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Llamas spit!

Reinventing Hillwilla Book Cover Reinventing Hillwilla
Hillwilla #3
Melanie Forde
contemporary fiction, romance, animals
Independently published

Life on a llama farm, set in remote “Seneca County,” West Virginia, transitions from contented to chaotic in this final novel in the Hillwill trilogy -- all under the watchful eye of canine guardian Ralph. Five years after we first met northern urban transplant Beatrice Desmond, she is finally adapting to her mountain hollow among the wary “born-heres” and is more open to the blessings in her life. She has developed a rewarding mother-daughter relationship with troubled local teenager Clara Buckhalter and is inching toward marriage with dashing, but complicated entrepreneur Tanner Fordyce. Meanwhile, Clara sets off on a productive new path, one that would have been unthinkable had Beatrice never come into her life. All of that progress is suddenly jeopardized by Clara’s scheming mother Charyce. Ultimately, the upheaval touched off by Charyce’s schemes serves as the catalyst for new beginnings for the Seneca County misfits (even Ralph).

This was the 3rd and final book in short series about life on a Llama farm and how a woman reinvented herself – more than once when settled on it in deepest West Virginia.

Now West virginia is a place I have only heard of in terms of Hill Billies and I am aware that they have their form of speech and customs derived from being isolated from the mainstream culture and poverty. So I had to look up the term Melungeon when I read it in the book. It appears that it is a term unique to the Southern Appalachians and means a tri-racial mix of European, African and Native American blood in a person. Now why you need a special term for this I am not sure but there you are.

Llamas being used a guard animals was something new to me as well, as I had never seen that in english sheep farms, but it appears to be quite common as they have good hearing and once bonded with the herd, are fierce protectors. to me, it seems like an excellent idea – if you look after the llamas that is, as their wool is wonderful and can be shorn just like the sheep. It is free of lanolin and reputed to be allergen free too, but a little coarse so is usually mixed with ordinary wool when spun. Vicuna and Alpacas produce better wool, but I don’t know if they are used as guard animals.

This was an interesting story as I learnt quite a bit about the area and customs and geology and thus weather. Though realistically, if you live up a mountain you must expect to be cold and have lots of snow, but why move yet further up?

The behaviour of some of the people just reinforced what I had heard about Hill Billies unfortunately and I wonder how much this stereotype is true. I also found that it was rather difficult to follow the story at first as i had not read the previous books in the series. It took me a while to settle into the story and i needed more background earlier on.

In the end, the final decisions were to be expected and thus the story lacked some of the expected tension for me.

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Books/book review/Fantasy/humour/cats
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And the magic word is?

Amanda Cadabra and The Cellar of Secrets Book Cover Amanda Cadabra and The Cellar of Secrets
(The Amanda Cadabra Cozy Paranormal Mysteries) #2
Holly Bell
humour, fantasy, female sleuths
Independently published
(24 Dec. 2018)

Amanda Cadabra, asthmatic furniture restorer and covert witch with irascible feline familiar, always said that was no place for a research centre. The lost village in Madley Wood, where the leaves don’t grow, and the birds don’t sing.

An old secret. A new build. A body. Only one witness. Only one person who can see that witness: Amanda Cadabra.

Only one place that can tell the story: the Cellar of Secrets, in 1940. And only one person who can go there: Amanda Cadabra. With, of course, only one grumpy cat.

Only one person who might help: the personable but intractable Inspector Trelawney. But this is a peaceful English village … who would do anything as criminal as murder? Will she find them before they find her?

Please note that to help the reader to be immersed in Amanda's world, this British-set story, by a British author, uses British English spelling, grammar and usage, and includes accents, dialects and a magical language.

Well not abracadabra of course… What a strange name, but of course, one that is very memorable.

So we have a cosy mystery novel set in a strange village with ghosts and witches and hidden secrets.

At times, I thought I was reading a book for teenagers or for US readers who wanted to have a traditional English village with all the traditional English characters in it. Including funny names and so on.

That said, it was an enjoyable and humorous tale with engaging lead characters – Amanda herself and her feline familiar and the detective who can’t know the real truth about witch-craft, but sort of knows about ghosts.

Very light reading but ..

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animals/Books/book review/humour/Romance
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Naughty cats – and older women?

Cheetahs Never Win: A Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) Book Cover Cheetahs Never Win: A Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count)
A Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) #5
RJ Blain
contemporary fiction, romance, humour, fantasy
RJ Blain
2 Jan 2019

Witnessing a double homicide dumps Aaron Clinton into the middle of a gruesome murder investigation. To stop the budding serial killer from striking again, Aaron’s forced to join forces with a reformed cop and a colony of cranky cats.

Warning: this novel contains cats, murder, more cats, mayhem, cheetahs, mischief, felines, a serial killer, romance, humor, puns, generalized hilarity, and whipped cream used in inappropriate fashions. Proceed with caution.

A fun story with lots of sniggers and a cherry on top!

I now know a lot more about Texas than I did before, not necessarily to its benefit of course, and oh Fire Ants! I suspect I have been a victim of these ants or their relatives in India when I once sat down in a woodland – certainly something nasty bit me several times on my behind! And it hurt…

This is ‘universe’ that I am not familiar with and it took a while to understand the creatures that inhabited it, and I must say that angels that are missing their heads sounds very creepy. Maybe the author was inspired by The Winged Victory of Samothrace  a famous statue where the head has been lost, or the fables that say that good deeds result in angels being born – but without heads, wings, faces etc. Whichever, I found their idea disconcerting.

That above, I liked the story and it was long enough to satisfy me, – a lot of these fantasy novels I find are rather short, but this was a good length which meant that several of the characters could be developed as well as the two main protagonists.

This was book 5 in the series and so I went back to book 1 –

Playing with Fire: A Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) 

by RJ Blain  (Author)

each book deals with different characters in this universe.

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Such a cute kitten

No Kitten Around: Book Cover No Kitten Around:
A Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count)
Rj Blain
Fiction contemporary, urban, humour, romance
Pen & Page Publishing
October 30, 2018
266

Warning: This novel contains excessive humor, action, excitement, adventure, magic, romance, and bodies. Proceed with caution. The last thing Reed Matthews needs in his life is a kitten, but when an orphaned tabby suckers him into becoming her caretaker, he's in for the ride of his life. Add in an angel determined to meddle in his affairs, a devil with an agenda, and a bucketful of bad omens, and he'll count himself fortunate if he survives the clash between heaven, hell, and his ex. In this anything goes romp, there's no kitten around: if Reed wants to survive and regain control of his life, his only hope lies in the hands of an elf and his ex, a woman he's sworn to never see again.

How do cats sucker us? Well, they have these cute eyes? and soft silky fur and they purr. And then we do anything for them… well

And then we need some swords, an elf – yes think very fast and deadly with a blade – angels without heads (how creepy is that?) and demons and…

You get the idea. Lots of different species and fighting and funny bits. RJ Blain likes cats – in fcat she writes a newsletter from her cats – the sneaky kitty critics regularly and they tell us readers just what is going on – with a side order of snark.

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Love the Cats!

Cat Me If You Can Book Cover Cat Me If You Can
The Hissing Booth Chronicles #0
Gemma Thorne
New Adult, Urban Fantasy, Humour
Independently published
(1 Nov. 2018)

The world ends not with a bang but a hiss.Since the Rise of Magic, soothsayer Journi McCutcheon has faced supernatural sycophants, dated zealous zombies, and battled possessed pediatricians, but when an eccentric client hires her to investigate haunted pickles, her day goes from weird to worse.Only demonic dills are the least of her newly acquired problems.What begins as a nuisance call ends in apocalypse when she stumbles across a mass grave and discovers that the cats therein aren’t just dead—they’re harbingers of extinction.And magic is on the endangered species list.To save her family and Deviants everywhere, she must set aside her feud with all things feline to end the threat.Before it ends her. Cat Me If You Can is the exciting prequel to Crazy Cat Lady, Gemma Thorne’s #1 best-selling debut novel. Packed with quick wit, spell-slinging heroines, and cats, it’s a new breed of urban fantasy. Start this beloved series today.

Here we have a parallel world where magic exploded and the strange creatures came out to play.

I thought this was a good, feisty, female PI heroine. I really loved her Mum and as for Grandma! grandma is a witch who bespells marbles – which make good slingshot ammunition – but you never know what is going to happen when they hit their target…

Nice fun read with lots humour and cats…. purrfect.

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