blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Dogs of the Deadlands – Anthony McGowan

Chernobyl, 1986. The world is coming to an end. Dragged from her bed in the middle of the night and forced to leave her beloved puppy behind, Natasha has no idea if she’ll ever return home. Growing up in the shadow of the ruined nuclear power plant, pups Misha and Bratan need to learn how to live wild – and fast. Creatures with sharp teeth, scythe-like claws and yellow eyes lurk in the overgrown woods. And they’re watching the brothers… But will the dogs survive without humans? And can humans live without them?

Anthony McGowan is one of the most widely acclaimed young adult and children’s authors in the UK. His books have won numerous major awards. In 2020, he was awarded the CILIP Carnegie Medal for Lark. He was also shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal with Rook and won the Booktrust Teenage Prize and the Catalyst Award for Henry Tumour. His YA novel The Knife that Killed Me was made into a critically-lauded film in 2014. Anthony lives in London, with his wife, two children and dog.

My thoughts: this had so many White Fang and Call of the Wild (both by Jack London) vibes. I loved it. We all know I’m a sucker for any story with an animal in it and in this the animals were the stars. The Chrrnobyl disaster and I are the same age (a few months apart) so I don’t remember it, but my parents do and I watched that incredible drama about it during lockdown.

It was really interesting to read a story set in the evacuated area, where only animals and a few tricky people (like Katerina in this book) remained behind. It must have been a real shock to the domesticated animals when their people left. I liked the idea of some of them bonding with their wild cousins, as Zoya does, and joining wolf packs or like Shepherd, staying and guarding their homes. I imagine cats going completely feral. I grew up reading Colin Dann’s City Cats and Animals of Farthing Wood (sob), Watership Down, K.M. Peyton’s horse books, Dick King-Smith (The Sheep Pig among others) and Brian Jacques’ Redwall series. This certainly would sit nicely alongside all of those. Bits are sad and bits are frightening – “nature, red in tooth and claw” in action but the ending is lovely. I liked the Natasha sections less – the wolf-dogs were more interesting but I did enjoy the way the two stories wove together. Definitely one for any young (or not so young) animal lovers.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Pug Actually – Matt Dunn*

Not all heroes wear capes. Some of them wear collars.

A Dog’s Purpose meets The Happy Ever After Playlist in this charming, pitch-perfect take on relationships as seen through the eyes of a wise pug named Doug, who is determined to play cupid to fix his owner’s love life with his own four paws.

Doug wants his rescuer, Julie, to be happy. He is loyal and loves her unconditionally—two things that can’t be said about Julie’s married boss and lover, Luke. Yet Julie is reluctant to break up, afraid to end up like her eccentric cat-owning neighbor. It’s a prospect that horrifies Doug, too.

Newly divorced Tom, on the other hand, is perfect for Julie. Everyone can see it—except for Julie and Tom. Doug is confident that with his help they will get over their initial animosity toward each other.

As Doug humorously navigates the quirks of human relationships, he knows he can’t give up on Julie—after all, being a “rescue” works both ways.

My thoughts: this was a very fun and funny book as Doug the pug (yes, he knows) attempts to sort out owner Julie’s love life, steering her away from bad decisions and into the arms of Tom the V-E-T.

A dog’s eye view of the world, complete with that weird snorting breathing pugs have, drool and trips to the park, Doug risks everything, including assault by Alsatian, to bring these two humans together. It’s very, very silly and made me laugh quite a bit as Doug struggles to understand humans and why they can’t just get on with it, like uncomplicated dogs.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

12 Days of Clink Street: Archie & the Lawlor Cat Hotel – Jane Lawlor*

Today is my second stop on the 12 Days of Clink Street blog tour. I hope you’ve been following all of the other bloggers in the tour poster at the bottom. If not, do check them out.

Congratulations! You have just found the best cat book ever written. I’m Archie and I am a ginger cat and the manager at the most incredible hotel just for cats. I’ve written this book so humans get to meet me and my guests as we get up to all sorts at night including cat rodeo, cat casino night, cat sailing and even skiing. I can’t wait for you to meet my guests and get to know their real personalities, not to mention my team, which includes Dan and Louis the horses and my three faithful hounds Buddy, Dougy and Alfie. Get ready for the read of your life.

My thoughts:

This is a brilliant book narrated by Archie, front of house at the Lawlor Cat Hotel, where as well as check in and out, he handles entertainment and activities for the guests, assisted by his staff of dogs and horses. Oh and the humans do the cooking and cleaning, as it should be.

Over a week of fun and games at the hotel Archie has organised all sorts of terrific activities for his guests, from karaoke to fishing, casino night and even dry slope skiing. He knows how to show these kitties a good time.

A fun and funny read with an excellent narrator and delightful photos of the staff and guests. Purrfect for cat lovers everywhere.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Let’s Talk About Cats – Anita Kelsey*

Let’s Talk About Cats: Conversations on Feline Behaviour features 16 unique in-depth conversations
with devoted feline experts, each chapter answering a question about our cats.

An abundance of catty conversation points which provide many useful takeaways for cat owners to improve their own every-day connection with their cats.

This book, the first of its kind, presents the combined wisdom of experts from all over add space the
world on the psychology, behaviour, diet and training of cats, in a relaxed and add space conversational style.

Contributors include Jackson Galaxy, star of My Cat From Hell, and composer David Teie, whose ground-breaking album, Music for Cats, was released by the Universal Music Group.

Each illuminating chapter exudes a love for cats and a wealth of fascinating insights.

This book is packed with helpful advice, guidance and true stories from the author’s own professional experience of cat care topics, explaining the most important cat concepts, giving food for thought and expanding on all the most important issues and debates in the cat world.

Amazon UK
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Anita Kelsey holds a first class honours degree in Feline Behaviour and Psychology (work based BA
Hons) and runs a vet referral service dedicated strictly to the diagnosis and treatment of behaviour problems in cats.

She is also a qualified cat groomer and specialises in grooming aggressive or phobic cats. Anita writes for Your Cat Magazine and is on their experts panel answering readers questions on cat grooming.

She also advises on feline behaviour for the CFBA (Canine and Feline Behaviour) magazine as well as being a full member.

Anita, a strong advocate of a vegan lifestyle, is based in London but consults all over the UK as well as international requests. She lives with her husband, a music producer, and two Norwegian Forest cats, Kiki and Zaza.

Her debut book ‘Claws. Confessions Of A Professional Cat Groomer’ was published by John Blakes in 2018 and her second book Let’s Talk About Cats, Conversation On Feline Behaviour is due out November 28th 2020.

(I had to include both author photos – the author’s cats are gorgeous!)

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My thoughts:

I love cats, they’re such adorable weirdos, I grew up with them and still miss my childhood chum Tribble (yes, from Star Trek) a lot, even though she crossed the rainbow bridge many years ago.

I currently catsit for friends and neighbours (available to do so across North London and potentially further if you need me!) and my lovely little furry pals always make me smile. I have “shares” in two of my neighbours’ cats as I’ve looked after them and they occasionally pop into to visit.

So, this book was something I was really interested and looking forward to reading – I was not disappointed. Full of useful and interesting information from experts and plenty of advice for cat lovers (not owners, cats have staff!) to help you better understand your feline overlords.

Written in an accessible, friendly and helpful style, with chapters on different areas of cat behaviour, psychology, attitudes, food, training and wisdom, I recommend it for anyone who has cats or is thinking of getting one.

I personally think it will help me get on with my cat clients even better, as they can sometimes be a little tricky to read and it’s helpful to have some ideas about what might be going on in their fluffy little heads.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Trials & Tribulations of a Pet Sitter – Laura Marchant*

Hilarious and heart warming true stories of a Pet Sitter.

Laura takes us on her journey describing the immense joy that the animals have brought into her
life. But it’s not all fun and games.

With sometimes as many as ten dogs around her home, things
can get a tad hectic. Not to forget the every day challenges faced in keeping the pets happy and safe when out walking. Luckily she is not alone in her quest; her unusually dominant Golden Retriever ‘Brece’ is always by her side. Brece earns her keep
by convincingly playing the part of the alpha female, ensuring harmony amongst the pack.

At times, the responsibility that Laura faces becomes overwhelming. She may think she has everything covered but that hand of fate could quite easily swoop down, creating havoc for her and the dogs. Laura has endured many close calls and teetered on the precipice of disaster may a time.

The longer she continues with her pet sitting enterprise, the more likely hood that total disaster will actually strike. Is she tempting fate?

Laura Marchant is the Bridget Jones of the pet sitting world!

Amazon UK
Amazon US

About the author

Laura Marchant was born in 1959 in the seaside resort of Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, England. Both her parents were born in the same town, so not exactly a family of intrepid travellers!
As a child Laura and her siblings were fortunate enough to own shares in the families pets.

Unbeknown to Laura at the time, her love for the animals formed the blueprint for a large part of her life. In 2011 she finally found her vocation, and in the comfort of her own home, set up a pet boarding business.

For the next 7 years she shared her abode with a pack of dogs. A lot of this time was spent watching over the animals and observing their behaviour, which in turn inspired her to write her first novel ‘Trials and Tribulations of a Pet Sitter’.

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My thoughts:

As someone who has done some pet sitting and dog walking I related so much to the chaos and characters Laura deals with in her book. From crazy dogs to OTT owners, her own dominant Brece (pronounced Bressay) who bosses the guest dogs about, runaways and furniture destroyers. Laura has dealt with a whole host of canines, felines and humans.

This was a fun and funny read, Laura brings her animal clients to life with their adventures and I could really see each creature as she tells the story of how she came to know them and love them.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.