Posts Tagged With: humour

The Flood by Steven Scaffardi

IMG_6511Title: The Flood (Sex, Love and Dating Disasters #2)
Author: Steven Scaffardi
ASIN: B01D1U7Z0I
Publisher: Lad Lit Press
First Published: 30 April 2016 (Kindle)
No .of pages: 359

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis (from Amazon):
One bet, four girls, eight weeks, multiple dates. What could possibly go wrong?

Following his traumatic eight month dry spell, Dan Hilles is back in the driving seat and ready to put his dating disasters behind him.

But if only it were that simple.

After a drunken afternoon in the pub, fueled by the confidence of alcohol, Dan makes a bet with his three best pals that will complicate his love-life more than ever when he brazenly declares that he could juggle multiple women all at the same time.

With just eight weeks to prove his point, Dan is about to find out how hard it is to date a flood of women without them all finding out about each other, especially when they come in the shape of an ex-girlfriend, a stalker, the office ice queen and the one that got away.

The Flood is the hilarious follow-up to The Drought by lad lit author Steven Scaffardi, chronicling the adventures of unlucky-in-love Dan Hilles.

Review:
I was fortunate enough to review the first book in this series, (The Drought) a few years back (you can see my review HERE) and found it pants-wettingly hilarious, so when I was offered the chance of reviewing the sequel, I grabbed it with both hands, expecting to once again bust a gut laughing.

I was not disappointed!

The Flood picks up where we left Dan and his pals. A spanner has been thrown in the works of Dan’s love life, and his friends, Rob, Jack and Ollie, are there to lend him a shoulder to cry on. Oh, wait, hang on, this is LAD LIT, not chick lit – the guys would laugh Dan out of the pub if he cried like a big girl! Instead they’re there to poke fun at his total lack of prowess with the ladies, and get him into situations he’d do far better staying well out of. But if Dan didn’t get into trouble, we wouldn’t have this gem of a comedy to amuse us, and that would be a crying shame!

The lads are fleshed out more roundly, and we see a little more of what makes them all tick. Jack was still incredibly annoying (I don’t know – maybe it’s a girl thing, but I wouldn’t touch him with a barge pole!), but I found Rob strangely attractive – is he showing a slightly more sensitive side? I’ll leave you to be the judge of that. And Ollie, well, even the thickest of mates can occasionally be the wisest and most astute, and his seemingly naive words, more often than not, provide the advice that helps Dan the most.

Then there’s the introduction of a new Welsh workmate who isn’t black enough, and an absolutely insane flatmate with a dog obsession that had me almost falling out of my chair. More than once, I snorted coffee out of my nose whilst reading this book, and on one occasion I almost dropped my Kindle in the bathtub while reading in there, because I was laughing so hard – I couldn’t put it down!

Seriously, whether or not you are a fan of lad lit, if you like a good laugh, this is the book for you. Just make sure you read The Drought first to really get the most out of this sequel, (you can get it FREE from Amazon until the end of Monday 2nd May – just click HERE) then continue Dan’s hapless adventures in dating with The Flood. Never has a reversal of fortunes been so funny!

Reviewed by Kell Smurthwaite

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Whiny Whiny Rhino by McBoop

whiny-whiny-rhinoTitle: Whiny Whiny Rhino
Author: McBoop
ASIN: B00MBZNXJW (Kindle e-book)
Publisher: Blue Blanket Publishing
First Published: 131 July 2014 (Kindle)
No .of pages: 32

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis (from Amazon):
Can Tiny Tiny Rhino have a fun day?
Or will all of his whining get in the way?

If you’ve ever been worried to try something new,
then Whiny Whiny Rhino is the book for you!

From creative team McBoop, comes the story of a whiny rhino with a big head and an even bigger imagination.

Review:

This fun rhyming story with delightful, colourful illustrations, is a joy to read along with small children. They can enjoy the story with all its jungle characters, and also identify with the small rhino who is so wary of new things that he’s missing out on all the fun, while learning that although trying something new can be a scary thing, it can also be exciting.

It’s a lovely book for those kids who just need a little extra confidence, as it can open the door to taking about any fears they have, while seeing that sometimes you just need to take that leap of faith and enjoy the ride.

Reviewed by Kell Smurthwaite

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The Drought by Steven Scaffardi

Title: The Drought
Author: Steven Scaffardi
ISBN: 978-1780031927
Publisher: Pen Press
First Published: September 2011
No .of pages: 298

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis (from Amazon):
Dan Hilles is a pretty regular kind of guy – regular job, regular bunch of mates, regular male aversion to shopping. But following his break-up with long-term girlfriend, Stacey, he finds himself single again. He’s been out of the game for a while and is a little out of practice. Soon, the very irregular and increasingly worrying issue in Dan’s life is the extended drought he finds himself suffering. And we’re not talking the climate change, scorched earth, God I’m parched variety. You’ve got to hand it to Dan though – it certainly isn’t from a lack of trying. With stalwart mates Ollie, Jack and Rob on hand to lend their collective pearls of male wisdom and arrange the odd road trip, you’d think Dan’s days of languishing in a sexual wilderness would be numbered. Even best friends can’t help prevent the kind of surreal holes Dan just can’t seem to help digging himself into. And with each failed attempt, his self-esteem plummets to the point where he wonders if ‘little Dan’ will ever work again. Good job he has Kelly, his reliable and sympathetic colleague, to confide in. As a woman, she can perhaps shed some female light on why he’s failing so miserably with the opposite sex, balancing out the testosterone-fuelled ‘advice’ from the lads. Surely Dan can’t go wrong with Kelly teaching him the various intricacies of a woman’s mind. Steven Scaffardi’s first novel will have every guy laughing out loud in recognition and every girl secretly worrying – is this how men really think? A new talent to watch out for on the ‘lad-lit’ scene.

Review:
WARNING – This book will make you cry… with laughter!

I’m a big fan of lad-lit (I read a hell of a lot more of it than I do chick-lit, and I’m a chick!), and Scaffardi has packed everything you could possibly want into this voyage of self- and sexual discovery. Dan is a tragically comic character – let’s face it, we all know a guy who isn’t so successful with the ladies and tries just a little too hard with hilarious outcomes – and his mates are just as daft. All are present and correct – the smooth cheater who thinks he can bag any woman he fancies (and usually does), the big bruiser who is a bit soft in the head, but his heart is in the right place (and he’s there to pick up the leftovers from the others – all those not-so-pretty friends who are left over when the smoothie has had his pick), and the brains of the outfit who isn’t always quite as sharp as he’d like to think, but usually comes good.

And then there are the women. You know the types – all those scary first dates that ever went wrong and made you the joke of the week with your buddies, all the bunny boilers in the making and clinging vines and whining jealous types, march in and out of poor Dan’s love life without him getting even a sniff of a chance of getting them into bed.

The plot follows a tried and tested path, and you always know where Dan is going to end up come the end of the book, but the journey to get to that point is so funny you don’t care that you know what’s going to happen because you genuinely want it to happen that way.

This has a broad appeal and would be the perfect gift for the lad in your life, or even the chick with a knowing sense of humour who will recognise her man-mates on the pages, and there are sex gags and innuendos galore which will have you giggling from start to finish, while you cheer Dan and his mates along the way.

Reviewed by Kell Smurthwaite

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Boomerang by Alan Hutcheson

Title: Boomerang
Author: Alan Hutcheson
ISBN: 978-1849239288
Publisher: YouWriteOn.com
First Published: March 2009
No. of Pages: 312

Rating: 2/5

Synopsis (Amazon):
Ted Hogwood’s beloved Sarah, a jazz guitar, is in the window of Topp Dollar Pawn. The only way he can get the money to rescue her is to accept an assignment from the AABC, a not nearly official branch of the United States Intelligence community. He is partnered with Jerry Kwiatkowski, master of the Hammond B-3 organ and chronic flatulence sufferer, to steal a boomerang containing secrets that should have died with J. Edgar Hoover over thirty years ago. It would be a simple job if only they knew what they were doing. And if a crossbow wielding assassin, two unemployed Australian women, the Director of Central Intelligence and a clothing optional ex-cheerleader were not also hot on the boomerang’s trail.

Review:
It took me quite a while to get through this novel, largely because I had to keep going back and re-reading sections in an attempt to make more sense of what was happening. It jumps around a lot, from continent to continent, and from character to character, never really giving a good grounding with any one person or place, so there’s no real depth. It doesn’t quite seem to know what it wants to be – does it want to be comedy or serious? It veers between the two without anchoring on either – not quite funny enough to be a comedy, but not quite serious enough to be otherwise.

With all the jumping around, I quite literally lost the plot, and I found having so many characters (none of whom were employed to their full potential, or given enough oomph and personality to grab me fully) rather jarring. It’s a shame, because I think the story had a lot of potential – it just wasn’t given a chance to really shine.

Reviewed by Kell Smurthwaite

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Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett

witches-abroad

Synopsis from Amazon:

It seemed an easy job…After all, how difficult could it be to make sure that a servant girl doesn’t marry a prince?

But for the witches Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick, travelling to the distant city of Genua, things are never that simple…

Servant girls have to marry the prince. That’s what life is all about. You can’t fight a Happy Ending.

At least – up until now…

Book 12 of the Discworld series sees a return of Granny Weatherwax. This time, with her partners, Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick, they go travelling. Their aim: to stop a servant girl from marrying a prince. Based around fairy tales, namely The Wizard of Oz and Cinderella, the three witches travel abroad to fight mirror magic and happy endings.

As usual, Pratchett has delivered a treat. I love the Discworld books. None of them have disappointed me. Pratchett writes in a way that draws you in; he is engaging and funny; and when reading, although these books are fantasy, you have no trouble believing them. His descriptions are near perfect, and you find yourself there in the Disworld alongside the characters. I really enjoy how Terry Pratchett takes a story or a concept, so in this book it was fairy tales, and reinvents them and makes them his own. He is a very talented writer.

Along with his other books, Pratchett has a feast of characters who you just enjoy reading. The witches are so funny. Every book that features them is funny. Granny Weatherwax is legendary. She is witty, intelligent, and never backs down. My favourite bit was when she tried to dance. As for Nanny Ogg – she is a genius creation. Her post cards, and her translations, along with the drinking was very funny. Of course, Death features in this book too. And of course, he was not a let down. He is a very funny character.

I enjoyed this novel. It is full of fantasy, adventure, and a few family secrets. This book wasn’t a let down.

8/10

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The Baby Group – Rowan Coleman

Synopsis

Meet The Baby Group: Natalie ran her own design company until baby Freddie unexpectedly came along. Now the capable person she once was is trapped inside a crazy woman’s body, longing for just one decent night’s sleep and words of more than one syllable. Meg is onto her fourth child but still feels she has to take notes. Meg’s sister-in-law Frances organises her little boy like he’s a private in the army, but underneath her prickly facade she longs for the kind of friendships others seem to find so easy. Former career girl Jess sees danger lurking in every corner, doubting she’ll ever be a good mother. Stay-at-home house-husband Steve is just glad to have the opportunity to spend time with his daughter. And sixteen-year-old Tiffany is the youngest – yet possibly the wisest – of them all.

Six very different parents. Six very different lives. But when Natalie’s dodgy wiring leads to a series of chance encounters, they rapidly discover – through Baby Music, Baby Aerobics, coffee and more importantly cake – that there’s safety in numbers. And their own unofficial baby group is formed.

Review

I’m not going to go into any great detail with regards to the actual plotline of this book because in all honesty the above synopsis does in fact give a very good and accurate description of it so I don’t really feel the need to repeat any of it here.

I will however say that although The Baby Group does supposedly have six main characters whose lives we periodically follow throughout the book it does in fact primarily focus on that of Natalie and the story is told mostly from her point of view. Saying that we do get a bit of an insight into the lives of Meg, Jess and Tiffany however unfortunately the same can’t be said for that of Frances and Steve – neither of whom are featured all that heavily and seem to be there for no other reason than to add a couple of extra members to the group. I did find this a little disappointing especially with regards to Steve. As the only male member of the group it would have been nice to get a little bit more of an insight into his life as a stay-at-home father however I’m sure the author had her reasons for not focusing on him more than she did, I just can’t figure out what those reasons were.

Although I personally have decided to place this book under the chick lit label, it is however a little bit more than just your average stereotypical chick lit book, mainly because it has a bit more substance to it. I did however find some aspects of it a little bit too hard to believe, in particular the circumstances surrounding the initial meeting between Natalie and Jack. I don’t know any woman who would do what she did and swan off for a romantic weekend in Venice with a man she met that very same day. Even now after having finishing the book and understanding Jack’s reasons for doing so, from Natalie’s point of view I still find it a little bit hard to swallow but maybe that’s just me.

I also have to admit to finding the ending a little bit too fairytale like for my liking, however it did tie up a few loose ends and everyone seemed to get the happy ending I was so hoping they would do, so I suppose I can’t really complain.

Overall this is a very easy book to get into and the words and story flow at a very steady pace. With laugh-out-loud moments interspersed with the occasional teary eyed one you can’t help but grow to love the characters and by the last page I was almost sorry to have to say goodbye to them.

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New Rules, by Bill Maher

This is a very entertaining, very quick (I read it in one sitting) book, written by Bill Maher, American comedian, tv presenter, writer and social campaigner.

Maher hosts a HBO television show called Real Time with Bill Maher, and New Rules is a segment on that show, in which he comes up with ideas for new rules to help make society run more easily.  This book is a collection of those rules.  Most of them are flippant and funny (one of his new rules involves the idea of Bob Dylan being the ‘voice of a generation’; Maher makes the observation that if a generation could choose a voice, it would pick a better one than Dylan’s – and that is the kind of tone which runs through most of the book). 

However, being a stauch campaigner for the Democratic party – although he did support independent Ralph Nader in the 2004 election – there are a smattering of rules which reflect Maher’s opinion on certain topical issues – stem cell research and same sex marriage, are two examples.  On these matters, Maher drops the flippancy somewhat, and talks passionately about what he believes.

Overall though, this is a funny and light hearted book – with plenty of “He’s absolutely right!” moments.

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The Curious Incident…by Mark Haddon

Amazon synopsis:

The title The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (or the curious incident of the dog in the night-time as it appears within the book) is an appropriate one for Mark Haddon’s ingenious novel both because of its reference to that most obsessive and fact-obsessed of detectives, Sherlock Holmes, and because its lower-case letters indicate something important about its narrator.

Christopher is an intelligent youth who lives in the functional hinterland of autism–every day is an investigation for him because of all the aspects of human life that he does not quite get. When the dog next door is killed with a garden fork, Christopher becomes quietly persistent in his desire to find out what has happened and tugs away at the world around him until a lot of secrets unravel messily.

Haddon makes an intelligent stab at how it feels to, for example, not know how to read the faces of the people around you, to be perpetually spooked by certain colours and certain levels of noise, to hate being touched to the point of violent reaction. Life is difficult for the difficult and prickly Christopher in ways that he only partly understands; this avoids most of the obvious pitfalls of novels about disability because it demands that we respect–perhaps admire–him rather than pity him. —Roz Kaveney

What an incredible book! Haddon has done himself proud. This is a very good representation of a boy how suffers with autism. I think it is great that this has been written, showing how life is for people with this kind of disability. Everything has to be ordered and logical for Christopher to feelcomfortable and if it isn’t, he screams and hides and tries to block out noise. I have contact with people with autism and this is very true and I think it is great that this has been brought to our attention so we can understand a little bit of how life is for other people.

My favourite character was Christopher. He took risks, he was humorous when he did not mean to be and he was honest, and I just loved him. Haddon wrote his character very well.

The book was easy and quick to read. It was gripping as there was always a new adventure and it made me laugh in several places. My only complaints are there was a lot of bad language used and lots of maths problems which I didn’t understand – but the latter was part of what made Christopher’s character so unique and realistic.

This is a really good book. Go read it!!

9/10

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Cautionary Verses and Ruthless Rhymes by Charlie Ottley

This evening, on my Mum’s recommendation I read:
Cautionary Verses and Ruthless Rhymes for modern times by Charlie Ottley.
From Amazon:

Book Description
“Cautionary Verses & Ruthless Ryhmes…for modern times” is
the definitive update of Hilaire Belloc’s classic ‘Cautionary Tales’ for
the 21st Century, targeting the worst types of modern teenager, all of whom
meet with horrible mishaps as a result of their revolting habits. Whether
it’s watching too much trash tv, overusing the mobile phone, being cruel to
animals or skipping double physics, this twisted tome shows us how it’s not
always possible to learn from your mistakes. Author and Travel presenter
Charlie Ottley has been a professional poet for ten years. A resident bard
for Radio Four, Five Live, Carlton and GMTV, Charlie also writes and
performs odes for weddings, birthdays and special occasions. Cartoonist
Oliver Preston’s hilarious illustrations combine to make this the sort of
book that will appeal to everyone, particularly long suffering mums and
dads!

Synopsis
In this clever update of Hilaire Belloc’s original “Cautionary Verses”, Charlie Ottley locates our Achilles’ heel and goes for it with a tickling stick. Grumpy old men who go on about the modern world can bore us to tears – it’s so much more fun with a light touch and a comic rhyme. From the dangers of skipping off school to over-dependence on TV soaps, these witty warnings are hugely enjoyable – all wonderfully illustrated with original drawings by Oliver Preston.

I have to say, I loved this! It is 224 pages, but is littered with amusing illustrations to go along with the hilarious and non-PC poems. It took me an hour and a half to read this fantastic book. Ottley uses examples from real life that annoy us all and makes amazing rhymes from them. My two favourite were:
The Malodorous Tale of Nathan Still
Gav the Chav

I found both so funny!
This is definitely an adult book, but a very quick, funny, worthwhile read!
9/10

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C’est la Folie by Michael Wright.

Synopsis
One day in late summer, Michael Wright gave up his comfortable South London existence and, with only his long-suffering cat for company, set out to begin a new life. His destination was “La Folie”, a dilapidated 15th century farmhouse in need of love and renovation in the heart of rural France.In a bid to fulfil a childhood dream of becoming a Real Man, he struggles to make the journey from clinically social townie to rugged, solitary paysan. Through his enthusiastic attempts at looking after livestock and coming to terms with the concept of living Abroad Alone, he discovers what it takes to be a man at the beginning of the 21st century.

Review
Michael Wright has written a column about his exploits in La France in the Telegraph with much success and has now written a novel based on these adventures. The novel, C’est La Folie is a wonderfully candid description of his life in France, battling with the natives, and an ancient delapidated farm house, overgrown land, and the hilarious problems of animal husbandry. And…added to all that, we hear about his vintage aeroplane, his piano, his triumphs at the tennis club, and his attempts to socialise and become integrated into the french community.
He decided to up roots and take himself and his cat to France, in an attempt to ‘become a man’ and prove to himself that he could do ‘manly’ things. So, accordingly he recounts his desire to acquire manly tools, which might persuade him to do manly jobs, like the desperate work that needs doing on the farmhouse, just to make it habitable. As the story progresses, we hear him inwardly balking at the idea of chopping wood in the snow, and other manly tasks, yet he does them all, somehow sticking to his guns and proving he can do it, and enjoy it. He discovers he quite likes physical work, once he gets going, and such are the distractions of his new home, he finds no time or inclination to write his novel, (well…mainly because he can’t think how to start it off!)

This book is hilarious. I had the audio copy which is read by Michael Wright himself, and I have to say that even if it had been the most boring book, I’d have listened because his voice and story-telling skills are great. I loved the gentle humour, which popped up so often and so subtly at times that I found myself in danger of missing bits here and there. I loved the fact that there were half a dozen strong themes running throughout which made the stories all the more interesting, and most of all I loved this man’s honesty. He is so self-deprecating, and yet somehow manages to charm everyone, and learns quickly from his mistakes. We find that despite his assertions to the contrary he ia a very able person, and at the end of the book, he is able to realise this for himself and leave the crutches of the past behind and look to the future.
The animals played a major part in the story and the joys and grief as Michael learns about life in the raw are beautifully portrayed, and it would be a stone-hearted person who could shrug at the deaths of Emil the little sheep, or Mary the chicken.
I really enjoyed this book and will enjoy reading it again and hopefully the follow-up, which I believe is planned for release next year (2009). To those who have criticised it as not being a literary work…it isn’t meant to be, not in the sense of an heavy duty tome, but it is a literary work that recounts life and people in the 21st century and all the struggles, hopes, triumphs and loves that keep folk sane and able to get on with their lives. Whether you can relate to his lifestyle or not, you will be able to relate to the man and his steps towards knowing himself a little better, and becoming ‘manly’.
Susie / Kimmikat

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