GrowlyCub is Sharing the Shallows

GrowlyCub is another of my Twitter reading friends whom I first met when I started tweeting in 2009. Apart from her savvy romance fiction knowledge, I found GrowlyCubs tweets about her cats, life in the US and her subsequent move to the UK, always engaging. I have really felt the difference since she has moved as the timezone differences highlight why I have fewer Twitter from the UK. We still, occasionally cross paths, and I especially enjoy her photos from her historical romps and dances around grand homes.

GrowlyCub beanie with Putney's The Rake and The ReformerGrowlyCub


Translator, currently working for a localisation quality assurance company for games in London aka I play games for a living which can be way less fun than it sounds lol

Can you describe yourself?

GrowlyCub is a Jill-of-all-trades who is interested in many subjects from history, language and architecture to science like genetics and evolution, which made it hard to settle to any one career because there is always something else new and exciting going on that needs to be explored. She has two and a half degrees (Academically Trained Graduate Translator from Germany, a Master in Arts of Teaching Foreign Language and a half degree in biology/genetics from two US institutions), has worked in business, international education, taught foreign language to American college students, bred and competitively showed Maine Coon cats in CFA and TICA and worked in a museum before returning to her original career as a translator.  German, with Croat blood on her mother’s side, she moved to the US in 1998 and stayed for 17 years before relocating to London in 2015 where she had planned to settle for life until Brexit made that impossible.  GrowlyCub is currently evaluating countries for future permanent residency and would love for people who read these pages to tell her why or why not she should consider theirs. 🙂

What is your main reading medium (books, blogs, games, news, etc) and how much time do you spend reading a week?

E and audio books for fun and learning and Twitter for news.  I do not read as much for fun as I used to, in most part due to the utter grimness that is our life these days and a surfeit of work where I (proof) read all day, if that counts.. Those weekends I don’t spend visiting one of London’s many lovely and free museums with my friends are wholly given over to the consumption of the written word, though (well, and laundry :).

Bujold' Shards of HonourWhat or who is your joyful reading (guilty or otherwise) pleasure? 

In fiction, I exclusively read genre romance (historical) and romantic SFF (Bujold, Lee/Miller) these days. In my misspent youth, I devoured everything SFF I could lay my hands on, haunted the bookstores of my home town and later university town for US imports of hist rom and while living in Stirling, Scotland, in the 90s, I regularly travelled the local library circuit in pursuit of their Harlequin Temptation collection.  Good times, those!

I reread constantly (Gellis, old Balogh and Putney, Beverley, Carlyle and Heyer) because I find most of the currently published historical romance not historical enough.. But as hope springs eternal, I keep trying new-to-me authors found via Twitter or recommended by friends.  I used to read a number of romance blogs regularly but as their focus shifted and I found fewer reviews relevant to my interests, I eventually stopped.  Currently I visit various rom sites when I see something interesting mentioned on Twitter.

A brief history of everyone who ever livedIn non-fiction, I explore any recent science topic that piques my interest via audio book. If you are at all into genetics, I can recommend Adam Rutherford’s A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived, narrated extremely ably by the author, and for evolution Sapiens by Yuval Harari which has my favourite hypothesis about the domestication of wheat. And if you never want to sleep again, The Family That Couldn’t Sleep by D.T. Max about prion disease, narrated superbly by Grover Gardner.

Sapiens by Yuval HarariDo you have a favourite storyline or plot? And do you have one you will not read?

I love, utterly *love* Marriage of Convenience plots (Heyer’s Convenient Marriage still makes my heart go pitter patter after 30+ years of rereads) and Second Chance at Love (Putney’s Silk and Secrets and most of Paula Detmer Riggs’ oeuvre).

I hate enemies to lovers and revenge plots with a burning passion and if there is the word Highlander in the title or blurb, I back away fast. I am underwhelmed by romances that have kids central to the plot line. My utter no-no is adultery, and yet, in the hands of the right author even that can work (Balogh’s Counterfeit Betrothal, Secret Pearl and Dancing with Clara). Also not terribly keen on adventure plots or road romances and yet the above-named Putney contains all three and it’s a frequent reread. 🙂

The Rake and the ReformerMy absolutely favourite book of all times, which has travelled with me from home to university, to Scotland back to Germany and then to the US as one of only 4 books I took when I went to live there in 1998 and was the only paper copy that came on the transatlantic adventure to the UK in 2015, is Putney’s The Rake and the Reformer.  How can you not love a book that has a cat named Attila beating up a dog named Nemesis, an odd-eyed, 6ft tall heroine and a hero with an attitude problem? 🙂  USians can enjoyed this on audio book, extremely well narrated by Mark Meadows.

Why do you/don’t you use a public library?

I use online libraries every day, but rarely set foot in physical libraries these days.  Matter of fact, I avoid physical libraries because I currently have a book overdue from March 2016, that I have renewed online 26 times because I cannot manage to get my carcass down there to return it. Online libraries are so much more my thing!

Balogh's Counterfeit betrothalDo you RUI*. If so, what?

I’m too boring to do UI of any kind, but I read all the time.  🙂

Do you have a favourite reading spot?

My bed under the blankets, cozily warm, with a cup of tea on the nightstand.


Toilet reading: 

Doesn’t everybody? I mean, what do people do? Stare at the walls while listening to their bodies make uncouth noises?  I draw the line at food stuffs and I don’t borrow physical books (see above).

Romance fiction of the Happily Ever After (not the love tragedy) kind – are you a Lover or a Hater and why?

Lover, enthusiastically, and have been since I came across my first Georgette Heyer (Arabella) at a friend’s house around age 11. Life is grim, ever more so these recent years.  I want to live the trials and tribulations of the characters knowing there is hope at the end of thestory.  If I want to be depressed, I can watch the news on TV or Twitter.

I love seeing how characters overcome the obstacles life (or the author) throws at them, secure in the knowledge that they *will* overcome them, which is why I am utterly allergic to authors who want to “push the envelope” where the romance genre is concerned.  If they want to write a book without a HEA, call it a love story, but do not market it to us as “romance”.

What would you give up reading for**?

Nothing, ever. Well, if somebody wanted to give me US$25 mil, I’d promise to give up reading and then lawyer up and break the contract to buy more romance books. 🙂

Can a romance/crime/super/etc hero be the driver of a hatchback?

I don’t see why not.  Hero is as hero does, not as s/he owns.

*Reading Under the Influence

**I like stranded prepositions

3 thoughts on “GrowlyCub is Sharing the Shallows

  1. GC, good to know more about you.

    You don’t want to live where I live even though your weather matches my weather. London is far better place to leave, Brexit notwithstanding. Is Germany not an option?

    Can you believe it? I haven’t read Heyer’s Convenient Marriage yet. Arrrgghh!! It’s now sitting in my AMZ cart to be bought.

  2. *makes copious notes* Funny, I also read mostly romance and nonfiction. I wonder what that says about our brains.

    Sadly, I can’t recommend my country, much though I would like to have you in it. 😦

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