Review: Celta Cats by Robin D. Owens

Review: Celta Cats by Robin D. OwensCelta Cats by Robin D. Owens
Format: ebook
Source: purchased from Amazon
Formats available: paperback, ebook
Genres: fantasy, science fiction, short stories
Series: Celta's Heartmates
Pages: 144
Published by Amazon Digital Services on December 11th 2017
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleKobo
Goodreads

Smart Cats know what they want. And on the world of Celta, they are very smart. They can be Familiar Animal companions, bonded with a person.
These stories are seen from the cat’s very own eyes, and are six never before published Cat Stories, including the first Top Cat of Celta, Peaches; as well as a trio of stories about that favorite Fam, Zanth.
Peaches Arrives on Celta, Plenty of problems for Peaches to fix: challenges to his status; people lying about Peaches’ human companion and Peaches himself; Grandma’s acting mean...and there’s that very real concern that the Ship just might not land safely, fear he must overcome…
Zanth Gets His Boy, Zanth’s meeting with a noble boy running from evil people changes both their lives in ways he couldn’t imagine
Pinky Becomes A Fam, Pinky is a smart enough cat to know that there is a difference from being a regular cat and a Familiar Companion Cat, and bonding better with his boy. He’s determined to make the leap from cat to Fam, but didn’t realize exactly what that meant…
Zanth Claims Treasure, Yes, the southern estate smells great, even better smelling is the glass orb full of magic that he finds, and will fight to keep…
Baccat Chooses His Person, Life on the streets in the winter isn’t what Baccat deserves, and he’s determined to find a good person to take care of him. After all, he has so much to offer…but does he really deserve what he gets?
Zanth Saves The Day, A FamCat on a beach just can’t sleep with all that odd hatching and squeaking going on. Zanth finds new friends and defends them against bullies…

My Review:

I’m still looking for comfort reading. When I heard the FamCats of Celta meowing my name, I decided to answer.

This is likely to be what a blogging friend refers to as a “short and sweet” review. This is not a big book, the stories do not have big messages, but they are a whole lot of fun, particularly if you like the Celta’s Heartmates series. The stories in Celta Cats illustrate bits of backstory or side story of events that are referred to in the main series, but are told from the point of view of the FamCats, the Familiar Companion animals of Celta who happen to be cats.

It seems that any animal can become a Fam, if they have enough Flair (psi power) and enough intelligence. Fams are intelligent at what we would think of as a human level, but do not think human thoughts. They understand human speech and thought, but as the stories illustrate, they do not change their essential nature. The FamCats, in particular, are always very cat. Particularly in the “dogs have owners, cats have staff” sense. FamCats expect rewards for their service, and are not remotely shy about demanding those rewards. It’s part of what makes them so much fun.

Although this collection features FamCats, in the main series we meet many other animals who have become Fams, including foxes, dogs, birds, and even housefluffs, which seem like a less predatory version of the dustbunnies in Jayne Castle’s Harmony series.

Heart Mate by Robin D. Owens new cover

Several of the stories in this collection feature Xanth, the FamCat who owns and protects Rand T’Ash, the hero of the first book in the series, Heart Mate. From Xanth’s perspective, he is the dominant partner. Rand’s perspective may be otherwise. But one of the most interesting stories in the collection is the first meeting between Xanth and Rand, told from Xanth’s perspective. At that point, Rand was a scared and very young man, who had just watched evil men burn out his family home, killing his parents and siblings., while Xanth was a full-grown and battle-toughened street cat. Those same men are hunting Rand, and it is Xanth’s knowledge of Druida City’s back alleys that keeps them both alive until Rand matures enough to come into his full power and exact his revenge.

Escape Rating A-: For adult readers, Celta Cats is a book for fans. The joy in the stories is filling in missing pieces of Celtan history, and especially viewing that history through the eyes of the Fams, who are so often the best part, or at least the funniest part, of many of the stories.

As a short story collection, Celta Cats is being marketed as a children’s book. I have my doubts about that. It’s true that there is no “adult” content per se. These stories are not romances, while the regular books of the Celta’s Heartmates series most definitely are. But what makes these stories special is their connection to Celta. The Xanth stories are particularly fun because they connect to Xanth (and Rand) as we already know them. Whether young readers will find them interesting without knowing anything about the background of Celta is something I’m just not sure about.

But for those of us who love the series, and can’t wait until next year for our next visit to Celta, these stories are utterly charming.

Reviewer’s Note: I read Celta Cats in the wake of Ursula K. LeGuin’s death. If you like the Celta Cats, you will love her Catwings series, which begins with, of course, Catwings. The Catwings stories, are, not surprisingly considering the title, about a family of winged cats. The wings seem to be a mutation, as the stories are set in the contemporary world and everyone, both cats and humans, are aware that the Catwings family needs to be protected from people who will want to study them. The stories are marvelous, the illustrations are lovely, and just like Celta Cats, the stories will be enjoyed by adults who love any intersection between cats and either science fiction or fantasy.

The Sunday Post AKA What’s on my (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 7-10-16

Sunday Post

lazorra as elder statescatThe most exciting event this week was the feline health crisis. We love them. They are kittens for so brief a time, adult cats for years that are never long enough, and then suddenly they are little elder statescats with all of the unfortunate issues of old age. LaZorra is 17, and her kidneys and her thyroid seem to be in a race to see which one will actually do her in. Something happens, she scares us half to death, and then the new problem seems to clear up. At least until the next time.

I did have some good books to retreat into, in between visiting the vet.

Current Giveaways:

$25 Amazon Gift Card from Harlequin
$10 Book or $10 Gift Card in the Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop

binti by nnedi okoraforBlog Recap:

Fourth of July 2016
A- Review: A Reckless Promise by Kasey Michaels + Giveaway
A Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
B+ Review: Star Cruise: Outbreak by Veronica Scott
A+ Review: Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
Stacking the Shelves (192)

pistols and petticoats by erika janikComing Next Week:

Fatal Affair by Marie Force (blog tour review)
Unexplored by Anna Hackett (review)
Pistols and Petticoats by Erika Janik (review)
All These Perfect Strangers by Aoife Clifford (review)
Lab Girl by Hope Jahren (review)

Labor Day 2015

rosie the riveter poster

Today is Labor Day in the U.S., and Labour Day in Canada. It’s a holiday that traditionally marks the end of summer in this part of the northern hemisphere. In the U.S., it also marks one of the last three-day weekends of the year that lots of people get. Columbus Day isn’t as widely observed, and Veterans Day is always November 11. This year it’s a Wednesday.

So here we are, the last weekend of Summer. This also used to be the last day that it was fashionable to wear white until next Memorial Day. How things have changed on the fashion front!

In Atlanta, it means that the daily temperatures have dropped from the mid-90s to the mid-80s. The outside is getting more tolerable again. Whoopee!

I was tempted to just post a “Gone Fishing” notice for today, but I don’t think I could catch anything as adorable as the kittens those two fishermen caught in Alabama last week.

So in case you missed it on YouTube, here is the video of two guys who turned fishing for catfish into fishing for kittenfish:

Stacking the Shelves (127)

Stacking the Shelves

I love our cats. I really do. Even when, sometimes especially when, they sit on my morning newspaper or try to get between my eyes and my iPad. That’s adorable. Howsomever, Mellie peed on my clothes last night. (No, I wasn’t wearing them, but still…) It’s moments like this that make me ask, “Why was that again?” in reference to the question, “Why do we keep them around?” But then someone does something cute and the whole thing is self-explanatory.

mellie face on box
Mellie being cute

 

But someone still needs to explain to my why Mellie only does this to my clothes, and never Galen’s clothes. it’s a mystery.

Of course I’d much rather read than do laundry. But needs must.

For Review:
17 Carnations by Andrew Morton
The Case of the Invisible Dog (Shirley Homes #1) by Diane Stingley
Hard as a Rock (Gargoyles #3) by Christine Warren
Idol of Blood (Looking Glass Gods #2) by Jane Kindred
The Irish Brotherhood by Helen O’Donnell
Last First Snow (Craft Sequence #4) by Max Gladstone
Let Me Die in His Footsteps by Lori Roy
Master Thieves by Stephen Kurkjian
Night of the Highland Dragon (Highland Dragons #3) by Isabel Cooper
The Race for Paris by Meg Waite Clayton
Selfish, Shallow and Self-Absorbed edited by Meghan Daum
Sharp Shootin’ Cowboy (Hot Cowboy Nights #3) by Victoria Vane
Three Moments of an Explosion by China Mieville
The Thunder of Giants by Joel Fishbane
Zack (Cold Fury Hockey #3) by Sawyer Bennett

Purchased from Amazon:
Neanderthal Seeks Human (Knitting in the City #1) by Penny Reid

Borrowed from the Library:
Butcher’s Hill (Tess Monaghan #3) by Laura Lippman
In a Strange City (Tess Monaghan #6) by Laura Lippman
The Last Place (Tess Monaghan #7) by Laura Lippman

The Sunday Post AKA What’s on my (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 2-15-15

Sunday Post

The Share the Love Giveaway Hop ends today! So if you haven’t yet taken a look at some terrific blogs, and entered for a chance at a $10 Gift Card, now’s your last chance.

Valentines Day was yesterday, and my true love and I gave each other a cold. Or the flu. In any case, the downside of living with someone is that you share communicable diseases. Like colds. We’st still dropping Kleenex like snow falling over carpet.

On the other hand, we did get the cats something for Valentines Day. We finally got them a Katris. Cass has been waiting for us to get some, because her cats love it and the thing is awesome. Here’s a cute kitty picture™ of the first exploration.

our cats on katris

Current Giveaways:

$10 Amazon or B&N Gift Card in the Share the Love Giveaway Hop
$120 Amazon, iTunes or B&N Gift Card from Allison Pataki and Simon & Schuster

The Accidental Empress by Allison PatakiBlog Recap:

B+ Review: The Promise by Robyn Carr
A- Review: Obsession in Death by J.D. Robb
B Review: Death of Yesterday by M.C. Beaton
A- Review: The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki
Guest Post by Author Allison Pataki on Writing About Sisi + Giveaway
C+ Review: Death of a Liar by M.C. Beaton
Stacking the Shelves (122)

 

 

dreaming spies by laurie r kingComing Next Week:

Dreaming Spies (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #13) by Laurie R. King (review)
Escape Velocity by Jess Anastasi (review)
Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran by Marion Grace Woolley (blog tour review)
In Flames by Richard Hilary Weber (blog tour review)
The Homecoming (Thunder Point #6) by Robyn Carr (review)

The Sunday Post AKA What’s On My (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand? 12-2-12

I probably should should be writing about where my nightstand is, instead of what’s on it!

My nightstand, and the rest of our worldly goods, are probably pulling into Boise, Idaho tonight. At least, that was the driver’s next stop. Us, we’re in Seattle. Until the furniture arrives–hopefully Wednesday, possibly Thursday, we’re in a hotel.

Effectively being dissed by the cats. My promises of a future mega-cat-tree are falling on pointedly deaf ears. Or deaf pointed ears.

In spite of the kitty dissing, and other moving events, the blog went on. So what happened?

First, we have a winner! The winner of the Fall in Love Blog Hop is Katie Amanda. She’ll have her chance to fall in love with my favorite Chicago wizard, Harry Dresden. The prize was the winner’s choice of any book in the Dresden Files series under $10.

B+ Review: The Buzzard Table by Margaret Maron
B+ Review: Spectra by Joanne Elder
Echoing Walls
Comics Review: Kevin & Kell by Bill Holbrook
A+ Review: Cold Days by Jim Butcher
Hot Holiday Hop
Stacking the Shelves (24)

So what about next week? Seriously, there’s a next week? Yes, there’s a next week. And a next post, and a next review.

Because of the holiday season, there are a lot of blog hops this month. Isn’t it marvelous? So many different places to get a chance to win books and gift cards. On Saturday, Reading Reality will be participating in the Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop, along with over 200 other bloggers and authors.

But the rest of the week is wide open. And wildly open. I’m looking at putting together my best of the year lists soon, and my most anticipated books for next year list. That made me realize I need to get out my most anticipated list for this year, and whoa, there are some books on there I forgot to read! Whoops!

So many books, so little time.

Speaking of time (don’t you just love segues?) I have a question for all of the bloggers out there who have day-jobs? How do you do it? Do you have any words of wisdom you’d care to impart as I start my new full-time job on Wednesday?

I’m going to have plenty of time to read on the bus on the way to and from work every day. Finding time to write is going to be a challenge. But so worth it!

Not All Tears Are Evil

The ghost of an orange and white kitty is on my nightstand this Sunday. And for all the nights to come.

Not exactly, because that wasn’t one of Erasmus’ places to be in our bedroom. He preferred the “kitty chaperone” position. That would be the spot right smack dab in the middle of the bed.

For an essentially not very bright cat, he could be clever when it counted. From the middle, he could get scritched by both of us.

On the other hand, he couldn’t figure out that he could totally wrap me around his paw if he would just sit on my lap every once in a while. We didn’t just have to move four times, we had to open up a particular room in a particular house to make that work. And he would only get in my lap from the left and never the right. I wasn’t allowed to type with Rasi in my lap. Ask me if I cared. Ask me how many hours I could last without caring.

We love them, and they never let us go.

Rasi delivered pens. He was always so proud of himself. He acted like he was bringing us the biggest, most vicious mousie the world had ever seen. All for us. Of course, this meant that neither of us could EVER locate a pen when we really needed one. I would, we would give up every pen we might ever own for the rest of our lives to have him bring us just one more pen. Just one more.

But it’s not meant to be. Our sweet, sweet baby boy lost his battle with cancer. And we let him go while he was still having some good time, before his world became all pain.

Even though we had a vet come to the house to take care of him, Sophie is wandering around looking lost, looking for her daddy-cat in the places he used to be. She watched them carry him out the door, but she wants him back.

We do too.

For now, we both cry. We miss him. I keep expecting to see him at the foot of the bed, waiting for us to come to bed. Or on the table in the afternoon, catching the sun.

This is the sorrow of parting. At the end of the Lord of the Rings just before Bilbo and Frodo board the ship at the Grey Havens, as they are about to leave, Gandalf tells Sam, ” I will not say do not weep, for not all tears are an evil.”

They may not be an evil, but they hurt like bloody hell.

Rest in catnip, Erasmus. My sweet Rasi boy.

In My Mailbox #2

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren as a way for bloggers and readers to share the books they bought, borrowed or received that week.

When this meme started in 2008, I suspect the mailbox was an actual mailbox, whether or not it looked like the one in the graphic. For me, the mailbox is mostly an email inbox. But the principle still applies.

And sometimes it’s real mail. You’ll see.

Ebooks I received from their authors or publicists:

Wreck of the Nebula Dream by Veronica Scott
A Hint of Frost by Hailey Edwards
Intangible by J. Meyers
Lowcountry Punch by Boo Walker
Third Rate Romance by Tim Martin
The Mine by John A. Heldt

Ebooks I received for reviews for Blog Tours (Tour company name in parens):

Wanted: Handsome Alien Abductor by Myra Nour (BTS)
Staring into the Eyes of Chance by Kay Dee Royal (Bewitching)
Finding My Faith by Carly Fall (Bewitching)
The Zurian Child by Jessica E. Subject (Sizzling PR)
Sunrise Point by Robyn Carr (Little Bird Publicity)
The Great Outdoors by Becky Moore (Sizzling PR)

 

One new assignment for Book Lovers Inc.

Auraria by Tim Westover

 

 

 

Five from NetGalley. I’ve been trying to resist but the April Carina Press books were posted, there was lots of SFR or SFR-ish, and I caved. And Pern was the first SFR I ever read, so yes, Sky Dragons does fit in this list.

Sky Dragons by Todd McCaffrey
Desert Blade by Ella Drake
Darkest Caress by Kaylea Cross
Zero Gravity Outcasts by Kay Keppler
Cruel Numbers by  Christopher Beats

 

 

 

 

 

And nearly last, one steampunk from Edelweiss

Tarnished by Karina Cooper

 

 

 

Last, but definitely not least, the big box I shipped from PLA arrived. I haven’t opened it yet, because, well, it’s under the cat. She thinks I got it for her!

The Bargain We Make

We bring home a small furry bundle. It doesn’t matter whether the little bundle mews or barks. Ours generally mew.

Sometimes it’s fully grown. Still doesn’t matter.

The point is, when you do, you’re making a bargain with your future self. And you’re firmly not thinking about it.

Because that adorable fluff bundle in your lap, you’ve already fallen in love with it. Even if it’s still unhappy with you and not quite house-trained yet. Or whatever adorably disgusting habits are already ingrained into the little beast.

But the bargain that you make is that you know the time you have is too short. You hope for the maximum. You pray for more than that. For a cat, a cat who never goes outside, it’s not unreasonable to hope for 15 marvelous years. Maybe even a little longer.

But that’s not enough. Someone once said that the tragedy of loving a pet is that our lives are so long, and theirs are so damned short.

Erasmus is 12 and a half. My sweet baby boy. After innumerable tests by three different vets in two states, and several different guesses–finally a diagnosis. The one we feared. He has intermediate-cell cancer.

He confused the issue for a few months by holding his weight while being treated for IBD, but that wasn’t it. Now he’s on chemo.

At the moment, he is fine. He acts completely normal. He’s just skinny. It’s his humans who are wrecked. We know his time is running out faster than it is supposed to. He thinks life is pretty sweet, except for the weekly trips to the vet. Meanwhile, he’s getting spoiled rotten.

I know that there are friends waiting for him at the Rainbow Bridge. Zade, our playful Scheherazade, was taken from us far too soon. Jennyfur is waiting to box his ears. And Erasmus needs to take a message to my beloved Licorice for me, to tell him that I still miss him after 16 years.

But I am so not ready for him to take that message yet. Not ready at all.