Friday, April 19, 2024

New Favorite Dog Character!

 

TITLE: Bless Your Heart (Bless Your Heart #1)
AUTHOR: Lindy Ryan
PUBLISHER: Minotaur Books
PUBLISHING DATE: April 9, 2024
PAGES: 304   
SOURCE: ARC


FROM GOODREADS: Rise and shine. The Evans women have some undead to kill. 
It’s 1999 in Southeast Texas and the Evans women, owners of the only funeral parlor in town, are keeping steady with…normal business. The dead die, you bury them. End of story. That’s how Ducey Evans has done it for the last eighty years, and her progeny―Lenore the experimenter and Grace, Lenore’s soft-hearted daughter, have run Evans Funeral Parlor for the last fifteen years without drama. Ever since That Godawful Mess that left two bodies in the ground and Grace raising her infant daughter Luna, alone. 
But when town gossip Mina Jean Murphy’s body is brought in for a regular burial and she rises from the dead instead, it’s clear that the Strigoi―the original vampire―are back. And the Evans women are the ones who need to fight back to protect their town. 
As more folks in town turn up dead and Deputy Roger Taylor begins asking way too many questions, Ducey, Lenore, Grace, and now Luna, must take up their blades and figure out who is behind the Strigoi’s return. As the saying goes, what rises up, must go back down. But as unspoken secrets and revelations spill from the past into the present, the Evans family must face that sometimes, the dead aren’t the only things you want to keep buried. 
A crackling mystery-horror novel with big-hearted characters and Southern charm with a bite, Bless Your Heart is a gasp-worthy delight from start to finish.

MY THOUGHTS: I'm going to be honest here.  During the first 50 or so pages of this book, for a few reasons, including that I had a hard time keeping all the characters in the Evans family straight in my head, it was shaping up to be a 3/5 read.  However, when it finally all clicked for me and with what happened in the book, it quickly jumped in rating and enjoyment.  

For years, the Evans family have secretly guarded their town and kept it safe from the restless dead.  Generations have run the local funeral home and know the story of what happened during the "Godawful Mess" incident.  Now, for some reason, the dead are once again rising.  Ducey, Lenore and Grace fear it has something to do with Grace's daughter, Luna, who has no idea what the family is involved in.  When an odd boy named Crane arrives in town and takes an interest in Luna, the family is sure everything is related.  But can they get to the bottom of the situation before the secret is exposed and before too many people die? 

Once I got them all straight, I loved the characters.  Ducey is the eldest, her daughter Lenore is next in line and then finally there is Grace and her daughter Luna.  They are definitely Southern Texas women with southern charm and language to boot.  Luna is trying to figure her life out and once a HUGE secret is revealed, she is even more confused.  I also loved Belle, the idiot Sheriff's dog.  I thought this book was going to go there and kill off Belle, but man, the author pulled it out and SMALL SPOILER - Belle lives!  Despite it being touch and go (and let's get real, all animal lovers don't really consider this a spoiler, right?).  I also enjoyed the side characters which heavily lent to explaining the backstory of the town and its current state of affairs.

Finally, I have to mention the monsters in the book.  They are referred to as strigoi, and seem more like a cross between zombies and vampires.  They are definitely not your romantic, sparkling vamps and I couldn't be more pleased.  This blood is moderate on horror, blood and gore and high on charm and mystery.  I would best compare it to the books by Grady Hendrix and if you enjoy him, then definitely pick this up.  I had no idea until this week that apparently there is another book in the works, and I can't wait to see what happens next!

MY RATING: 5 PAWS



Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Feed Your TBR - Good Dogs

 

Can't Wait Wednesday, which I have adapted to better suit my blog as "Feed Your TBR" is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings to spotlight highly anticipated books.  It is based on the Waiting on Wednesday meme which used to be hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.


October 1, 2024

SYNOPSIS: The debut novel from viral horror sensation Brian Asman, Good Dogs is a heartfelt and harrowing story of survival, belonging, found family, and the lengths we’ll go to protect it.

No one ever said being a werewolf was easy. Take Delia, for instance. She’s spent much of her life fighting against her own nature, plagued by nightmares of childhood trauma, and trying to find her place in the world. Many werewolves are just like her: ostracized by their families, forced to live alone and in secret as they await those nights when the Change overtakes them.

Becoming the den mother to an odd bunch of lycanthropes in Southern California isn’t exactly the answer Delia was looking for. But under the strict rules of the house, they are able to manage the Change safely, and hunt without endangering their San Diego suburb. And they aren’t lone wolves anymore, they’re a pack—a family.

But when one member’s carelessness leads to the discovery of a severed leg in their backyard, Delia and the rest of her family are forced to confront the cold, hard fact they’ve known all along—they don’t belong here. Their only option is to cover up the kill and head into the wilderness, far from people. There, hopefully, they can live out their lives without posing a threat to anyone else.

At home, they might’ve been apex predators. But in the wilds around Talbot—a town abandoned for a century—Delia and her pack aren’t the only ones with a savage bite …

WHY I CAN'T WAIT: I love a good found-family trope when you add in werewolves, definitely one for me!  Plus, I love this cover and could see me even preordering it. 

WHAT BOOK CAN'T YOU WAIT FOR THIS WEEK???

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

A Slow Trip Into Madness

 

TITLE: Their Hearses
AUTHOR: E.L. Giles
PUBLISHER: Horrorsmith Publishing
PUBLISHING DATE: April 1, 2024
PAGES: 125   
SOURCE: From Publisher


FROM GOODREADS: Years ago, John Berryman was responsible for the deaths of his two children and their nanny. But John Berryman was never seen or heard from again. He simply...vanished.
Now, decades later, someone has finally purchased John Berryman's rambling old house. Marc Larose is no stranger to loss. He hopes to bring the decaying structure to its former glory, a warm place where his family can heal and begin anew, but if these walls could talk, they'd speak of death. Only, Marc isn't listening. 
Something vengeful still lingers in the shadows of the old willow, and it has its eyes set on Marc. It isn't long before he is caught in the tangles of mystery, fear, and deceit, where forces beyond his control are vying for his very soul. Will Marc figure out who...or what...is haunting his new home before he becomes its next victim?

MY THOUGHTS: I guess I have discovered that I may not be that big of a fan of grief horror.  However, I do not think that should reflect negatively on this book or the author as Giles has done a great job with his latest book.  This book filled me with sadness, an overwhelming feeling of dread, and anxiety - not bad for 125 pages!

Marc lost his son to a tragic accident over a year ago.  Since then, he has distanced himself from his wife and daughters.  Hoping to rebuild his family, he has purchased a fixer-upper in a local town.  Marc starts to work on the place and as he does, learns that maybe has has made a mistake.  The home is the location of a triple homicide, with two victims being young children, similar in age to his children.  Marc starts to become obsessed with a particular location under a weeping willow on the property, and also with the spirit telling him how he can be reunified with his lost son.

This novella is technically a sequel to Giles' book Will-o the Wis but the publisher is clear it can also be read as a standalone. However, as a completist, I did pick up the other book first and I think it made reading Their Hearses that much more intense.  Marc is full of grief and Giles makes the reader experience his grief alongside Marc. It didn't take long before I felt like I was falling into the same despair as the main character.  

My main problem with this book was basically that I may have read it too closely to a recent death of a family member, so it only intensified an already present feeling of dread and depression.  So, as I said, I found Their Hearses to be well-written and quite interesting, but I will probably be staying away from grief horror for a while.  If you enjoy this subgenre of horror though, this is definitely a book you will want to grab. 

MY RATING: 3 Paws


Thursday, April 11, 2024

Ewwww!!!! 🐀🐀🐀

 


Stormi reached out to meet late last night and asked if I wanted to join her for a couple of horror reads in April.  She is participating in the Old School April over on Booktube and I'll use any excuse to read more horror books.  So, she picked this one and another one for later in the month.  Read on for my thoughts and then hop over to Storm Reads to hear her take on it.


TITLE: The Rats
AUTHOR: James Herbert
PUBLISHER: Pan Publishing
PUBLISHING DATE: January 1, 1974
PAGES: 212   
SOURCE: Own


FROM GOODREADS: For millions of years man and rats had been natural enemies. But now for the first time - suddenly, shockingly, horribly - the balance of power had shifted and the rats began to prey on the human population.

MY THOUGHTS: Not much of a synopsis huh?  Well, even though there is a plot, the book is a lot of rats mutilating and scaring people and animals so if creature features aren't your thing, then you might want to pass this one up.  

This book takes place in 1974 London.  A giant mutant rat has been spotted and right off the bat, we have human, baby and dog death.  However, I was warned so I was prepared and let's be honest, I rarely care what happens to human beings in horror.  The MC, Harris, is pretty much a teacher who has returned to his hometown with his girlfriend, grasping for something from his past but I'm really not sure what. He came from the poorer part of town and is bent on saving other kids facing similar situations.  However, when one of his students gets attacked, Harris finds himself right in the middle of a mass rat invasion and an intense extermination mission.

This book is short and fast.  There were some chapters which seemed like their own short story, yet the author did manage to make them all tie in and add relevance to the plot.  This book came close to being a 4/5 but there was one scene where SPOLIER ALERT puppies were used as bait.  I would have rather seen them sacrifice humans - mean I know but I make no apologies.  I am glad to finally read some classic horror and might even consider reading the next two books in the trilogy.  If you like action-packed blood and gore, then give this one a go.

MY RATING: 3 Paws


Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Feed Your TBR - You Better Watch Out

 

Can't Wait Wednesday, which I have adapted to better suit my blog as "Feed Your TBR" is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings to spotlight highly anticipated books.  It is based on the Waiting on Wednesday meme which used to be hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.



October 15, 2024

FROM GOODREADS: Forty-eight hours until Christmas, Jessica Kane wakes up with blurred vision, ears ringing, and in excruciating pain. A gash in her head and blood running down her face, the last thing she remembers is going for a run and something or someone hitting her in the head. It doesn't take her long to realize she is trapped in an unknown, deserted town with five other strangers who share similar stories of being attacked and stranded there.

Unsure why and how they got there, she knows one thing for certain, she has to find a way out. That becomes nearly impossible when someone is meticulously orchestrating their deaths, one by one, and the only thing Jessica can do is watch the life leave their eyes. The fenced-in town is the killer’s very own playground and there's nowhere left to hide... she better watch out because she could be next.

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  I've read a few other books by this author combination and am a fan of James S. Murray from Impractical Jokers, even though I can I only take him in small doses. This one sounds like a fun and it's nice to plan a few Christmas reads each year which AREN'T romances.

WHAT BOOK CAN'T YOU WAIT FOR THIS WEEK???


Tuesday, April 9, 2024

An Interesting Sequel

 

TITLE: Everyone on This Train is a Suspect
AUTHOR: Benjamin Stevenson
PUBLISHER: Mariner Books
PUBLISHING DATE: January 30, 2024
PAGES: 320   
SOURCE: Library


FROM GOODREADS: When the Australian Mystery Writers’ Society invited me to their crime-writing festival aboard the Ghan, the famous train between Darwin and Adelaide, I was hoping for some inspiration for my second book. Fiction, this time: I needed a break from real people killing each other. Obviously, that didn’t pan out.
The program is a who’s who of crime writing royalty: 
the debut writer (me!) 
the forensic science writer 
the blockbuster writer 
the legal thriller writer 
the literary writer 
the psychological suspense writer 
But when one of us is murdered, the remaining authors quickly turn into five detectives. Together, we should know how to solve a crime. Of course, we should also know how to commit one.

MY THOUGHTS: I really loved this author's debut last year, so I was thrilled to pick up this sequel.  After writing a book detailing his family's murder adventure last year, Ernest has been able to claim some fame and is now working on his second book.  He is invited to be a panelist on a crime-writing festival where he will get to sit alongside of some of the biggest names in the crime fiction game.  It doesn't take long before Ernest finds himself in the middle of another murder mystery, except this time he and his girlfriend are on a train traveling through Australia with very few stops and even fewer ways to not be the next victim.  Surely, Ernest and the others can figure out who murdered their fellow writer before someone else dies.

What works best for me about this book and the previous one is the way the writer breaks the 4th Wall with the main character, which adds an extra level of intrigue and sarcasm.  The book is full of devious characters doing devious things and it's fun to be along in the mind of Ernest as he tries to unravel what is happening.  In addition, Ernest's uncle again makes a brief appearance and while you kind of have to suspend some belief regarding the role he actually plays in everything, he does add a big dose of comic relief and made me shake my head on more than one occasion.

If you haven't tried this series yet, you really need to do so.  I think the first book is slightly better, but this one is a strong follow up and I'm curious to see if the author has anything else planned for Ernest in the future.  Even if he doesn't, I'm still interested to check him out.

MY RATING: 4 PAWS



Friday, April 5, 2024

Not Exactly the Vibe I Expected

 

TITLE: The Happiness Blueprint
AUTHOR: Ally Zetterberg
PUBLISHER: MIRA
PUBLISHING DATE: April 2, 2024
PAGES: 368   
SOURCE: ARC


FROM GOODREADS: Klara and Alex are having trouble connecting, but at least their calendars are in sync. 
Klara—who’s always thought of herself as a little different, a sneaker in a world full of kitten heels and polished boots—is feeling a disconnect these days. She has type 1 diabetes, currently works in a dead-end job, and is in desperate need of a change. When her dad falls ill, Klara begrudgingly agrees to help run his small construction company while he recovers, even though it means moving back home and pushing the boundaries of her comfort zone to the extreme. 
Alex has been a shell of himself since his brother died in an accident. He’s unemployed, has bills piling up, and is distant from friends and family. His therapist is encouraging him to keep things manageable by setting up a calendar, checking off tasks each day, and looking for work to help get him back on his feet. When an ad pops up for a carpenter position at a small construction company, he jumps at the chance to take a step forward. 
Klara's and Alex’s stories unfold through a series of miscommunications in this clever and witty novel from debut author Ally Zetterberg that’s about finding acceptance and even love in unexpected places.

MY THOUGHTS: When I first saw this cover, I expected some sort of romantic rom-com, which was fine.  However, the tale here is much deeper and at times, even depressing, so be aware of that going in if you decide to give this one a go. 

Klara lives in London working at a job with very little human interaction, managing her Type 1 diabetes, and connecting with her family via a phone app and Thursday night Facetimes. When her father, who lives in the family home in Sweden, becomes ill, and someone needs to come and help run the family business, everyone looks to Klara, especially since she is out of work and has the least number of things to work around.  Klara is not excited to return home and is worries she knows nothing about running a construction repair business.

Alex is smack dab in the middle of a deep depression when the book opens. He has been out of work for about 6 months, ever since his brother tragically died in a bicycle accident.  However, turns out it wasn't exactly an accident and Alex's depression is deepened by the fact that the police cannot locate a key witness so the culprit can be held fully accountable.

This book tackles medical issues, a possible terminal illness, death, depression and low self-esteem.  Oh, and you can add in some family drama and deep seeded family issues. I will be honest in the beginning I had some difficulty connecting to the writing style.  I later on learned something about the MC which I sort of suspected and once that elephant in the room came out, reading became more enjoyable and easier.  It took some time for Klara to grow on me, but I did like Alex straight off the bat.  In addition, once the two characters meet, and start communicating a lot through a shared calendar app of all things, the book picked up.

This book does have a big miscommunication trope and I know some people really get irritated by those so be warned.  And like I said, there are some heavier topics than I anticipated for the cute graphic cover represented.  However, I am glad I preserved with this one and I really enjoyed the ending - giant unicorn statues and all (and if that doesn't get your attention and make you curious, I don't know what will).

MY RATING: 4 PAWS


Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Feed Your TBR - So Thirsty

 

Can't Wait Wednesday, which I have adapted to better suit my blog as "Feed Your TBR" is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings to spotlight highly anticipated books.  It is based on the Waiting on Wednesday meme which used to be hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.



September 10, 2024

FROM GOODREADS: Sloane Parker is dreading her birthday. She doesn’t need a reminder she’s getting older, or that she’s feeling indifferent about her own life. Her husband surprises her with a birthday-weekend getaway—not with him, but with Sloane’s longtime best friend, troublemaker extraordinaire Naomi. Sloane anticipates a weekend of wine tastings and cozy robes and strategic avoidance of issues she’d rather not confront, like her husband’s repeated infidelity.  But when they arrive at their rental cottage, it becomes clear Naomi has something else in mind. She wants Sloane to stop letting things happen to her, for Sloane to really live. So Naomi orchestrates a wild night out with a group of mysterious strangers, only for it to take a horrifying turn that changes Sloane’s and Naomi’s lives literally forever. The friends are forced to come to terms with some pretty eternal consequences in this bloody, seductive novel about how it’s never too late to find satisfaction, even though it might taste different than expected.

WHY I CAN'T WAIT: I remember seeing this on Tammy's blog, Books, Bones and Buffy, a few weeks ago and knew I would feature it soon.  I really enjoyed Cackle by this author and have a few other of her backlist books sitting on my shelves to read someday.  I love vampires and I love this cover, so this is an auto-grab for me.

WHAT BOOK CAN'T YOU WAIT FOR THIS WEEK???

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

March 2024 Wrap Up

 

 

I can't believe we are already a quarter of the way through 2024.  Where does the time go?  Again, I had a pretty good reading month and read quite a variety of books.  I also got to interview a new indie author so if you didn't catch it, make sure to go look.  Still catching up on reviews so if you see something here you really want my thoughts on, let me know and I will try to prioritize it.



What Grows in the Dark

White Trash Zombie Apocalypse

Dark Roots

Fangirl Down

A Grave Robbery

Will-O' the-Wisp

Hunt on Dark Waters

Everyone on This Train is a Suspect

The Time I Got Drunk and Yeeted a Love Potion at a Werewolf

The Unseen

That Time I Got Drunk and Saved a Demon



So, as I mentioned, quite the variety.  I really fell in love with the Mead Mishap series and read two books pretty close together.  My biggest surprise was Dark Roots probably because it hadn't been on my radar very long and because it was a great start to a new series, and I do love a new series.  My lowest rating was Will-O' the-Wisp which was probably because it was a short story I read so I can read an advanced copy of an arc novella in April.  But overall, a good month.

Did you read anything I absolutely should add to my TBR or have you read any of these and felt similarly or differently???





















Saturday, March 30, 2024

A Long Overdue Farm News 03-30-24

 


It's been a while since I've had a general update and I basically have no excuse other than March has been a bit nuts.  Mr. Barb has had some health issues which we've had to get to the bottom of (nothing major thank goodness), my stupid uncle (for anyone that remembers that saga) sued my mom, plus March is the year anniversary of when we lost Cass and it's bringing back all kinds of memories about what we went through this time last year.  However, Apollo and Zeke are fine, Zeke is growing like a weed, and we now have more warmer days than cold (although they still exist) so I'll take all that as a win.

We've not had much luck with watching a lot of movies but I am hoping to make time for "Imaginary" this weekend.  We watched on called "Prey" which stars Ryan Phillip which was pretty good and I would highly recommend and a stupid horror film called "Night Shift" which does NOT involved vampires and which I do not recommend.  I am thoroughly enjoying "The Ones Who Live" on AMC though (aka - Walking Dead Rick and Michonne spin-off) but the last episode of the season airs this Sunday.

I have managed to do quite a bit of reading and am not TOO far behind on reviews.  I'm trying to figure out my April reading plans and honestly don't know where to start so that sounds like an April problem right now.  This weekend I hope to finish up at last one of my current reads.  I am about 45% into A Grave Robbery and I'm a tad disappointed I am not liking it more as it is one of my favorite series.  I also want to get a jump on Bless Your Heart which releases in April.


I have also acquired some really good books lately and am excited for all of them.



The Midnight Club: Margot Harrison
The Body Next Door: Maia Chance
The Hitchcock Hotel: Stephanie Wrobel
Nightmare of a Trip: Maureen Kilmer

I hope everyone that celebrates is having a great Easter weekend and as always, thanks for visiting Booker T's Farm!





Thursday, March 28, 2024

Now THAT Was Interesting!

 

TITLE: That Time I Got Drunk and Yeeted a Love Potion at a Werewolf (Mead Mishaps #2)
AUTHOR: Kimberly Lemming
PUBLISHER: Orbit
PUBLISHING DATE: February 6, 2024
PAGES: 288   
SOURCE: Library


FROM GOODREADS: Cheesemaker Brie has the world’s worst luck in love, which is how she ends up falling for a lactose intolerant werewolf, in this raunchy, laugh-out-loud rom-com fantasy by the genre’s freshest new voice, Kimberly Lemming.
Brie’s never been particularly coordinated…or lucky. Who else would accidentally throw a drink at someone’s head only to miss entirely and hit a stranger behind them? And who else would have that stranger fall madly in love with them because it turns out that the drink she threw was a love potion? Yeah, probably just Brie.… 
Running her cheese business and dealing with a pirate ship full of demons that just moved into town was hard enough. Now on top of it, she has to convince a werewolf that she’s not really his fated mate. Though even she’s got to admit…having a gorgeous man show up and do all her chores while telling her she’s beautiful isn’t the worst thing to happen to a girl.

MY THOUGHTS: I was very excited to dive into this book after recently reading the first one so when my hold arrived on Libby, I grabbed it right away.  And I'm glad I did because this one so much fun.

This book takes place several months after the first one.  Cinnamon and her new demon husband have moved back to Cinnamon's hometown and brought their merry group of misfit monsters and demons with them. Brie is Cinnamon's best friend who is actively being pursued by the town jerk.  He obtains a love potion and when he attempts to use it on Brie, everything backfires and she manages to throw it away from her but hits Felix, a werewolf. Felix believes that Brie is his fated mate and imprints on her, but Brie feels it is just the influence of the potion.  She is afraid of falling for him and getting her heart broke when the potion wears off.  

While that is the main jest of the take, there's still plenty of other action going on.  Young women are mysteriously disappearing and Felix, Cin, Brie and Fallon team up to figure out what is going on.  A weird cult is trying to take over where the last cruel princess took over, but can the gang stop them in time?

This book is best not taken too seriously.  I love all the characters, humans, demons and monsters alike, and it's a fun universe to lose yourself in for a while.  I will say this installment was a bit steamier than the first one but as stuff like that doesn't bother me, I didn't mind. Felix is so darn cute that I really wanted things to work out between him and Brie.

If you love cozy fantasy books with a heavy helping of spice, then this is DEFINITELY the book for you.  I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the third one from Libby and can't wait to see what the author has in store for our next set of main characters.

MY RATING: 5 PAWS



Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Feed Your TBR - Toto

 

Can't Wait Wednesday, which I have adapted to better suit my blog as "Feed Your TBR" is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings to spotlight highly anticipated books.  It is based on the Waiting on Wednesday meme which used to be hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.


November 12, 2024

FROM GOODREADS: I was mostly a Good Dog until they sold me out to animal control, okay?

But if it’s a choice between Oz, with its creepy little singing dudes, and being behind bars in gray old Kansas, I’ll choose the place where animals talk and run the show for now, thanks.

It’s not my fault that the kid is stuck here too, or that she stumbled into a tug-of-war over a pair of slippers that don’t even taste good. Now one witch in good eyeliner calls her pretty and we’re off on a quest? Teenagers.

I try to tell her she’s falling in with the wrong crowd when she befriends a freaking hedge wizard made of straw, that blue jay with revolutionary aspirations, and the walking tin can. Still, I’m not one to judge when there’s the small matter of a coup in the Forest Kingdom....

Look, something really stinks in Oz, and this Wizard guy and the witches positively reek of it. As usual, it’s going to be up to a sensible little dog to do a big dog’s job and get to the bottom of it.

And trust me: Little dogs can get away with anything.

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  Anyone who knows me knows this sounds perfect for me!  In fact, I have already preordered a copy!

WHAT BOOK CAN'T YOU WAIT FOR THIS WEEK???

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Can't Believe It's Been a Year

 



A year ago today, I was forced to say goodbye to my best friend and soul pup, Cassius Gray.  His illness kind of blindsided us, but in retrospect, it explained a lot about his behavior his last 6 months.  I love all my dogs, and consider them my children, but I won't lie, Cassius and I had a special connection.  I was definitely his person and not a day goes by that I don't wish he was still here.  So, I wanted to honor him today by sharing some things I want him to know.

1. Sometimes Mommy and Daddy still cry when thinking about you.  However, they are tears of love and joy and it usually happens when we are discussing funny things you did like the night you got mad because we weren't paying attention and threw a tennis ball at the front door - HARD.

2. We forgive you for the few episodes when you went after your brother Apollo and ended up biting us.  You were sick and didn't know how to tell us and we weren't smart enough to catch on soon enough.  You felt threatened by Apollo but know he never could or would take your place.

3. We fondly call the bite scars special Cassius tattoos.

4. Every time I see a bird in the backyard, I know you're visiting us.  I remember how you used to birdwatch and "made" us fill the feeders each year so more would come around.  We always said you wanted to fly and I'm sure you are soaring high and having so much fun now in Heaven.

5.  Apollo mourned for months after you left.  We rarely saw him smile which told us how much he loved you and needed you.

6.  This leads to the next thing, we finally broke down and got Apollo a baby brother.  His name is Ezekiel but we call him Zeke/Zekey.  He is an absolute nut, but he has helped Apollo so much.

7. When Zekey crawls on my lap and looks up at me with his deep brown eyes, I can see the love in them just like I could yours.  Makes me think there is a part of you in there somewhere. 

8.  Zekey loves playing with all the tennis balls you left him and enjoys rolling them under the couch again and again and again so Mom and Dad have to fetch them.

9. Apollo took over your "apartment" in the bedroom.  I'm sure he still feels your presence there.

10.  And finally, we love as much now as we did then and know we will see you again someday.

Love - Mommy, Daddy, Apollo and Zekey