Dook In Peace Katniss 

The weekend before last took a shocking and heart-breaking turn when we had to have our little sweet creature Katniss put to sleep. She’d had a few health problems, but it hadn’t seemed like anything too imminently serious, and she was due to have another few tests soon. I’d heard several warning stories about how ferrets can take very dramatic turns for the worse, and unfortunately this was the case here. 

On the Friday she’d been her usual playful, greedy, intrusive self. On the Saturday evening, around midnight we noticed she was very lethargic and walking like she was drunk. I checked on her at 7am on Sunday morning and she had enough energy to come over to me and grab on to my arm, but could barely move otherwise.

We rushed her to the vet, where they told us her blood sugar was dangerously low. We left her with them for several hours where they tried to stabilise her and ran some tests, but by lunch time, it seemed that her body did not want to fight, and further scans had suggested she had severe insulinoma and adrenal. After a lot of discussion of our options, and a lot of tears and cuddles, it was clear that the best option for her was to put her to sleep that day. 

She had the injections wrapped in her favourite blanket, with me stroking her head and Dean holding her paw. She went peacefully and surrounded by love and I think that’s the best we can hope for any of our pets.

I think she knew that morning what was happening. She hung on to me and just wanted to be held, she nuzzled into Dean’s chin when he was upset, she kept looking at us and making sure we were close when we were at the vets. I think that, even though she passed young, she was happy to the end.

I will always miss her. She and Haymitch were my first ferrets, and even though they are all incredibly special, she was the quickest to bond with us, and was the baby of the group, even when Finnick came and she wasn’t the youngest anymore. She loved a cwtch and she was a very special kind of derpy. She was first ferret I have lost. 

I will remember her so fondly. I will remember how she was unwanted, and I gave her a home, and filled it with toys and silliness and food and love and family. I will remember how happy she was, and how much she loved me; how she would follow me around the house, how she would nibble our ears, how she learned to gesture with her head like a person, how she brought so much joy into my life when at times I didn’t have much else of my own, how she always seemed to know when I was sad, how she just really loved having things thrown at her, how she was so perfect even Alaska The Anxious Cat loved her (on some level at least).


You were the most wonderful first ferret. Dook In Peace Katniss, I love you. 🌈 ♥

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I Have Had A Man

I wrote this early this year whilst I was processing a lot of the issues I realised I’d repressed on some level or never addressed. I had no intention of sharing it, but after the Me Too movement this week, I kept coming back to it. I’m an anxious mess about it, but I’m sharing it.

CW/TW: sexual assault, sexism, NSFW below the cut.

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The Hunger Ferrets

Hello!

It’s really been a while since I’ve updated this blog. I’ve worked on a few different ideas and posts over the last few months, but life has been so hectic, I never got around to completing anything to any sort of post-able standard.

With ferrets being a massive part of my life, and being a title theme of this blog, I’d make a post introducing you to my little business*. A summary of my ferret journey and lots of ferret pictures below the cut!

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I just finished Traitor To The Throne and have a lot of feelings.

‘Welcome to the Rebellion,’ I said. ‘You get used to it.’

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NB: I have kept this as spoiler-free as possible but there are winks to some plotlines. Proceed at your own risk.

            As mentioned in a previous post, I went against common proverb and fell in love with the cover and title of Rebel of the Sands back when it came out in early 2016. Fortunately, I fell in love with the story too.

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The second instalment of Alwyn Hamilton’s trilogy was released this month and my love for this world has only continued to grow. Aside from the fact that the cover art is some of the most stunning I’ve seen, the story unfolds beautifully. Told mostly in the first person from our female lead, Amani – a desert girl who’s as skilled with a gun as she is stubborn – in Traitor To The Throne, we are also treated to a few short chapters interspersed through the book from a third person narrative. These provide depth and detail to the lore and legend of this world. It is this lore and legend that truly make this world so alive and magical. Whilst we are slowly introduced to this world in Rebel of the Sands, Traitor to the Throne is filled with much deeper history, varied characters and far more political intrigue; as Amani learns more about her world, so do we. Plots thicken and twist, myth becomes reality, and legends are born.

One of my favourite things about this book is the constant narrative of “history is written by the winners” – we pick up pieces of history as we go along, but quite often there is more to the story than common story-telling would have us believe. This theme is consistently brought up throughout the past and present, and in what Amani knows will happen to their own stories in the future depending on whether they win or lose, live or die.

The cast of characters is full of lovable misfits, strong women, flawed but beautiful people and dimensional enemies. From a long lost aunt, to the spoilt Sultim, to the Rebel Prince, these stories are full of characters whose every intention is thought out in depth by Hamilton; no one seems to act out of character, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be full of surprises. In Traitor to the Throne, we see some of our old favourites from Rebel of the Sands, of course, such as Jin – Amani’s wonderful, if somewhat flighty, love interest – and Shazad – the general’s beautiful daughter and resilient rebel soldier who becomes Amani’s closest friend – along with many new faces. But amongst these new faces, we also come across some old and surprising faces, as Amani finds enemies in strange places, and allies in places stranger still.

I don’t think I’ve found a world quite so intriguing, captivating and magical since The Oracle Prophecies by Catherine Fisher (my forever favourite). But whilst Alwyn Hamilton’s books are reminiscent of this trilogy (deserts, corrupt institutions, mythical beings and rebellion), Hamilton has created a fantasy world all of her own, so timeless and alive and full of culture; she invites you in and you instantly feel at home (the kind of ‘home’ that gets your heart racing).

I honestly cannot recommend these books highly enough. If you like fantasy, mythology, dimensional characters, strong women, politics, deserts, rebellions or even romance, go out and buy these books.

Just don’t blame me when you finish Traitor and want to cry because you cannot wait another year for the next instalment.

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P.S. I matched my nails to the cover art.

2017 Reading Challenge!

I’ve written my own mini reading challenge for 2017! It’s much shorter than the one I did for 2016, to give myself a bit more freedom, especially given I still plan to start my girly book club. 

Feel free to join along and update me on what you read!

Hope you all had a great New Year’s Eve and have and wonderful 2017 x

2016 Reading Challenge

 

Deep breath guys, we’re nearly at the end of 2016!

For all the unpleasant things that have happened this year, several good things happened in my life; I got another ferret, got my degree (2.1 baby) and reignited my passion for reading (which had suffered somewhat during said degree).

At the start of the year, I found this 2016 Reading Challenge, saved it to my phone, and started it in June, as soon as I’d finished my exams. Whilst I’d read a few other books in the first half of the year, I couldn’t commit to a challenge whilst finishing my course. I was initially posting my progress on my instagram, but failed to keep up with the posts after a short social media break, so decided to collect them all here instead.

In short, welcome to my run down of my attempt at the 2016 Reading Challenge!

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A Book Published This Year:

REBEL OF THE SANDS – ALWYN HAMILTON

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“Tell me how you want your story to go, he says, and we’ll write it straight across the sand”

We all know what they say about books and their covers, but I totally bought this because I loved the cover art (shiny) and title (‘rebel’ and ‘sand’ in one book title, sign me up!) but this book did not disappoint and was totally up my street; YA fantasy with a female protagonist set in and around a desert – I am already excited to re-read it before the second book comes out in February.

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A Book You Can Finish In A Day:

IN A DARK DARK WOOD – RUTH WARE

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(image from Goodreads)

“There was something strangely naked about it, like we were on a stage set, playing our parts to an audience of eyes out there in the wood.”

I raced through this, clearly! Really fun little mystery/thriller without being super heavy or emotionally draining. Apparently intended to be adapted into a movie by Reese Witherspoon, which I look very forward to seeing.

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A Book You’ve Been Meaning To Read:

BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S – TRUMAN CAPOTE

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Really enjoyed reading this, and looking forward to re-reading it with a more critical eye having thought about it a lot after finishing it the first time. Not what I was expecting, but definitely in a good way. I’ve never watched the film properly and having read lists of differences between the book and film, I’m hesitant to, and am thinking of starting a list of books that deserve remakes of their adaptations – but that’s a discussion for another time!

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A Book Recommended By Your Local Librarian or Bookseller:

THE WEIRDSTONE OF BRISINGAMEN – ALAN GARNER

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(Photo from Goodreads)

Recommended by staff at Waterstones, Swansea. This children’s fantasy novel made me feel totally nostalgic even though I’d never read it before. A wonderful tale of two children plunged into a fantasy world that they’d only before known in stories, myth and legend, it is definitely a must read in children’s literature.

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A Book You Should Have Read In School:

OF MICE AND MEN – JOHN STEINBECK

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(Photo from Goodreads)

Having never had this as a set text, it took me until the shocking age of 26 to finally read this, and I’m so glad I did. There’s nothing I can really say about this that hasn’t been said before, other than I wish I had read it back in school.

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A Book Chosen For You By Your Spouse, Partner, Sibling, Child or BFF :

THE OTHER HAND – CHRIS CLEAVE

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(Photo Credit: @jaynestockton)

My sister recommended this book to me after reading it herself. This is a beautiful story about two different women – a Nigerian asylum-seeker and a British magazine editor and mother – and how their lives cross. The way the story unfolds is intriguing and emotional and carries an important critique of the treatment of refugees in Britain.

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A Book Published Before You Were Born:

THE GREAT GATSBY – F SCOTT FITZGERALD

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With references to this book wildly scattered throughout an awful lot of media I’ve watched or read, it seemed high time to give it a go. Like Breakfast At Tiffany’s, this is a book I’d like to go back and read with a more critical eye, but the first time around I enjoyed it for what it was, though felt a small disconnect between myself and the narrative (this of course is not a criticism and merely an acknowledgement, and likely due to it having been written by a man in the 1920s, with the audience certainly not intended to be a girl in her 20s in the 2010s)

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A Book That Was Banned At Some Point:

PEYTON PLACE – GRACE METALIOUS

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(Photo from Goodreads)

I have a lot to say about this book and what I’ve read about the author and the proceeding film and television adaptations, but I’ll be saving that until I have re-read it. Peyton Place is a book about small-town scandal that was released in the 1950s and shocked America, causing it’s banning from several places, specifically by the Canadian Government from 1956-1958. More than the scandal, however, this book is a wonderful piece of feminist fiction, that deals with women coming to terms with themselves, including in terms of privilege and sexuality.

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A Book You Previously Abandoned:

SABRIEL – GARTH NIX

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(I had to get my cat, Siberia, in this photo because I pictured Mogget as her the entire time)

I started this book in 2014 or 2015, and could never get into it, but having seen it spoken of so highly by people in my personal life and by many book blogs, I knew I had to give it another go. It still took me a while to get through, but when the talking cat showed up, I was a little bit more sold! It’s an odd book; for the first half the writing felt somewhat stunted and awkward, and the story seemed to trudge along. By the end of the book it picked up and I was enjoying it a lot more, with the writing feeling far more smooth; enough so that I’ve ordered the sequels, and am pretty excited to read them.

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A Book You Own But Have Never Read:

STAR WARS: RED HARVEST – JOE SCHREIBER

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A friend bought me this book for Christmas about five years ago, and it’s been in my TBR pile ever since. I don’t know why it took me so long to read because it’s a freaking Star Wars zombie story set during the Old Republic era (if I was to have a favourite Star Wars era, it would be the Old Republic) with a female protagonist! Easy to read, fast-paced and exciting, I’d recommend it to any other fans of Star Wars and/or zombies.

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A Book That Intimidates You:

FRANKENSTEIN – MARY SHELLEY

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(Photo from Goodreads)

This may seem like an odd choice for an intimidating book, but it was the set book for my main class the first time I attempted a degree back in 2008. I never finished it then, having dropped out, and have since had a bit of a mental block towards it, given it would always remind me of a time in my life that was somewhat unpleasant. But I completed a different degree this year, so I figured it was time. What was particularly interesting about finally reading this was how different the story is compared to how I’ve seen it represented in a lot of current media.

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A Book You’ve Read At Least Once:

LULLABY – CHUCK PALAHNIUK

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(Photo from Goodreads)

“Big brother isn’t watching. He’s singing and dancing. He’s pulling rabbits out of a hat”

This was a tricky choice, given how much I like to re-read stuff (there are books I read at the start of this year which I’ve already re-read), but Palahniuk is definitely one of my favourite authors, and given the hype about – and the money I spent on – the kickstarter for the movie earlier this year, it had to be this one. This novel was written during a particularly dark time in Chuck’s life and deals with some heavy themes – the first time I read it, I remember it getting in my head enough that it played with my anxiety, in a great way.

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There are plenty of other brilliant books I’ve read this year too, but I feel it necessary to give a big mention to Sarah J Maas, whose books I’d never read until this year. My father bought me Throne Of Glass for Christmas last year, and I started it on New Year’s Day 2016. I raced through it, thinking it was a wonderful trashy Hunger Games-esque romantic novel set in an interesting fantasy world. Little did I know that the trashy romance was more of a prelude to a brilliant story full of twists, politics, fantasy and a lot of crying. I have devoured all of her books at least once this year (the Throne of Glass series and the A Court Of Thorns and Roses series), and have forced them on several friends.

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(My Sarah J Maas shelf. Define: ‘obsessed’)

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Anyway, that’s it from me for 2016. Did you complete any book challenges this year or read anything worth raving about? Let me know!

Hope you all have a great New Year’s Eve and wonderful 2017. Happy reading!

Sarah J Maas at Bath Children’s Literature Festival – Girl Power and ToG TV Show!

Last Sunday (9th October), my sister and I attended Bath Children’s Literature Festival to see Sarah J Maas (Throne of Glass series, A Court Of Thorns and Roses series) talk with host Lucy Saxon (Take Back The Skies, The Almost King) as part of her tour since the release of Empire of Storms. I was super excited about it because I’ve been obsessed with Sarah’s books for the last year. I hadn’t been planning to write about it beforehand but it occurred to me whilst we were there, that the stuff these women spoke about is kind of, sort of, incredibly important.

(N.B. now’s a good time for a potential spoiler warning for any of Sarah’s books, though I’ve avoided any biggies)

As you can imagine if you’ve ever seen anything of Sarah outside her books, in person she’s equal parts funny, adorable and dorky. From stories about eating a whole block of Parmesan in one go and crying in a toilet after finding out about the ToG TV show, she’s instantly relatable. The two women on stage immediately created a fun, relaxed environment for the sold out audience of (mainly) teenage girls and young women.

Almost immediately they jumped into the discussion of strong female characters. Sarah mentioned how strongly she was made to feel when growing up that there are two boxes for women – the girly girl box and the tomboy box – but that she always felt she was somewhere in between. This was a feeling I can remember and still relate to strongly. She also mentioned her disappointment at the lack of flawed heroines she’d found as a teen. For these reasons, she cited her love of Buffy, Sailor Moon and Scarlett O’Hara.

Such discussions went on; the male gaze, embracing female sexuality, societal expectations and so on. When asked about the relationship between Celaena and Lysandra (one of my absolute favourite things about the books), Sarah talked about how she hadn’t always intended them to have the relationship they do now; when she’d first written Lysandra she’d imagined her as little more than snooty. It was through thinking about her own female friendships and attitudes towards women, and the way society enforces us to see other women as enemies, that their relationship developed through her writing. Their relationship became what it is because of Sarah J Maas’s realisation that women need to see other women as allies.

It was all of the above that made me want to write this blog post. I loved SJM anyway, but sitting in a room full of teenage girls, watching two strong and successful women on stage discuss these issues just made me feel a surge of, well, girl power.  I think it’s so important for teenage girls to have this experience and listen to these ideas from two successful women whom they love and respect. I can’t help but think how awesome, and even empowering, an experience like this would have been for me at that age. Yay for girl power!

That was the good stuff, now on to the even better stuff! As you’ve probably heard by now, the Throne of Glass series is finally becoming a TV show (to be titled Queen of Shadows). As you may know, the two people confirmed to work on it so far are both women (Kira Snyder and Anna Foerster), and whilst I thought that this was important personally, I wasn’t sure whether or not it was simply coincidence. Sarah, however, confirmed that it was intentional and that it’s important to her to have as many women working on the project as possible, and that the company understand this. She also assured us that, whilst there are many steps to be taken yet, so far they have the right team that understand both the readers and the books. Certainly helped settle a lot of doubts in my mind!

BONUS:

  • You may or may not know by now that Fleetfoot is the only character confirmed to survive the ToG series, what I didn’t know is that this is because of how let down she felt by Hedwig. So basically Fleetfoot will survive because Hedwig died! (Silver linings etc)
  • “Sad things happen. Shirtless men.” – a hilariously perfect summary she gave of her books and how I will now be explaining them to people 😉
  • She also discussed Rhysand’s character & arc and how she basically realised how she (and Feyre) were in trouble the minute she imagined him… so we can all guess his new theme song in my head. ❤

The first post is always the hardest.

Hello! Welcome to my standard ‘welcome to my blog’ post.

As someone with a love of writing and a lot of opinions on all manner of things, creating a blog was long overdue. This will mainly be somewhere to collect my thoughts, make my dumb jokes that no one will laugh at, and show off my pets.

Expect to see:

Books. Lots of them. I’ll hopefully be starting a book club from home in the new year and plan to document it here. Cross your fingers for me that everything goes to plan.
Ferrets. I have them. I volunteer with them. I love them.
Cats. Same as above really.
Pizza and coffee. I have a very real problem with both of these substances and try as I might I can’t give them up.
Feminism. I don’t plan to preach, but I am a feminist and I love women, and I love books/TV shows/movies that allow me to open feminist dialogue.
Fandom. After a couple of years of trying to silence my inner fangirl and be an “adult”, I’ve finally given in and embraced the 14 year old I secretly am. Embrace the fangirl, embrace the fandoms. Everything from Mass Effect to Pretty Little Liars to Pride and Prejudice.
– Did I mention coffee?

Anyway, this picture is a pretty good summary.

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See you soon!
– The Thoughtful Ferret