Be More Cat by Alison Davies (Review)

Be More Cat: Life Lessons from our feline friends by Alison Davies

About the author

Alison Davies is an author, columnist for Child Education and a freelance writer for a range of magazines including Nursery World and Mother and Baby.

Blurb

Careful observation of the behavioural quirks of our favourite felines can actually be very revealing. From living in the moment, to trusting our sixth-sense instincts, to taking cat naps, and even going feral, there are real benefits to being more cat! In Be More Cat, Alison Davies explores nine key traits we can take on board to be more cat-like and live a happier, healthier, and all around ‘feline fabulous’ existence. With practical tips and exercises, interspersed with folklore and fun facts about our kitty gurus, there’s something for everyone in this cute, fully illustrated guide!

Review

I received this book as a Christmas present off my cats, maybe they are hinting that I am too stressed and need to be more relaxed like a cat. This is essentially a mindfulness book, linking mindfulness with cats’ behaviour and how we can use things that cats do to become more relaxed.

I really enjoyed this book and it did make me giggle a lot and I must admit I read it in one sitting as I just could not put it down. The other element I really liked was that the book has nine chapters like a cat has nine lives and each chapter was somehow cat related.

The book gives helpful little exercises that should help us and are what cats do, for instance cats will stare at a wall for hours on end in our case we would meditate. There are a lot of these different exercises in the book to help us be more mindful but I must admit some do tend to repeat themselves. There are also some cat related tips in the book which are also very amusing and very factual.

The other thing I loved about this book was the wonderful little cat illustrations that run through the book. The book is also scattered with cat related quotes which I really enjoyed.

This book is basically a self help book and the exercises are all basically yoga or meditation based but linking them to cats is brilliant. I really enjoyed this book and give it 4 out 5 Dragons. The only reason it did not get the full 5 Dragons was because it was a little repetitive. Highly recommend to all cat lovers out there!

Purchase Links

Waterstones

Happy Reading!

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Tidings: A Christmas Journey by Ruth Padel (Book Review)

Tidings: A Christmas Journey by Ruth Padel

9781784741068

About the author

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Ruth Padel is a prize-winning poet, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and Reader in Poetry at King’s College London. Her most recent collections include Darwin: A Life in Poems on her great-great-grandfather Charles Darwin, The Mara Crossing on migration and immigration, and Learning to Make an Out in Nazareth on the Middle East. She lives in London, the place where she was born.

Blurb

It’s Christmas Eve and on this enchanted night Charoum, the Angel of Silence, can speak. As night turns to day, he unfolds a resonant story of a little girl, a homeless man and a fox…

In the tradition of Charles Dickens and Dylan Thomas, Tidings takes us on a journey into the heart of Christmas, showing us celebrations down the ages and across the globe – as dawn sweeps from East Australia to Bethlehem, from London to the Statue of Liberty in New York.

This is Christmas in all its magic, reminding us that it is a time not only of good tidings, but of loneliness and longing, compassion and connection.

Beautifully illustrated and exquisitely musical, Tidings is a poem to be read out loud and cherished.

Review

Wow, what a beautiful book, I am so pleased I bought this book. This book is absolutely stunning and I think it will be become a Christmas tradition to read it every Christmas in my house. It took me less than an hour to read and I could not put it down and afterwards I could not wait to tell my husband about this beautiful book I had just finished.

This is the first work by Ruth Padel that I have ever read and it will not be my last. I loved how it used the carols from the children’s church service in the poem and it was beautifully entwined together. I also loved how reminiscent of Charles Dickens the poem’s story is, it reminds us that Christmas is not just about celebrating but also about remembering that there are people out there that do not find Christmas a time of celebration but of loneliness, hunger, fear and bad memories.

The contrast between the homeless man and the little girl is brilliant. The little girl is wondering if Father Christmas got her letter about the puppy she wants, her life is full of safety, happiness, love and wanting for nothing. The homeless man is full of memories he wishes to forget. He’s hungry, unwashed, unloved and only has one friend in the world, a little fox.

This book is beautiful and if you only want to read one festive book this year or next year I fully recommend this one. I have already been recommending it to friends and family. It is definitely a festive 5 out of 5 Dragons.

Purchase Links

Waterstones

Book Depository

 

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The Nutcracker illustrated by Niroot Puttapipat (Mini Book Review)

The Nutcracker by E. T. A Hoffmann, retold by Kate Davies, illustrated by Niroot Puttapipat

Blurb

A beautifully illustrated retelling of The Nutcracker, capturing the magic of the ballet and the excitement of Christmas Eve. Join Clara and the Nutcracker Prince on a journey to the land of sweets, brought to life in a spectacular pop-up finale.

Review

Every Christmas I read a different version of The Nutcracker, this does mean I have quite a few different versions of The Nutcracker in my house now. This year’s choice is a little children’s version which is very abridged with beautiful illustrations and a stunning pop up illustration at the end.

I must admit I did miss a great deal of the story but understand why it had been shortened in such a way. The other thing I loved was how the story flowed so well, even though elements of the story were missing it did not make the story disjointed in any way.

I thoroughly enjoyed this little book and highly recommend it to children and adults. However, care needs to be taken with the pop up illustration as it is very delicate and could easily be damaged. I give this little book a massive 5 out of 5 Dragons.

Purchase links

Book Depository

Waterstones

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The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde (Review)

The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde

9781911547709

About the author

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Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was born in Dublin in 1854. He was a playwright, poet, novelist and short story writer.

Blurb

Everybody in the county knows that the great manor of Canterville Chase has been haunted for 300 years. But when the American minister Mr Otis moves in with his wife and  family, they refuse to be frightened by something as Old World as a ghost.

The Canterville Ghost vows to have his revenge and terrify them all to death with his most despicable deeds. But after the minister offers practical solutions such as Pinkerton’s Champion Stain Remover for the bloodstain in the sitting room, and the twin boys torture him by pelleting him with their peashooters, it’s the poor ghost who is left severely spooked.

Can he possibly rescue his reputation, or will the family offer him a chance to finally lay his – detachable – head down forever?

Review

I was very excited to find this book whilst looking for Christmas presents at Waterstones. I love the film of this story where the ghost is played by Patrick Stewart.

This is a super little short story where you can not help but feel sorry for the poor ghost. He has spent all his ghostly life haunting and terrifying the residents of the manor and now all of a sudden he has a family he can not scare and who delight in scaring him instead. He tries all his tricks but to no avail and slowly it starts to affect his health. That’s if ghosts actually do have ill health?

The Otis family are stereotypically American and a real good laugh. They take everything in their stride and are not fazed by anything. Thankfully one member of this family can also be the ghost’s biggest aid.

I love this little story, I find it sweet and funny and just generally a fun read. I highly recommend this book to everyone and give it a massive 5 out of 5 Dragons.

Purchase Links

Waterstones

Book Depository

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Festive Spirits by Kate Atkinson (Review)

Festive Spirits by Kate Atkinson

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About the author

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Kate Atkinson was born in 1951 and is an English writer of novels, plays and short stories. She is the creator of the Jackson Brodie detective novels. She has won the Whitbread Book of the Year in 1995 and in 2013 and 2015 she won the Costa Book Awards.

Blurb

Three Festive Stories

Review

This was a nice short read of only 68 pages and although I read it in one sitting it can easily be dipped into.

The first story is called Lucy’s Day and it is all based on Lucy a mother of four who has given up her top career job to look after her family and in a way look after her elderly cleaner who doesn’t do much cleaning anymore and really just needs company. This is just one day in the hectic life of Lucy and out of all the chaos it shows the Christmas spirit coming through and that no matter how busy you are over Christmas you can still take time to appreciate the magic of it all.

The second story Festive Spirit was my least favourite of the three. I really hated the ending of this story, I found it disappointing and frustrating. I was hoping for so much more from this story and it just felt like a major cop out at the end.

The third story was my favourite. It showed that, for some, Christmas can be a lonely affair and also a time of bad news. However, it also showed that Christmas can be the time of contemplation and planning new beginnings. My favourite part was when Gerald was walking Dog and came along to the church; it really warmed my heart. This story was truly beautiful and it brought a little tear to my eye.

I gave this book 3 out of 5 Dragons because I just did not enjoy the second story. However, the first and third story make this book a well worth read and I highly recommend it.

Purchase Links

Book Depository

Waterstones

 

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A Very Country Christmas by Zara Stoneley (Review)

A Very Country Christmas by Zara Stoneley

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About the author

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Zara Stoneley is the USA Today bestselling author of The Wedding Date.

Born in a small village in the UK, she wanted to be a female James Herriot, a spy, or an author when she grew up. After many (many) years, and many different jobs, her dream of writing a bestseller came true.

She writes about friendship, dreams, love, and happy ever afters, and hopes that her tales make you laugh a lot, cry a little, and occasionally say ‘ahhh’.

Zara now lives in a Cheshire village with her family

Blurb

A short Christmas story of three courses.

Love is in the air in Tippermere as Lottie dreams of a white Christmas with no trimmings – other than her hot and hunky eventer, Rory. But things are never quite that simple on the Tipping House Estate.

Festive fervour takes over and it isn’t all seasonal peace and goodwill as expectations rise and it soon escalates from cosy dinner for two, to all the trimmings for ten!

With missing turkeys, loose horses, troublesome terriers and randy huntsmen, Lottie is hard pushed to find time for a kiss under the mistletoe, let alone find the opportunity to woo Rory with her sexy Santa costume.

But there is only one thing Lottie really wants for Christmas, and only one man can deliver it…

Review

This was a lovely little freebie off Apple Books and I read it in a day so it was a nice quick read.

The first thing I liked about this story was the setting, immediately it seemed to me to be the idyllic Christmas setting. There was a mansion, a stable yard and a cosy little flat overlooking a stables, oh and a country pub you can walk to. Sounds perfect to me!

The main character in the story was Lottie and I must admit she is very brave inviting so many to Christmas Dinner and offering to cook it all. Her partner Rory is obviously a very patient man because he does not bat an eyelid when he finds out how many people she has invited when it was meant to be just the two of them. However, Lottie is very trusting in my opinion, considering the texts Rory gets from young beautiful women!

There are funny bits in this story, romantic moments and drama and it will definitely make you giggle. The only thing that spoilt it for me and the reason it did not get the full 5 Dragons was the use of the bad language which I found unnecessary and a character description at the beginning. I really do not like character descriptions, I like to discover the characters for myself.

This is a real feel good book and perfect for the festive season. I will definitely be looking at the other Tippermere books because I really want to read about the characters a bit more.

 

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Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay (Review)

Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay

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About the author

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Adam Kay is an award-winning comedian and author of the million-copy bestseller This is Going to Hurt. He previously worked as a junior doctor and currently lives in London.

Blurb

Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas is the hilarious, poignant and entertaining story of the life of a junior doctor at the most challenging time of the year. With twenty-five tales of intriguing, shocking and incredible Christmas incidents, the British public will finally appreciate the sacrifices made and the challenges faced by the unsung heroes of the NHS.

Review

This was a book I got on my Christmas shopping expedition to Birmingham where I went slightly wild buying Christmas books. I have not read Adam Kay’s previous book This is Going to Hurt but my best friend has and highly recommended the book to me but I started with his Christmas book instead and hope to read his first soon.

I did enjoy this book and loved the stories and it really does show how hard the NHS work and what they have to sacrifice in their lives. The other element that I liked was that Kay gave warnings about particularly harrowing stories and gave you the option to skip to the next story. I was brave and read these stories and I must admit the one nearly made me cry, I really did not realise even such a procedure existed.

This book really was an eye opener and really made me think about everyone who works for the NHS and what they have to put up with on a daily basis let alone over the holiday period. I really did feel sorry for Kay, that he had to work so many Christmas days over the years. I really think that something as special as Christmas Day should be taken in turns with staff.

The main issue I had with the book was that the comedy just felt forced and too much for me at times. I could have done with a little less comedy in the book and overall I think I would have enjoyed it a bit more. The stories in themselves were amusing and unbelievable in most cases they did not need Kay’s extra layer of comedy on the top.

I did enjoy the book and recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about working in the NHS and what an employee in NHS has to put up with. The book is only short and will not take long to read and you can easily dip in and out of it. I rate this book 3 out of 5 Dragons.

Purchase Links

Waterstones

Book Depository

 

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