Saturday, 10 November 2018

Fostering: Slug and Hedgehog!

After fostering Gilbert and Esther, I took a bit of a break from fostering as there wasn't any to take in for a while, and I was doing some travelling. However, a week before my birthday I got the best present- cats to look after! Enter these two who were a painfully shy mother and daughter duo that needed socialisation while we found the perfect home for them.



Initially, I called them Selina and Helena after Catwoman and The Huntress because I thought their markings looked like the masks that comic book heroes wear! But eventually that turned into Slug and Hedgehog because Slug looked like a slug with her sleek dark fur when she settled on your lap, and Hedgehog was always a little prickly.



Being younger, Slug was much easier to socialise and would eventually lay on my lap for hours. But Hedgehog didn't have such a drastic improvement. They weren't feral, they didn't attack and hadn't been brought in from an outside colony. They had just hadn't had the most interactive experience with humans which can be tough to 'fix' after they hit that 6 month mark. She had a habit of pulling the blanket that I keep on my desk chair, onto the ground in a heap and burrowing into it.



In the end, they were adopted together, a little over a month after I first got them. I got to drop them off at their new home, with their new human who was in love with them the minute they arrived and was prepared to be patient when it came to interaction. After Gilbert and Esther ending up in an adoption centre for weeks, which gave me a lot of anxiety even though Cats Protection adoption centres are wonderful, it was a great experience to take these two to their new home and say goodbye!

And five days later I had my next three fosters! But I'll leave that for another post.

Have you ever seen such beautiful cats in your life? 

Monday, 5 November 2018

Book Review: Christmas with the East End Angels by Rosie Hendry!

The 'Saga' genre isn't featured very much in my reading, despite the appeal of the covers with their pretty distinctive style and quantity of them at my local library. So, when I was offered a book in the genre that also focused on two of my big interests in fiction; Christmas and WWII, I was ready to read Christmas with the East End Angels*!



It's the most wonderful time of the year - and the East End Angels are working hard to keep Londoners safe.

Frankie is trying hard to keep everything together. She can count on the support of the East End Angels, even in the face of family trouble.
Winnie's beloved husband, Mac, is putting himself at risk every day in the bomb disposal unit and she's finding it hard while he's away.
Bella is growing in confidence and happiness. Her friendship with Winnie's brother, James, is getting closer all the time.

Christmas on the Home Front is a hard time with loved ones far away - but the women of the Auxiliary Ambulance service are making do and mending.

The books I lean towards are very suspenseful and action-packed so this was a change. It focuses on London post-Blitz and feels very calm and away from the action of war, despite their readiness! With this came a focus on character and feeling that, despite not reading the previous two books in the series, meant that I was emotionally invested. It was so relatable that I felt their grief and even found myself getting a little teary eyed!

It was also quite cheesy. It's definitely part of the charm of this genre but the dialogue isn't always super realistic with everyone saying every little positive thing they think out loud. There are lots of declarations about doing what they need to do for the war and keeping calm and carrying on!

This is balanced out by the amount of research and background knowledge that Rosie Hendry obviously has on the time period. It isn't overdone as some historical fiction is, where the authors are trying to shove every bit of information they have in. Hendry writes like people living at the time with her characters revealing interesting tidbits: like the lack of rationing on sprouts!, in a realistic way that I really appreciated.

Since it is Christmas of the East End Angels, the book covers two Christmases and the year in between. This is a nice way to ease you into the season since I know not everyone is as keen as I am to get their decorations up as soon as the last trick-or-treater has taken their candy. Personally, I would've preferred a bit more of a festive vibe, but I have been singing carols since September so I'm not sure I can be trusted...

Are you a fan of the Saga genre? Have you started reading your Christmas themed books yet?

Monday, 29 October 2018

Books I Read in July!

Think back to July. It was blazing hot. Every corner shop was running out of ice, air conditioners were sold out on Amazon, Twitter was aflush with gifs of things melting, and I was reading these books. Now I look out the window and it's raining, so it's about time I post this, huh?!



Kitty Rocks the House by Carrie Vaughn
Something I really appreciate about this series is how often the characters talks out their problems rather than resorting to violence, especially for a bunch of werewolves and vampires. Urban fantasy can get super violent but Vaughn has a level-headed main character that can be in some tough situations without spilling blood.
One thing I will say about this, and the last Kitty Norville book that I read in June, is that the writing has got a little boring. I didn't find a single quote in either that stuck out to me as beautiful or powerful and that's kind of disappointing to me. I haven't picked up the next book yet but hopefully this series can get back to when my books were covered in sticky notes.


Full Moon by P.G. Wodehouse
I love these books and the antics of various characters. However, this one took a bit of a turn. I've never been so uncomfortable reading a book, I literally cringed. It wasn't violence, smut or slurs but a character Veronica refusing to give up an accidental switch-up present. Much like a five-year-old throwing a tantrum but it's a grown woman and my soul left my body listening to the audiobook.
The rest was wonderful though, and this series is so nice to stick on while cleaning or trying to sleep.
"I wouldn't say a word against Aunt Dora, so I won't call her England's leading snob."


A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
I've had this on my TBR for a couple of years and was really excited when I finally picked it up because this felt like my dream urban fantasy for about a third of the book.  I loved the main character, Diana, who is a professor, because she spent a lot of time in libraries and doing research things- I just really enjoy reading about this stuff!
Then it veered off on a strange path. Soon after meeting the handsome vampire, her personality disappears. Instead replaced by a lot of talk of obeying and protecting her, plus some literal kidnapping. I'm tired of vampires who don't understand that breaking into a woman's bedroom is creepy and I'm tired of Stockholm Syndrome-style romances.
I really enjoy the Urban Fantasy genre but I demand a heroine that actually has some common sense.


What did you read in July?

Saturday, 20 October 2018

My Hallowreadathon 5 TBR!

It's getting close to the best day of the year: Halloween! I still need to stock up on chocolate but considering we didn't get any trick-or-treaters last year and I have an assignment due on the second day of my own dang readathon... it's mostly for me. You can learn more about the Hallowreadathon and the challenges here, and here's the pile of books I'll be picking from!



So what are my choices for the challenges?



1. Read a book with a Magic World!
Beyond the Deepwoods by Paul Stewart & Chris Riddell was a big part of my childhood and I find the world so lovely and, dare I say, magical that I had to add it to the list.
I'm currently re-reading the Magisterium series and will hopefully be up to the fifth and final book: The Golden Tower by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare by Halloween!
Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine is an almost complete mystery to me beyond the fact that I really enjoy Rachel Caine, this is a fantasy series with a book/ library theme and it's currently £1 on Amazon. I had to!



2. Read a book with Green on the cover!
Finding books with green on the cover is surprisingly hard! You'd think with grass, and trees, and just the fact that it's the best colour (totally not bias) that there'd be a lot more green covers. But what did I manage to find?
A Christmas Return by Anne Perry* dropped through my letterbox and it has so many things going for it: it's short, it's very green and the readathon lasts until the day after Halloween = Christmas.
Bodacious: The Shepherd Cat by Suzanna Crampton* has to be on the list because not only is grass green, but this kitty has the prettiest green eyes! Curling up with whatever foster cat I'll have at the time and reading about cats seems like spoopy goals.
Persuasion by Jane Austen is also on the list because I'm a huge audiobook fan and since the audiobook is 9 hours, I can totally do that in one day! Plus, I've been in a real Austen mood lately.

Are you joining the readathon? What are your picks for the challenges?

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