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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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I ended very cheerful

Reasons to be cheerful Book Cover Reasons to be cheerful
Nina Stibbe
humour, romance, coming of age
Penguin
(28 Mar. 2019)

'When people in the village heard I was about to start working in the city they tried to unsettle me with tales of woe. The sun, blotted out by the tall buildings, couldn't shine and the rain was poisoned by the toxic fumes that poured from the sock factories. My skin would be covered in pimples from the hell of it all'

So begins a young woman's journey to adulthood. Lizzie Vogel leaves her alcoholic, novel-writing mother and heads for Leicester to work for a racist, barely competent dentist obsessed with joining the freemasons.

Soon Lizzie is heading reluctantly, if at top speed, into the murky depths of adult life: where her driving instructor becomes her best friend; her first boyfriend prefers birdwatching to sex and where independence for a teenage girl might just be another word for loneliness.

In Reasons to Be Cheerful Nina Stibbe shows her extraordinary gift for illuminating the vital details which make us human. She is that rare writer who makes us laugh whilst reminding us of the joy, and the pain, of being alive.

 A story that crept up on me until the life of our heroine Lizzie became so bizarre that I just had to keep on reading. Her mother, her family, friends and in particular her work at the dentist’s – JP Wintergreen -, became part of my fantasy life and dreams too. The discussions were absurd and yet, somehow resonated of the time.

Her mother was described as being a:

Drunk; divorcee; nudist; amphetamine addict; nymphomaniac; shop lifter; would-be novelist; poet; and playwright.

In that order.

And her boyfriend was clearly asexual or gay, she assumed, because he liked having freshly laundered clothes, made fruit salads, and once experimented with lemon in his tea. And most importantly of all, never got his penis out, despite her belief that it was often intended as a compliment.

We never really find out just how many pregnancies Lizzie’s mother had, or affairs, but we do realise, that due to her addictions, as a child, Lizzie and her elder siblings, more or less raised themselves in a rather eccentric and liberal household.

The oddities of Lizzie’s family and her work  and romances, are recounted in such a dry manner that I found it difficult not to become enthusiastic over the life of this town and want now to meet them all in real life please!

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Some very different Xmas and Klaus ideas

Dear Santa - Get Bent Book Cover Dear Santa - Get Bent
Series: Operation Reindeer Retrieval #1
Viola Grace
Xmas, fantasy, humour
Viola Grace
(28 Oct. 2015)
Kindle

Dasher gains life as a human, but she is missing a connection. She wants a mate and is willing to do whatever it takes to find one.

One of nine reindeer that pulls Santa’s sleigh, Dasher wants nothing more than to find a partner, a mate, someone to be with. With the restrictions in the workshop, she has only one choice—she goes to the human world and starts trying men on for size.
The down side to mating with a human is that they don’t remember her the following day. The depressing point is that none of them have the stamina to keep up with her and there are no second chances. Every time is the first time with a human.
When she is assigned to a shop that needs an emergency audit, she enjoys the thrill of digging through the messy paperwork, and she has plans for the proprietor. One time might be enough if it was with him.
Argus has been sent to bring back a reindeer, but the woman with smouldering dark eyes is more than he was banking on. She seems nice, but he wants her naughty.

Had to look up the book title phrase in the Urban Dictionary but basically it means ‘I’m off!’ add rude words. A sweet and fun story but needed to be longer to develop characters and back-story.        





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Let’s all go on an adventure?

The Age of Misadventure Book Cover The Age of Misadventure
Judy Leigh
contemporary fiction, romance, humour
Avon Books UK
February 18, 2019
368

The gloriously funny new novel about living life to the full, whatever your age, from the author of A Grand Old Time. 55-year-old Georgie Turner doesn’t need a new man. Her daughter, aunt and sister are the most important people in her life (and the most infuriating). But it seems the older they get, the further apart they drift. Georgie’s never been a fan of her sister Bonnie’s husband, so when she learns her brother-in-law has been up to no good, Georgie sees an opportunity to bring the women of her family back together. Along with her 21-year-old daughter and 80-year-old aunt, she packs Bonnie into the back of her car and they leave Liverpool to hide out on the coast of Sussex. With the help of some sun, sea and bottle or two of prosecco, this will be an adventure they’ll never forget. But could the right man find Georgie while she’s stopping the wrong man finding her sister? A gorgeously fun and uplifting novel, perfect for fans of The 100 Year Old Man and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Yes, all 3 of us – let’s leave Liverpool and go to Brighton…

Why? Well, there’s the rub – we need to get out of town quick, ‘cos a bad man is after us…

But we can borrow this really smart flat with lovely views. Just one problem – we can’t leave it, because someone’s very stupid husband made a very bad and very dodgy deal and now they are after us to pony up. Which of course we can’t. So we need to stay hidden. 2 sisters and an elderly, but game Aunty.

I wish this story had been quite as amusing as it would seem from the description. I did think that Nan was brilliant but found the sister weak and whiny and very shallow with nothing at all humorous about her. The potential elements were there for a really great story that would make a brilliant film. But it just missed its mark for me.

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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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