Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 7, 2023

Book Giveaway: IT’S A RHAP, CAT by Lee Y. Miao

Lee Y. Miao is the debut author of a middle grade book, IT’S A RHAP, CAT, illustrated by Penny Weber and published by Clear Fork Publishing coming out on February 21, 2023. Lee has agreed to send a copy to one lucky winner living in the US.

All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Thank you for helping Lee and Penny.


A twelve-year-old history nerd. A mysterious lady in a Rome art gallery.
When twelve-year-old Cat discovers her look-alike in a portrait by Raphael, she can’t wait to research this mysterious lady from the 16th century. But sparks fly when she signs up for the Renaissance History and Art Project (RHAP) contest.

To win, Cat needs to ask her one-time rival, Trey. She’s distracted by softball. He’s distracted by lacrosse. They’re both distracted by the class diva.

Will she find clues in old letters handed down over generations? Or will the lady’s secrets remain undeciphered? It’s up to Cat to solve the riddle. If only more than five hundred years didn’t stand in her way!


Writing this book, I have to agree with the phrase “progress isn’t linear.” After I wrote my first novel, I visited some museums in Rome and was enthralled with Raphael’s Portrait of a Lady with a Unicorn. While I eventually had a full-manuscript draft, I was flailing, so for fun I took a workshop on writing short stories. My submission was about an elementary schoolgirl, based on my own experience, who beat a boy in arm wrestling while thwarting off comments about her little soda can.

Bingo—that was the spark I needed. Somehow, I ended up redefining Cat, the main character, who ends up trying to solve an art mystery with a boy in her class.  One of the early chapters includes this scene.

Unlike the first novel, most of the setting takes place in middle school—my favorite years—with fun, drama, competition, and colorful characters. Throughout the story, Cat’s journey has her research women in Italian Renaissance art. The book includes a few chapters in Rome as Cat seeks to solve her puzzling family ties with long-ago ancestors.


Lee grew up in a small Pennsylvania town spending many hours in its fabulous library. She studied international relations and worked with a magazine in New York City before graduate studies in business. Her international banking work in California included a stint in Asia for a few years. Eventually, she became a freelance writer and editor for grades 6–8 English language arts and social studies projects. After moving to New York, she pivoted to writing middle-grade fiction, her favorite genre.

Lee’s stories are about contemporary characters who discover connections to their cultures and families from their pasts. You can follow her on Instagram @LeeYMiao.writer. Please sign up for news and updates about her writing life at

She lives with her family and a ball-chasing dog and when not writing, enjoys concerts, travel, and spectator sports. Read more about Lee and her books at


Penny Weber is a full-time children’s book illustrator from Long Island, New York, where she’s lived all her life. She creates digital illustrations that mimic the look of water color and traditional painting.

Check out her gallery at Penny was featured on Illustrator Saturday. Here’s the link.

Penny attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City where she studied graphic design and illustration.

Lee, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. This book sounds like a good mystery. I love how she notices an old museum painting of a lady who is a dead wringer for her and starts to hunt for details about the woman in the 16th century painting. Adults are not the only ones who love mysteries, kid do, too. This second book sounds like another winner and I am sure kids will be interested in exploring Rome. I love the cover illustrator Penny Weber created for your book. Wishing you much success!

Talk Tomorrow,



  1. What a marvelous way for kids to learn about art and history. Can’t wait to read it! Good luck!


  2. Ooh I’d love to win this for my tween history nerd.
    I’m on the email list.


  3. Fun! Art and a mystery! Congrats, Penny and Lee!

    I follow by email and tweeted this post. 🙂


  4. What a great idea for a book! I so want to read it. The cover looks terrific also, as the heroine does have the look of a Raphael portrait (thinking of the Birth of Venus here)


  5. Mysteries are still my favorite and have been since Nancy Drew. I’m an email subscriber and shared on Pinterest, tumblr, and Twitter.


  6. This sounds like a great story! Thanks for telling me about it. I subscribe to your blog by email.


  7. This is a great read for mystery loving youngsters. And I enjoyed it as well.


  8. I’ll definitely post on Facebook and twitter! Best of luck Lee!


  9. Love hearing about this story–fun and adventure to unravel the mystery of The Lady with the Unicorn.


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