora Books

Amidst This Fading Light by Rebecca Davis

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Time could do many things; soften the blow of misaligned teeth, erase a dead girl’s name and fade memories that ought to be forgotten.

One family moves into Germantown, the Picketts, treated with suspicion, disrupting the ways of the founding families. Following in the footsteps of his older brother Marlowe, Reggie buys the old weathered Himmel homeplace, but one Mrs. Honora Brow says to her audience, “Well, I’ll be. Didn’t you feel that chill?” The Brows have always held sway over the people of Germantown, known to be gifted in the art of ‘Prediction’. The woman who holds fast to her ‘gut feelings’ and it doesn’t bode well that the Picketts don’t hold her in high esteem, as do the rest of the townsfolk. Mrs. Picket is never wrong, how dare these inferior people doubt her? But no one could imagine the stink of tragedy clinging to the Picketts and how it would change the entire town.

This is a brutal tale of the ways in which life picks at people, like vultures. It is about what remains to be salvaged in the wreckage, and the ways in which we are tied. Taking place in the Piedmont region of North Carolina during the Great Depression, choices to be made, actions that horrify our sensibilities today were a reality that had to be confronted. The sorrow begins in Chapter 1, with the passing of a child and a large black pot. A people made of stronger stuff, in a time that snuffed you out with any sign of weakness in character.

Quince isn’t the boy Reggie hoped for, he feels robbed of strapping sons to help work the land and carry on the Pickett name and he never let’s Quince forget it. The slight, dreamy boy gets under his father’s skin while his wife Helen knows the boy is of a tender nature, but Reggie must toughen the boy, and it goes back to his own father, “There was nothing more destructive than his father’s displeasure.” And so the cycle continues. His uncle Marlowe is more successful with the right sort of boys, strong, helpful. Everything is much easier for him, and it eats at Reggie to compare their lives, to know his son could never live up to his inheritance, not like Marlowe’s boys. Years pass, Marlowe has plans, banking on Quince’s tragedy, always wanting something from him. The vile, heartless decision just to make money is enough to turn anyone’s stomach. The horrors never seem to want to release Quince, not even with the gentle touch of love to ground him to the present.

Lela is new to town and quickly befriended by young Louise Pickett, but she can’t help but notice her quiet brother, Quince. So begins their relationship that takes them through blinding grief, deep abiding love, the shaky years of college and the uncertain future that waits for them.  The Picketts come to define Germantown, not necessarily for the better. Something about other people’s tragedy makes those close to it think they own it. Neighbors are often too near, judging as Honora does from the start, setting the Picketts up with her smug, superior ‘facts’ about that chillingly odd brood, and yet on the flip side of the coin you have Lela’s family and their unwavering support. A tale about the whims of fate from illnesses, war, abuse, birth, love and everything in between.

It’s a heavy read, sometimes you really need to light that match and burn down the painful reminders of your past to ash.

Publication Date: August 28, 2018

Southern Fried Karma

Putney: A Novel by Sofka Zinovieff

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She couldn’t have known what I was feeling but I wanted to lie down before her and let her walk on me.

That ‘she’ is a child! This novel is one of my favorites of 2018, having read it months ago it was killing me to hold back on posting a review per the publisher’s request.

A rising star in the London arts scene of the early 1970s, gifted composer Ralph Boyd is approached by renowned novelist Edmund Greenslay to score a stage adaptation of his most famous work. Welcomed into Greenslay’s sprawling bohemian house in Putney, an artistic and prosperous district in southwest London, the musical wunderkind is introduced to Edmund’s beautiful activist wife Ellie, his aloof son Theo, and his nine-year old daughter Daphne, who quickly becomes Ralph’s muse.

Muse and so much more. It really begs the question, do more carefree times really excuse illicit relationships, forbidden ‘love’, seduction of an innocent? What is interesting are the different answers people of all ages give you! Make no mistake, Daphne is groomed however ‘pure’ Ralph swears his intentions are and it begins for her at the tender age of 9. Oh but there is no touching, no spoiling, nothing so vile as that, not yet anyway. Nothing illicit in his train of thinking, which seems to be off the tracks! Her father is Edmund Greenslay, famous novelist living a bohemian life with his gorgeous Greek wife Ellie, an activist whose not always present. How could a child surrounded by the energy of such parents not be enchanting, intelligent and wildly imaginative? He is beyond enraptured! She becomes an obsession, in a different home maybe his access to Daphne would have been less easy but it’s so hard for Ralph to keep away from this extraordinary creature. Soon he has treasures for her, the attention she sorely needs in a home where her artistic parents are always entertaining, working, traveling after all it’s the 1970s, and their parenting is carefree. They have important endeavours that don’t always make room for raising their offspring. They are so trusting of their circle, it never crosses their minds to wonder why a grown man is so attentive of their darling child.

Children love secrets, and what’s more exciting to a lonely yet adventurous little girl than a secret that’s ‘just for us‘? This becomes the theme of their relationship. Ralph is convinced it’s pure, feels he is behaving so long as it’s not sexual until she turns 13 and everything alters.

Daphne now calls her past the ‘Dark Ages’,  where in the wreckage lies a broken marriage, drug abuse in her twenties, trying to reclaim herself, create a stable life in her thirties and presently trying to prove to Ralph that she is okay, that she is healthy and good, that she has made a life worth living. With her teenaged daughter Libby by her side Daphne has returned to London, stepping back into her childhood best friend Jane’s life. Jane was the one person who kept Daphne and Ralph’s secrets, possibly to her own detriment. If Daphne holds her love for Ralph in some charming bubble, Jane is there to burst it with the seedy, ugly reality. She wasn’t always so immune to his ‘compelling’ nature, our Jane. How could she be when even the adults seemed to hum with excitement in his presence. More than her friend, it could well be through mothering her daughter that Daphne begins to see just how much she was hunted, abused. But how will everyone feel when she confronts the truth?

Ralph deludes himself, and the reader’s feelings may well sour more and more with the reading, he gets darker and darker. Instead of being a sinister, dark foreboding presence, though at the start and through much of the novel he is human, we like our monsters to be completely dark so we can spot them don’t we? But Ralph truly is the skin such threats walk around in. Charming, trustworthy to the adults, a friend of the family and wise enough to know what makes a little girl’s heart tick. Smart enough to dodge being found out ‘sniffing around’ her. Daphne is fragile (as all children are) and has no understanding of the adult world, in fact is exposed to it far too soon  with a bohemian upbringing. Love is a fairy tale to little girls, a grown man is exciting! We are meant to trust and like Ralph sometimes and that is the nail in the coffin. He inserts himself in young Daphne’s life, happening upon her everywhere she goes feeling surely that, oh its fate. “He was Dog; always waiting for her..” full of promises, educating her on Stravinsky, a gravitational force in the space where one’s parents should be. I spent so much time reading this novel angry at their lax attitude. There are girlfriends for Ralph, but Daphne has his heart, will always be the one. Loved by her mother and father, she forgives them their absences when really, should she? How will they feel much later, when Daphne faces the rot of it all?

Jane has felt for a long time that Daphne’s ‘chaos might be contagious.’ There is a lot of trepidation in Daphne’s return, their last encounter during her wedding was of a wilder friend. Yet she is as intrigued by Daphne as she was when they first became friends. Soon, they are on the phone making plans to meet up. Jane is pushy as an adult, she knows her friend was victimized even if Daphne doesn’t own that reality and she is going to convince her of this, she is there to take the ‘rosie tinted glasses’ off of her friend, who still holds Ralph on some pedestal. She knows full well what went on at 7 Barnabas Road wasn’t pure and had nothing to do with love. It is sick, Jane knows all of it is sick, but at the back of the reader’s mind one wonders, what exactly is driving Jane’s rage?  The shifting perspectives are wildly different.  Daphne’s strolls through memory lane are haunting to read, disturbing because she holds Ralph in a special place in her heart even now. “Although her memories of being with Ralph as a girl were tender, she knew they could not be talked about openly. It had always been a secret, but not a dirty one.” This is how victims are made. What Daphne romanized Jane sees as poison, just how far-reaching was Ralph’s desires?

What about time, surely if enough time has passed you can’t accuse someone, destroy the life of a gifted, talented beloved man? What if that man is tied, still, to your family? The times… those seventies were all about dissolving boundaries, free love… At least, that’s what Ralph feels.  How strange, being in the mind of an abuser and how they justify it to themselves or the victim who sees their situation as different, special. This is perfect for a book club, so many directions to go, so much to debate. All the enablers…

Yes, read it!

Publication Date: August 21, 2018

Harper

 

The House in the Hills by Rowan Hanlon

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The house stood out but it didn’t brag. It stood back from the street and wowed passersby with its unintentional difference but didn’t necessarily invite them in. While not standoffish it didn’t really care one way or another if you liked it or not.

This novel wasn’t what I expected. The house of Marc and Harmony’s dream is more nightmare than fairytale. From the beginning it doesn’t bode well, it’s cheap for a reason but once Harmony is cajoled by Marc to give the home a chance, she is wooed by the beauty within, such as the perfect kitchen that fits the needs of her life as a food blogger. Like most folks, if an ‘amazing’ house is super cheap you know there is a catch, either an infestation of rodents, insects or ghosts! All joking aside, this house has inhabitants of the paranormal sort. Marc admits, maybe just maybe it’s cheap because… someone died. But hey, people truly do die every day and we have to die somewhere right? But what if the ‘death’ wasn’t some natural passing from old age or illness in bed but possibly domestic in nature?

Oh and did he mention, the guest house on the property comes with a tenant? Just what a young couple needs! A pretty young actress, Darcy Flynn. Upon meeting them, she eyes Marc and asks “Who’s this tall drink of water?” But don’t worry, she promises Harmony she won’t sleep with him. Really, very big of her!

Don’t feel too bad, our Harmony has her shameful guilty secrets too. Things begin to happen, Harmony starts hearing and then seeing apparitions, and questions her sanity? Marc thinks it’s just her nerves, in that patronizing way of his, shrugs her off. Of course, maybe there is even more to the ‘domestic’ story than he lets on. Strange in this day and age Harmony didn’t look into the house from the start. But she starts to piece things together and Marc just has that ‘hey ok, maybe I didn’t tell you everything’ attitude.

The character who gives the novel some life is her elderly neighbor Josephine, another southerner like Harmony (who hails from Tennessee). Two peas in a pod!  Josephine is a self-described big mouth and far more interesting than the young and beautiful characters that should be center of the novel. She is more interesting than the ghosts too, in fact I wish the story was all Josephine. Why are people always trying to shut little old folks up when they are trying to give us all the dirt on our evil homes? Seriously, let them talk- you might just learn something!

Marc, half the time you just want to throttle him. Everything is a secret with him, no harm done right? Guilt by omission doesn’t count, right? Lawdy lawdy! What if it could cost you your life?

I think for me I have read really horrifying stories that are hard to compare to. I got to the point where I didn’t care if they were in danger or not. Marc and Harmony were equally screwed up and self-centered, their marriage was more terrifying a prospect than any earthbound souls tormenting them. It’s a fast read, again Josephine is salvation for a story that would have otherwise remained flat. It was okay but not as haunting as I wanted.

Available now

Reverberator Books

Single and Looking Daisy: A Funny Laugh Out Loud Feel Good Summer Read (Secret Lives of Sisters Book 1) by Belinda Austin

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The cat swayed slightly on his paws. “I had a pint me dear. I imbibe now and then because you cut off me love buds.” 

Daisy is approaching her 40th birthday, and of course there is nothing her sisters (the Estrogen Squad as Shakespeare the kitty calls them) want more for her than to be married off. Daisy’s adopted cat Shakespeare is another story, when he isn’t imbibing or making money with his business he is helping her land a man. Sober Shakespeare is less easy to manage, telling her how to dress (certainly not ho-ishly), quoting William Shakespear when the situation takes his fancy. It’s time, he tells her, to let her sisters take the reins and help her find a man!

Daisy keeps a list, one not too demanding. Is it asking too much of the universe to send her man who isn’t, say, a peeping tom? It’s not like she is asking for outrageous qualities! Just a solid, sane man! Her sisters all take a shot at it, beginning with the youngest, 21-year-old Doll. Joey… Joey Cuervo is the first. Will he be as deliciously smooth as Tequilla? What about Dove’s man, chosen for her big sister, one Harvey Wallbanger?

Men aside, the fun is all with Shakespeare’s antics. With his ‘catty’ comments and spot on advice “You look like a witch with a wart on your chin!”, it’s a novel spent in feline head space. Trust a talking cat to tell it like it is when no other will! This whip-smart cat even helps her remove her dreaded first gray hair with his sharp little claws, earning any and all kitty treats. Who wouldn’t love this sassy fuzzball, be he a drunkard or not? You gotta be cruel to be kind!

I needed this book right now in my life, it’s been a tough year full of illness and the loss of a beloved aunt, whom might I add was a cat lover.  Books find us, I promise you that. I was a giggling nuisance in bed while reading Austin’s story. Sometimes we just need something fun and wacky to escape from the drudgery of life.  “Hell is empty and all the devils are here.”  I’m sure kitty Shakespeare would growl that in my ear right now. This really is a fun, silly book. Maybe some of the men she’d have been better off just downing their namesake and skipping a date altogether!

Will Daisy find love, will she survive her sisters’ disastrous choices? Will Shakespeare ever get over losing his love buds (no, no he will not)? A fun, light summer read!

Publication Date: August 24, 2018

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