Friday, 18 October 2019

6 Fictional Pets I Wish I Owned

A year ago today, I had to say goodbye to my best friend of twelve years, and it was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in my life. I tend not to do many personal posts on my blog, but I can’t write this list without telling you about my gorgeous dog, Dilly.

Growing up, I’d always wanted a dog, but our house was too small and our backyard was basically non-existent. When I turned fourteen, we ended up losing our home to the council, who bought out our street in order to demolish the houses and build even smaller new ones. My parents were devastated because they couldn’t afford to buy another place of their own and had no choice but to rent. The only upside to not owning our own home was that the rented place was bigger, had a garden, and the landlord allowed pets. Given the incredibly difficult year we’d faced, my parents finally decided that adding a dog to the family would bring us some much needed happiness. 

she was by my side through high school, college, and university!
We always knew we were going to rescue a dog. Both my parents had grown up around rescue dogs and all of us agreed that we’d rather give a dog a second chance than go to a breeder. After a few potential adoptions fell through, our local rescue centre ended up with a young mixed-breed who had been abandoned by her previous owner, was underweight and scared of new people. But we completely fell in love with her. After a few visits, we brought her home and named her Dilly! 

my favourite partner in crime
When rehoming a rescue dog, it’s always going to be a bumpy journey, but we got her weight back up and she settled in perfectly. Despite being scared of strangers, she was affectionate with us from the very start, and was running to introduce herself to new people within just a few weeks! It was amazing to see how much she developed in those first months. It completely baffles me that someone would give up on a dog so young. The selfish part of me wishes her former owners could have seen the incredible pet she became as part of our family, but the rational part of me knows that they don’t deserve to. 

Dilly gave us twelve years of the happiest memories we could have wished for. She was lucky enough to go through life without any health problems and she barely even slowed down in her old age. At the end of her life, she developed a quick-growing tumour that caused her no pain to the point that we didn’t know anything was wrong until just a few days before she passed away. We were lucky enough to say goodbye to her at home. She carried so much love for everyone around her that she even though she couldn’t stand properly in her final hours, she still smothered our wonderful vet in kisses. That was the kind of dog she was. 

I’m so glad I had the chance to welcome her into my life. Pets can bring us so much joy, and they love us unconditionally. They really do become an extra family member. In honour of her, I wanted to share my favourite fictional pets whose stories wouldn’t be the same without them. 

(Half of these are cats because apparently YA books love cats)

Bieber from Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda
Golden Retriever, need I say more? He’s the thing that Leah loves most about Simon, and I don’t blame her. I was only a little disappointed that Movie Bieber was different to Book Bieber because Movie Bieber was adorable in his own way.

Church from any of Cassie’s Shadowhunter books
No Shadowhunter series would be complete without an appearance from Church. He’s always lurking around somewhere, helping out in his own way. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if we ended up with a series purely about his adventures. 

Chainsaw from The Raven Cycle
The bond between Ronan and his raven is one of the most adorable aspects of The Raven Cycle for me. She shows us the softer side of a character who, at first, comes across as cold and intimidating. But Ronan would do anything for her.  

Spike from The Mediator Series
One of the first fictional pets I fell in love with. Spike is a ginger fluffball with slight anger issues, but he’s wonderful all the same. He becomes Suze’s accidental pet, but I can’t imagine him not being part of the story. 

Hedwig from Harry Potter
Could you ask for a more loyal pet than Hedwig? She’s by Harry’s side from the start of his Hogwarts journey as a vital part of his life in the wizarding world. Ultimately, she gives up her life for him in what is quite possibly one of the most devastating deaths in the entire series. WAS THERE ANY NEED, MS ROWLING? 

Angus from the Confessions of Georgia Nicholson

I very nearly had Hedwig as my favourite, but I’d be lying to myself. Angus is by far my favourite fictional pet. These books literally define my teen years, and for the longest time they made me pester my parents for a cat. This series really wouldn’t be the same without Angus. I remember my heart actually skipping a beat when he ended up in danger. I think we all need an Angus in our lives.

Not a book, but still fictional, Makkachin from Yuri On Ice

Makkachin is THE BEST BOY. No question about it.

These are just some of my favourite fictional pets. I know there are plenty more out there, but these are just the ones that have stuck with me the most. Pets can be just as important as any other character!

Before I go, I want to give a quick shoutout to my local rescue centre for all of their amazing work. Rehoming a dog can be an incredibly difficult job, especially taking into account what some of the dogs in centres have been through. But every dog requires work, so if you are thinking about getting a dog, please consider rescuing. There are so many dogs out there who need families to love them and give them a little bit of patience to find their paws in life. It’s been the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.

A couple of months ago, my family was able to rescue another dog. He’s a three-year-old Jack Russell who’s had an incredibly difficult life so far, and he needs a lot of work to help lessen his anxiety, but we’re slowly making progress. Here’s to the next set of happy memories!

Friday, 4 October 2019

Ten Halloween Reads That Aren't Actually That Scary

IT'S SPOOPY SEASON. My favourite time of year is finally upon us, and I can't wait to settle down with some good books. Not sure what to read in the run up to Halloween? Want an autumnal book but not a massive Horror fan? I've got you covered! Since I don't actually read too much Horror myself (it's one of those genres that I do appreciate but don't naturally gravitate towards), I thought I'd compile a list of books that I find perfect for the Halloween season without being too scary.

10. Uprooted by Naomi Novik

This book is a twisted fairytale that's perfect for this time of year, especially given the fact that the majority of the plot revolves around, well, trees. And don't we all love thinking about trees with their pretty orange leaves in October? It's also the right amount of dark to leave you just a lil creeped out.

9. Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

The first book in the His Dark Materials trilogy is one of the best reads to inject some adventure into the cold nights of autumn. I'm planning to reread it this month if I get the chance, in preparation for the BBC adaptation later this year. I'm so ready to see a decent version of this onscreen.

8. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Hands up if this story ruined you emotionally! 🙋 If you haven't read it yet, then you better prepare your heart for an emotional ruining. Though it revolves around a monster showing up, the scariest part of this story is the real horrors we have to face in life, like dealing with the suffering of those we love most in the world.

7. The Mediator by Meg Cabot

You might have heard me mention a few times that this series was my absolute favourite when I was a teenager, and it still has a special place in my heart to this very day. Suze sending spirits to the afterlife makes for a perfect plot as we approach Halloween. Who doesn't love a good ghost story?

6. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo 

This is my gentle reminder that if you haven't picked up this book yet, PLEASE DO. The aesthetics of this book alone scream Halloween. With the cast just being announced for the Netflix adaptation, there's never been a better time to jump into the Grishaverse.

5. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

To be fair, any of Cassie's books are fitting for this time of year, but The Infernal Devices remains superior. This trilogy is packed with everything. It also has Magnus Bane, so what more could you want? I'm always here for anything steampunk, and the clockwork army is creepy as hell.

4. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater 

Hello to one of my favourite series' of all time. I'm hoping to reread them before Call Down the Hawk is upon us! If you've never read The Raven Cycle before, this series is full of spoopy things to enjoy and an amazing group of characters to fall in love with. These books never fail to be magical and exciting.

3. Howl's Moving Castle

I couldn't complete this list without including one of my magical favourites that I recently reread to get myself in the Halloween mood. This book is wild in the best possible way, and despite everything going on in the plot, it's also hilarious. Like many people, I discovered it through the Studio Ghibli movie of the same name, but now I adore the book just as much. (Probably more, at this point. Book Howl is everything).

2. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Arguably my favourite book of all time? I'm terrible at choosing favourites but this one is waaaaay up there. I never even have the words to fully describe to someone how much I love Carry On. I usually just revert to screaming at them to read it. In Caps Lock for dramatic effect. I've lived and breathed this story since it was released, and I reread it every October. The best part about rereading it this year was that I got to start the sequel immediately after. (I still can't believe we're being blessed with more content after all these years, what a time to be alive). If you haven't been dragged in already, then now would be the perfect time to give it a try.

1. Harry Potter by J.K.Rowling 

I'm very predictable, I know, but if you can't use Halloween as an excuse to get cosy and reread Harry Potter then WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE. It's like a warm blanket and a nice cup of tea with a side order of dark magic. Not to mention, there's Halloween at Hogwarts, which is enough to make anyone jealous and cursing the fact that they never got their Hogwarts letter. If you're stuck for what to read in October, you can always count on the Golden Trio.


Any Manga fans in the house? I'm currently reading Seraph of the End and it's a PERFECT Halloween read. There's vampires and apocolyptic viruses, and someone, somewhere, is probably losing an arm. But it's WONDERFUL and the characters are great.

These are just some of my personal favourites to read at this time of year, but there's so many books out there that give off strong Spoopy Season vibes without actually being all-out terrifying. I love anything with ghosts or supernatural creatures in it to give it that creepy edge.

What are some of your favourite books to read at Halloween? Let me know in the comments?

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