Sunday Lowdown #97


Last Sunday I had a date with Lou @ Lou Lou Reads to chat about The House on the Strand. It was so wonderful to see and talk to her; she’s fiercely intelligent and truly kind. Living on different continents always means we have different perspectives to share. Unfortunately, Lou hasn’t been blogging as much lately because she’s a trained nurse in the U.K., whose job is to train other nurses. Very Important work in the pandemic. I can’t wait until things are reasonable and she can share more posts.

The lady in the next apartment building cares for around four to ??? feral cats, one of them being a friendly orange beast. I remember when he first showed up and she tried to shoo him away. Who wants to feed every cat that walks by? She claimed she could have went to Hawaii for all the cat supplies she’s bought. Nicknamed Agent Orange by my husband, this fella fell asleep in a sunbeam in front of my apartment and came when I called him.

After twelve years of singing the show tunes that appear in the fabulous movie Wall-e, I finally rented a copy of Hello, Dolly! If only they cut out the part where Walter Matthau’s character decides in a nano-second that he’s not a total old crotch in love with Dolly, the movie would have been just the best thing ever. Who am I kidding? I still loved it! Every time a song that was in Wall-e came on, I got all teary.


It’s not clear whether Daphne du Maurier’s novel The House on the Strand is more time travel or drug trip, but it wasn’t my favorite of her works. Unfortunately, the 14th-century characters were hard to remember or get to know.

Joanne Harris’s last book in her Chocolat Series, entitled The Strawberry Thief, wasn’t that great, either! Although there were interesting secondary characters, Harris could have written them in any book — a new book — that didn’t also try to weave in Vianne Rocher, who keeps changing as she ages, to which readers don’t always respond well.

#ReadingValdemar 2020 is over! It was a better year than 2019 thanks to each trilogy being a different plot arc. When we got caught up in two trilogies in 2019 that neither Jackie nor I loved, that was rough. Looking forward to #ReadingValdemar 2021 and concluding this three-year-long journey.


On Tuesday I have an audiobook review: Bones on Ice, another novella by Kathy Reichs. Well, I had to see if the first novella was a fluke, right? I’m not doing a series dive, though. I also listened to the first full-length novel, Déjà Dead, and got distracted any time Dr. Brennan mentioned family, friends, and police. I just want the bones!

Thursday is another book I chose to see if a fat character could be written with dignity: Game of Hearts by Cathy Yardley. I got a cosplay clothing designer meets auto garage mechanic combined with some motorcycle club/potential gang activity and a mix of family problems. It was fun! Definitely a romance, but more cute than sultry, though there are steamy moments.



  1. I’m not much of a cat person but I have a theory that orange cats are the nicest. Our neighbours have one (whom we creatively called Orange Cat until we learned his name) and he always comes prancing up to us for belly rubs!


    • Yeah, when Agent Orange first came around, he was super friendly. I wasn’t sure if he was lost or dumped off (the lady who cares for all the feral cats has a theory that people know she cares for cats and dumps them off on purpose).

      Liked by 1 person

        • He was so sweet and affectionate, but we already have one cat. She HATES other animals and will beat them up. So, it’s not safe for him in my house. However, “Wilderness Lady,” as she is known, takes good care of these cats. She feeds them, spoils them, they have shots and are spayed/neutered. He’s a happy man outside, tormenting squirrels and chilling in a sun beam. He’s been out there for a couple of years now.

          Liked by 1 person

          • That’s fair. I felt sure you were someone who would have a cat if you could but didn’t remember you having one! I’m glad your neighbour takes care of their health beyond just feeding them. I’ve heard terrible stories about people who are basically just cat hoarders.


  2. Orange cats are super, we still mourn the loss of our ginger-and-white boy last year. And I look forward to some happier reviews this week after two not so great ones (I’m being REALLY careful with which DDMs I continue to read after doing Rebecca and Jamaica Inn this last year – so many odd ones!).


    • My Cousin Rachel feels like more of a mystery/thriller, where you’re always trying to figure out who the heck is being honest. I really enjoyed the tension. Maybe try that one next?

      I’m sorry about your cat. Like Karissa said: perhaps orange cats are the nicest of all!


  3. I’ve seen Agent Orange before, he (?) looks rather less than feral. I know Louis Armstrong singing Hello Dolly but that is about as far as I go. What is Wall.e? Should I ask my (non-television watching) grandchildren? I’m sorry I’ve dropped off following your Reading Valdemar adventure, but I like the look of Voices of the Enslaved.


    • I think I have shared a picture of Agent Orange before. I think he used to be someone else’s house cat, but he’s been outside for a few years now. The woman who cares for all the wilderness creatures around our area spoils those cats to pieces. He’s rather happy, tormenting birds and squirrels and napping in sun beams. I would guess he’s not quite feral…. the other cats won’t let me get near them.

      Louis Armstrong has a brief part in Hello, Dolly! where he sings the title song with Barbra Steisand.

      Wall-e is a Disney Pixar movie in which robots are left on Earth to clean up garbage while humans live a lazy, gluttonous on a giant space cruise. One of those robots develops a personality, including a love of Hello, Dolly! The music, story, and images in that film are wonderful.

      Voices of the Enslaved was just published and won a prize. I discovered it because it was written by a University of Notre Dame professor.


  4. OMG Agent Orange looks adorable and I love that nickname. And how sweet that that woman feeds cats. I have a neighbor that feeds squirrels and our neighborhood is literally overrun with them. She gives them peanuts in shells and my backyard and garden is full of the shells like a country western bar LOL


  5. Ah, I already love Agent Orange! So nice of him to stick around and come when he’s called. 🙂 I’ve got a yellow stray hanging around the farm lately too. At first she was very shy but now it’s hard to walk around the yard when she’s around because she likes to attach herself to our ankles! The inside kitties are very suspicious and spend a long time sniffing my socks when I come back in, but I hope she’ll hang around because it’s been years since we’ve had any yellow/orange types here!


    • Do you know where ankle kitty came from? I was reading stories on Reddit the other day about how people think they own a cat only to learn that it’s properly belongs to a neighbor several houses over. Several people wrote stories about this! They thought the cat was theirs because it would sleep on their bed every night, or fed the cat every day — stuff like actually cuts of meat, lol. Cats are HILARIOUS.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m sure this one wandered over from one of the neighboring farms or rode here on someone’s vehicle, to be so friendly! That’s why we haven’t named her yet, waiting to see if anyone will come looking for her first or if she’ll go back on her own. Farm cats come and go- the joke is most definitely on us, when they adopt multiple owners to feed and spoil them! It’s pretty common here to toss out table scraps and whatnot to the farm cats, so they do get cuts of meat now and then, lol. I never turn away a stray, and I hope that when any of my cats have ever wandered that the neighbors take care of them too. Mostly from what I’ve heard, they do.

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