Friday, June 5, 2020


Julie Howard visits today with a look at her June 3, 2020 release, SEA-SALT LAVENDER FOR APHRODITE, part of the One Scoop or Two summer series from The Wild Rose Press. All the books in this series relate to ice cream in some way. In the case of this book, the heroine Rosella operates an ice cream food truck business in a beach side community. And since Aphrodite is Rosella's dog, it's fitting that Julie is talking about her all-time favorite books featuring animals. Welcome Julie!

My top 10 favorite books that feature animals and pets

What is it about furry creatures that captures our hearts? The first book that ever made me cry was Where the Red Fern Grows. I read it in the fourth grade at least five or six times and cried every time. It’s a beautiful coming-of-age story about a young boy and his two dogs. Black Beauty, the story about a horse, was another childhood favorite.

Aside from those, here are the rest of my top ten favorite books that feature animals, in no particular order:

No. three – Animal Farm. This is a classic story and allegory about how power corrupts.

No. four – Charlotte’s Web. I always wanted a pig for a pet after reading this story. Maybe someday…

No. five – Life of Pi – This one’s a bit grim. But I love this tale about a boy who travels across the ocean with a tiger aboard a small craft. Or was it a tiger?

No. six – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. This is more about the autistic boy who sets out to solve the murder of a dog. Beautifully written.

No. seven – Jonathan Livingston Seagull – I’ve reread this one more than a dozen times. An uplifting story of a seagull with dreams of a bigger life.

No. eight – Moby Dick. I hated this book the first time I read it in high school. I read it again a couple of decades later and now it makes my top ten list. Those classics have great meaning!

No. nine – Can I slip in Game of Thrones, based on the dragons? I devoured this series and would the author please finish it soon.

No. ten – The Black Stallion. Another childhood favorite and the movie based on this book is also one of my favorite movies. An enduring classic in my mind.

And here’s my own book that features a smart standard poodle named Aphrodite. Sea Salt Lavender for Aphrodite, a cozy mystery, released this week.

Sea-Salt Lavender for Aphrodite

A case of murder with sweet complications

Rosella Rivers enjoys the perfect life, loving her new ice cream food truck business featuring exotic flavors. But her beach view parking space is not so lovable when she finds an acquaintance stabbed to death in the boardwalk bathroom.

Detective Mark Pruitt knows murder is bad for small-town Olympus Bay. He must find the suspect before he strikes again. When he first sets eyes on Rosella, the only witness, he is smitten. However, there's no time for romance when danger lurks. 
Together he and the lovely ice cream maker must discover the killer before he turns his sight on Rosella.


The echo of a drip-drip-drip resonated from within. Rosella glanced around, wishing a man would pass by, someone she could send inside on her behalf. On this side of the structure, though, the beachfront was hidden from view and the building backed by sand dunes. Unless someone needed to use the facilities, they wouldn’t approach. 


A distant chime from the town clock made her heart sink. Ten a.m. Opening time. She had to get back to her truck. A fresh round of anxious yips sounded. She scooted to the corner of the building and peeked toward her truck. Aphrodite stood at attention, straining at the leash. The dog barked twice at spotting her and renewed efforts to break free of the tether.

She returned to the doorway. “Mick, I’m just going to step inside since I’m a little bit worried, just to make sure you’re okay. Let me know if I shouldn’t come in.” No response sounded. “All right, coming in.”

The odor hit her first. Heavy, sweet, sickening. Then her eyes registered the scene. Mick lay face down in the middle of the tile floor, a steady stream of deep red blood winding its way toward a drain.

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Author Bio: 

Julie Howard is the author of the best-selling Wild Crime and Spirited Quest series. She is a former journalist and editor who has covered topics ranging from crime to cowboy poetry. Now she edits an online anthology, Potato Soup Journal, and spends many delightful hours writing her books.

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  1. Thanks for being my guest, Julie!

  2. Oh my gosh, I LOVED Jonathan Livingston Seagull!!!!

  3. Great post. My favorites are the James Heriot books and horse books like War Admiral and Seabiscuit. Oops, cant forget the Misty of Chincoteague books.Best of luck with your book! D. V.🦉

    1. Donna, those James Herriot books are some of my favorites. I loved the TV series, too.

  4. The James Herriot books are my favorites of them all. My friend Kathi Thompson also writes a cozy series with cats as hilarious secondary characters that have found a place in my heart. I still love your title!