#BookReview Under The Wig by William Clegg QC #memoir #nonfiction

About the book

How do you chat to someone accused of a savage murder? Or prepare a court case? Or sway a jury?

Step into the shoes of criminal barrister William Clegg as he meets clients in prison, works out weaknesses in the other side s case, and confronts witnesses at tense trials.

In a revealing memoir, he revisits fourteen of his most intriguing briefs, from the murder charge facing Colin Stagg to the shooting of Jill Dando, to the first prosecution under the Nazi war crimes act and the burglar jailed for life by an earprint.

All the while he lays bare the secrets of his profession, from the rivalry among barristers to the moments before a verdict comes back and how system of justice risks jailing you wrongly.

Under the Wig is for anyone who wants to know the reality of fighting a murder trial. Switch off the TV drama and plunge into the criminal law in action.

Published by Canbury Press

Publication Date – 4th October 2018

Pre-order links

hive.co.uk

waterstones

Canbury Press

MY REVIEW

We’ve all seen the TV shows about law and wondered what goes on in the world of ‘real’ lawyers, and this book is a truly fascinating look behind the scenes thanks to one of London’s top murder case lawyers as he looks back at a remarkable career and shares his stories of all he has seen over the years. And when you’ve been involved in as many high profile cases as William Clegg has, then there’s lots to share!

From how he started in the world of law, to going behind the scenes at some of the most infamous trials he was involved in, I found this to be such an interesting read. He shares a number of outspoken opinions on cases he’s been involved in as well as his thoughts on the system as it is and the many changes he’s seen take place over the years – not all for the best! – as well as how technology has changed working on each cases. No such thing as the internet when he first started out!

From war criminals, murderers, the wrongly accused, and fraud cases, this is a book that covers a wide range of dealings inside the world of law and the grim reality of brutal cases which show it isn’t like it is on TV.

The way the book plays out works so well as it spotlights high profile cases he was involved in, alongside his humble beginnings and how he worked his way up. There are flashes of humour that lighten the tone of the book and helped make it a really engrossing read.

My thanks to the author, publisher and publicist Emma Finnigan for an advanced readers copy in return for a fair and honest review.

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My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – Week 38 2018

Hello all! Happy Saturday to you! As I sit here typing, it’s a lovely sunny Saturday and I SHOULD be going through the backlog of reviews I have to do….. why is picking up another new book to start reading the easier option?!  So if anyone is offering to write a few reviews for me then I’ll gladly accept! I’ll make you a cup of tea and supply biscuits?!!

It’s been another mad week on the book front! It all seems to be spiralling out of control despite my best efforts to keep everything in check! Still managing to find time to read lots and have managed to finish 7 books this week! And 10 books have found new homes with me, plus one from NetGalley…..but I did donate a box of books to the local Mencap shop the other day, and got a hug from the lovely old lady in there, so I am being good and making space for the new additions!So here’s a quick look back at my week with pictures and links to GoodReads pages! Enjoy! Reviews for most of them will be posted up on here at some point….. hopefully!

BOOKS FINISHED

Ice by Anna Kavan  – 3 stars

The Eyes That Look by Julia Grigg  –  4 stars

Full review on Blog Tour – 11th October 

A Boy in the Water by Tom Gregory  – 4 stars

The Lingering by S.J.I Holliday  – 5 stars

A House of Ghosts by W.C Ryan  – 4 stars

Under The Wig by William Clegg QC  – 5 stars

Christmas at the Little Duck Pond Cafe by Rosie Green  – 4 stars

BOOKHAUL

Emily Nation by Alec McQuay

The Ninja Book Box Book Club pick for October!

Landfill by Tim Dee

Review copy courtesy of Little Toller Books

Where the what ifs roam and the moon is Louis Armstrong by Esther Krivda

Review copy from Wobble Hill Press ahead of Blog Tour in November 

All Quiet on the West End Front by William Rycroft

Published by Unbound and I’m one of the backers so get my name in print!

 

The Six Loves of Billy Binns by Richard Lumsden

Review copy from Tinder Press. Publication Date 24th January 2019 

The Page by M.Jonathon Lee

Prize from Hideaway Fall

The Otters Tale by Simon Cooper

Wild Kingdom by Stephen Moss

The Running Hare by John Lewis-Stempel

A Good Country by Laleh Khadivi

Lovely selection from Nudge Books

The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib – Netgalley

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CURRENTLY READING

The Runaway by Elizabeth Anna Hart

for the Persephone Readathon!

I think that is it for the week!! I need a lie down! Hope you have had a great week too on the book front!  Read any of these?! Always love to hear your thoughts!!
 

HAPPY READING!!!

#BookReview A House of Ghosts by W.C Ryan

About the book

A gripping mystery with a classic feel: And Then There Were None meets The Silent Companions.

Winter 1917. As the First World War enters its most brutal phase, back home in England, everyone is seeking answers to the darkness that has seeped into their lives.

At Blackwater Abbey, on an island off the Devon coast, Lord Highmount has arranged a spiritualist gathering to contact his two sons who were lost in the conflict. But as his guests begin to arrive, it gradually becomes clear that each has something they would rather keep hidden. Then, when a storm descends on the island, the guests will find themselves trapped. Soon one of their number will die.

For Blackwater Abbey is haunted in more ways than one . .
.
An unrelentingly gripping mystery packed with twists and turns, A House of Ghosts is the perfect chilling read this winter.

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Almost unbearably creepy and beautifully written’ Liz Nugent, bestseller author of LYING IN WAIT

‘A splendid tale of wartime skullduggery, featuring both kinds of spooks – perfect fireside reading’ Mick Herron, CWA Gold Dagger Award Winning author of DEAD LIONS

‘Hugely enjoyable, A House of Ghosts has the bones of a taut thriller wrapped up in the gorgeous romance of its ghostly island setting’ Jane Casey

‘Perfect for a dark and stormy evening: a truly creepy and ingenious ghost story and murder mystery with an irresistible setting’ Ragnar Jonasson

Published by Zaffre

Publication Date – 4th October 2018

Pre-order links

hive.co.uk  £9.95

waterstones  £12.99

Goldsboro Books – signed first edition  £12.99

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MY REVIEW

This is an eerie and engrossing story set against the backdrop of The First World War, and featuring the imposing Blackwater Abbey where Lord Highmount has lived for many years with his family, and has now invited a select few to join him for a weekend to contact the spirits so he and his wife can reconnect with those he has lost.


I knew very little of this book going in, other than it has a stunning and striking cover, and within a few pages I found myself captivated by the setting of this home sitting on an Island off the Devon Coast, and the mixture of characters who all found themselves heading there for a paranormal weekend. The story is mainly told from the points of view of Lord Highmount, Kate and Donovan who have their own very mysterious backgrounds of which you learn more about as the story unfolds.

Kate is such a fascinating character. Working in intelligence,she is selected by her boss to go on this weekend to gain some valuable knowledge from some of the other guests, alongside her ex fiancee! Not a ideal set up! She has a history with the Highmount family too so that makes it an even more difficult task for her to complete. She is being looked after by another interesting character, Donovan, who is also there to oversee the goings on but from the servants side of things. They find they soon have more to investigate when one of the party is killed!

Kate also has the ability to see ghosts so while she is at Blackwater Abbey she is continually seeing things that others don’t and this adds another intriguing element to the mix in this story! It really blends the mix of the supernatural, history and mystery so well together. It’s one of those books that you can form your own opinion on a variety of characters as you read, working out who is trustworthy and who to be wary of. I know I was proved wrong on a number of occasions as to who I trusted!

The seances seem to change the sceptics minds amongst them but it also sets off a chain of darker events and this keeps you with that very unsettled feeling as you read. It’s one of those books that you read that really draws you into that world, as if you’re a fly on the wall overseeing all that happens around you and I loved the escapism that this story helps create. A really enjoyable read!

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My thanks to the publisher and Readers First for the advanced reading copy in return for a fair and honest review.

#CoverReveal A Christmas Secret by Kirsty Ferry @ChocLituk @kirsty_ferry

COVER REVEAL

We meet again!!Another exclusive, and rather gorgeous, cover reveal to share with you all today courtesy of the lovely Kirsty Ferry and Choc Lit!  I hope you’re ready….

What if a secret from Christmas past was stopping you from moving on to Christmas future?

When Hugo McCreadie steps into Isla Brodie’s pet portrait studio to get a ‘Festive Furball Photo Shoot’ for his sister’s cat Schubert, he does question his sanity. But he knows the photographs will be the perfect Christmas present for his eccentric sister, Nessa – and he finds himself quite taken with ditzy, animal-loving Isla Brodie, too.

Will a Christmas secret from long ago prevent Hugo and Isla’s new friendship from going any further? Or will a certain big, black cat taking matters into his own paws lead them not only on a mad winter dash through snowy Edinburgh –but into each other’s arms for Christmas as well?

A Christmas Secret is published on 8th November and will be available to purchase as an eBook on all platforms.

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The moment has arrived!! One gorgeous cover in all its’ glory!!

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Do we approve?!  I know I do, and can’t wait to get my mitts on  a copy!!

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#BookReview Ice by Anna Kavan #RIPXIII

 

Getting out of my comfort zone at the moment and picking up those books that I’ve been too scared to pick up as I’m a big wuss!!  And it’s all thanks to ReadersImbibingPeril who are hosting RIPXIII, the challenge they host to get us to pick up scary books and have fun reading them!

I’ve had this book on my shelves for quite a while so have been reading it over the past few evenings! 

About the book

In this haunting and surreal novel, the narrator and a man known as the warden search for an elusive girl in a frozen, seemingly post-nuclear, apocalyptic landscape. The country has been invaded and is being governed by a secret organization. There is destruction everywhere; great walls of ice overrun the world. Together with the narrator, the reader is swept into a hallucinatory quest for this strange and fragile creature with albino hair. Acclaimed upon its 1967 publication as the best science fiction book of the year, this extraordinary and innovative novel has subsequently been recognized as a major work of literature in its own right. 

MY REVIEW

In this book you are never quite sure what is real! It is extremely surreal and nightmarish! You’re always feeling unsure of what you are about to encounter and that is what keeps you turning the pages.

The ‘chase’ works so well against the bleak background of the Ice bound world that the characters find themselves living in. The narrator is a man who becomes obsessed with this pale girl who he often glimpses but never seems to get close to. Is she real? Is he just mad? I think with this story it’s all open to interpretation and I enjoyed that uncertainty throughout. You could read into it what you wanted! There was no real plotlines to keep track of and you just went where the story took you!  

An interesting and unsettling read!!

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#BlogTour The Winter That Made Us by Kate Field #BookReview #thewinterthatmadeus @rararesources @katehaswords

A huge delight to be the latest stop on this wonderful Blog Tour for THE WINTER THAT MADE US by KATE FIELD.  My thanks to the author, publisher and Rachel of Rachels Random Resources for letting me be part of it all!

The Winter That Made Us

When Tess finds herself unexpectedly alone and back in Ribblemill, the childhood village she thought she’d escaped, she’s sure she can survive a temporary stay. She’s spent a lifetime making the best of things, hasn’t she?

Determined to throw herself into village life, Tess starts a choir and gathers a team of volunteers to restore the walled garden at Ramblings, the local stately home. Everything could be perfect, if she weren’t sharing a cottage and a cat with a man whose manner is more prickly than the nettles she’s removing…

As winter approaches, Tess finds herself putting down her own roots as fast as she’s pulling them up in the garden. But the ghosts of the past hover close by, and Tess must face them if she’s to discover whether home is where her heart has been all along.

Published by Accent Press

Purchase Link

Amazon

About the Author

Kate writes contemporary women’s fiction, mainly set in her favourite county of Lancashire, where she lives with her husband, daughter and hyperactive cat.

She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Kate’s debut novel, The Magic of Ramblings, won the RNA’s Joan Hessayon Award for new writers in 2017.

Twitter @katehaswords

Facebook

MY REVIEW

Another fabulous book from an author who is quickly becoming one of my favourites! Kate Field has created another great cast of characters and put them in a believable situation that draws you in and tugs at the heartstrings. A story with all the feels!!

Tess Bailey is a woman who finds herself returning to her childhood village, Ribblemill, after many years away. Her life hasn’t quite turned out as expected and she’s looking for a way to find some meaning and purpose to her time. Her love of helping others and music shines through from the start though and she soon volunteers for a number of community projects, along with starting her own groups – the perfect way to become a firm favourite with the locals, many of who have known her and her family for a number of years.

She finds herself sharing a house – the wonderfully named Cobweb Cottage – with Noah, a man who is a completely different character from herself. He just wants to be left alone and enjoys the peace and quiet. The more time they spend together though, the more you realise that they’re both quite similar in that they’re hiding things from each other and you wonder if they’ll be able to open up.

Her singing group becomes a big hit, and then she also starts a community gardening group to help restore the Walled Gardens, and these help distract her from her own problems and those that beset her family. It even means she gets to spend more time with Noah who is working on the gardens, so she starts to learn even more about him from his brothers and they way they are seemingly protective of him when certain events seem problematic for him

I loved the characters of Tess and Noah! So likeable and endearing – you sense they are both dealing with some quite serious issues and do so in quite different ways which is always fascinating to explore. The book starts to take a darker turn towards the end which just adds to the drama and ramps up the emotions! Loved it!!

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#BookReview The Scarlet Nightingale by Alan Titchmarsh

                                                                

About the book

As war rages across Europe, one young woman is torn between love and loyalty.

Set in wartime London and occupied France, this is a thrilling story of love, danger and sacrifice from bestselling novelist Alan Titchmarsh.

It is the late 1930s when seventeen-year-old Rosamund Hanbury leaves behind the endless summers of her coastal Devonshire home for the fast pace of high society London.

Under the expert guidance of her formidable aunt, the country mouse learns how to act like a lady, hosting dinner parties and rubbing shoulders with Britain’s most influential. And when the enigmatic Harry Napier sweeps her off her feet at London’s famous Café de Paris she could almost forget that Britain has declared war.

But the Phoney War ends. Harry is posted, London reels from the first bombings of the Blitz and Rosamund suffers a devastating personal loss that leaves her all the more determined to do her bit for the war effort.
Joining the Special Forces she is sent to work alongside the Resistance on a top secret mission in France.
It is here that her courage and loyalty are truly put to the test. And where she learns that no one is what they seem: at home or abroad … 

Published by Hodder & Stoughton

Purchase Links

hive.co.uk  £14.29

waterstones  £15.99

Foyles

MY REVIEW

I found this to be a wonderful read from one of my favourite authors! 
 
It’s a fascinating look back over an extraordinary life after Rosamund, an author, passes away. She never spoke much of her past but when she dies she leaves behind a finished novel and a ragged envelope full of letters and keepsakes – an imaginative way to tell her story.
 
It was lovely to hear her story through her words as she looked back – the idyllic childhood in the countryside, the governess she adored, the friends she met, and then how she dealt with the tragedy of losing her parents and what that meant for her life, as it all changed so quickly.
 
The time period is set just before the War so the threat is always close by, and when she moves to London to live with her Aunt, it becomes even more of a reality and she is eager to ‘do her bit’ but is unsure how she can help. She isn’t afraid of a challenge though and she soon finds herself closer to the action than she could have ever imagined – part of a team who are in France to follow orders.
 
I love the relaxed style of storytelling throughout – scenes are beautifully set, characters are brought to life with their strengths and flaws and in Rosamund is a really intriguing character. So headstrong and inquisitive, but often naive and watching her blossom from childhood to adulthood is a wonderful journey that we get to share in. She isn’t content to sit back and enjoy a luxurious life, even if it means putting herself in danger. She is also aware of those she meets risking their lives too and that adds a real emotional element to the storyline as she faces so many obstacles.
 
I loved how it showed that people find strength when facing adversity and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment!
 

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#BookReview The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

About the book

My real name, no one remembers.
The truth about that summer, no one else knows.

In the summer of 1862, a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe descends upon Birchwood Manor on the banks of the Upper Thames. Their plan: to spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity. But by the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared; a priceless heirloom is missing; and Edward Radcliffe’s life is in ruins.

Over one hundred and fifty years later, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London, uncovers a leather satchel containing two seemingly unrelated items: a sepia photograph of an arresting-looking woman in Victorian clothing, and an artist’s sketchbook containing the drawing of a twin-gabled house on the bend of a river.

Why does Birchwood Manor feel so familiar to Elodie? And who is the beautiful woman in the photograph? Will she ever give up her secrets?

Told by multiple voices across time, The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a story of murder, mystery and thievery, of art, love and loss. And flowing through its pages like a river, is the voice of a woman who stands outside time, whose name has been forgotten by history, but who has watched it all unfold: Birdie Bell, the clockmaker’s daughter.

Published by Mantle

Purchase Links

hive.co.uk  £13.69

waterstones  £9.49

Book Depository  £9.49

MY REVIEW

I was lucky to read this via The Pigeonhole app, which meant you got to read along with others over 10 days, make comments and hear comments from the author as well and that made for a wonderful reading experience and happy to say that I loved this story! Watching a story told over 150 years and with many characters and varying threads always makes for a fabulous tale and Kate Morton seems to have this knack of storytelling down to a T!

Elodie is the character in the now. She’s an archivist, happy in her work of looking back at history, and when she comes across a satchel containing items linked to the Stratton family she can’t wait to find out more about them, through whatever means necessary especially as she feels so connected to them! The more time she spends with these peoples’ items, the more she feels she knows them and this sets her off on an incredible journey as she seeks to find out more.

We are also introduced to the character of Edward – a painter from the past who becomes fixated on his muses and his latest work at his home at Birchwood. This house plays such a huge role in this book that it becomes a character in its’ own right and the secrets it has laid witness to over the years are never too far away from being revealed – if people just knew the right places to look.

The story flits between the present and the past seamlessly – each storyline has so many fascinating characters and plot developments that I never found my interest waning which can sometimes happen especially in such a large book! Many of the characters could have even had their own book written about their stories – Ada, Lily, Jack, Lucy to name a few – as they were so full of captivating experiences and varying backgrounds that I just wanted to know even more about them!

Elodie too had her own issues to deal with in her personal life despite her quest distracting her. She was such a sympathetic character and a gentle soul that you feel a connection with her and keep wondering how she feels so linked to this house that she’d never even heard of until she sees a painting.

The sense of history and attention to detail were exquisite once more, and one that you just come to expect from a Kate Morton book! I just hope there’ll be many more!!

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#BookReview The Corset by Laura Purcell #PublicationDay #TheCorset

About the book

The new Victorian chiller from the author of Radio 2 Book Club pick, The Silent Companions.

Is prisoner Ruth Butterham mad or a murderer? Victim or villain?

Dorothea and Ruth. Prison visitor and prisoner. Powerful and powerless. Dorothea Truelove is young, wealthy and beautiful. Ruth Butterham is young, poor and awaiting trial for murder.

When Dorothea’s charitable work leads her to Oakgate Prison, she is delighted with the chance to explore her fascination with phrenology and test her hypothesis that the shape of a person’s skull can cast a light on their darkest crimes. But when she meets teenage seamstress Ruth, she is faced with another theory: that it is possible to kill with a needle and thread. For Ruth attributes her crimes to a supernatural power inherent in her stitches.

The story Ruth has to tell of her deadly creations – of bitterness and betrayal, of death and dresses – will shake Dorothea’s belief in rationality and the power of redemption.

Can Ruth be trusted? Is she mad, or a murderer?

Published by Bloomsbury

Purchase Links

hive.co.uk

Waterstones

Goldsboro Books – signed edition

MY REVIEW

This was such an eagerly anticipated read for me after being terrified by The Silent Companions, and although The Corset didn’t have that same horror element for me, it still had so many chills and creepy moments that I raced through it and loved being transported back into the world of Ruth and Dorothea.

They are very different characters and that’s the strength of this story. You get to enjoy their very different outlook on life brought together by Dorothea visiting Ruth in prison and listening to her story in the hope that she can get to the bottom of why some people behave the way they do, by using phrenology. Dorothea is one of those people who thinks there is good in everyone, so although she is horrified by the story of Ruth and her crimes she is equally fascinated.

Ruth on the other hand has a very matter of fact approach to her life. She tells her life story to Dorothea in such a distanced manner that it adds to the chills while you are reading. Her life, at times, was terrifying but she seemed to process it all in a different way and that makes you question her sanity and innocence. It’s all very unsettling to read but the more you learn of Ruth and her past, the more you begin to understand why she maybe turned out the way she did. A very tough childhood full of poverty and bullying, seems at odds with the ease that she takes to embroidery work. And as a keen cross-stitcher myself, I now can’t pick up a needle without thinking of Ruth and her story!!

Ruth led a very grim life and, for me, that made her story more compelling than that of Dorothea. Dorothea and her life story were quite well guarded and I would have liked more of her past to see what led to this ‘need to know’ why people do things they do.

I loved the whole feel of this book with its’ attention to detail of the history, the backstory was enthralling and having 2 such strong female characters was also a strong plus point for me. It was dark and full of revenge and just kept me gripped!! Cannot wait to see what Laura Purcell writes next as she’s definitely become one of my favourites!

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#BlogTour Street Cat Blues by Alison O’Leary #BookReview #RandomThingTours

streetcat

It’s my pleasure to be the latest stop on this Blog Tour for the fabulous STREET CAT BLUES by ALISON O’LEARY! My thanks to the author and publisher for letting me be part of it all and to Anne of Random Things Tours for organising it all so wonderfully!

On to the important stuff! Here’s a little bit more about the book before my thoughts!

About the book

A quiet life for Aubrey?

After spending several months banged up in Sunny Banks rescue centre, Aubrey, a large tabby cat, has finally found his forever home with Molly and Jeremy Goodman, and life is looking good.

However, all that changes when a serial killer begins to target elderly victims in the neighbourhood.

Aubrey wasn’t particularly upset by the death of some of the previous victims, including Miss Jenkins whom Aubrey recalls as a vinegar-lipped bitch of an old woman who enjoyed throwing stones at cats, but Mr Telling was different.

Mr Telling was a mate… 

Publisher Crooked Cat Books

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Book Depository

About the Author

ALISON

Alison was born in London and spent her teenaged years in Hertfordshire. 

She has also lived in Somerset and Gloucestershire. 

After studying Law she decided to teach rather than go into practice and for many years taught Criminal Law to adults and young people. 

Since moving to the south coast, Alison has been involved in qualification and assessment development for major awarding bodies. 

When not writing, she enjoys crosswords, walking by the sea and playing Scrabble on her iPad – which she always sets to beginner level because, hey, why take chances? 

Alison lives with her husband John and cat Archie.  

Twitter @alisonoleary81

 

MY REVIEW

What a charming read this was! Lots of fun with a dark edge too! Who knew a cat would make for a great detective?! I loved Aubrey – the cat – as he was such a character and had an opinion on everything and everybody that crossed his path, be that good or bad!

When there’s a serial killer on the loose in the neighbourhood everyone is on tenterhooks. And Aubrey who is used to patrolling the area on his ’rounds’ has been noticing some strange goings on. But when his friend Mr Telling is killed, he goes into action to try and find the killer as Mr Telling was a mate and kind to all the cats in the area. 

His owners, Jeremy and Molly, are also wary of what has been happening in the neighbourhood, and as Jeremy is a teacher he notices things amongst the pupils of his class too. When a murder happens that affects one of his students he has no choice but to get involved and this adds another element to the story, and quite a tender one too.

Aubrey is a cat with attitude and he has the measure of the local residents! The chats he has with the other neighbourhood cats were a lot of fun to listen in to and he makes a number of quirky observations which had me giggling away!

But alongside the snarky cat side, he also gets to show his caring side when he gets close to young Carlos and it just goes to show that you shouldn’t judge people on their cirumstances. Carlos has been dealt a very bad hand as a kid and having to deal with something so traumatic, but he finds solace in sharing his problems with Aubrey and this was really touching to see.

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streetcattour