Books/book review/fiction/humour
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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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Books/book review/fiction/humour/Romance
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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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Travel the Hippie Trail

Rosie's Travelling Tea Shop Book Cover Rosie's Travelling Tea Shop
Rebecca Raisin
contemporary fiction, romance, humour
HQ
April 23, 2019
384

A swanky job as a Michelin-Starred Sous Chef, a loving husband and future children scheduled for exactly January 2021. That’s until she comes home one day to find her husband’s pre-packed bag and a confession that he's had an affair. Heartbroken and devastated, Rosie drowns her sorrows in a glass (or three) of wine, only to discover the following morning that she has spontaneously invested in a bright pink campervan to facilitate her grand plans to travel the country. Now, Rosie is about to embark on the trip of a lifetime, and the chance to change her life! With Poppy, her new-found travelling tea shop in tow, nothing could go wrong, could it…? A laugh-out-loud novel of love, friendship and adventure! Perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson and Holly Martin.

This is a sweet romantic story of what happens when someone decides they need a complete change of lifestyle, because the last one sucked – fiances having affairs and so on.

So what do they do? but buy, on impulse an old Campervan/Mobile Teashop? which works because Rosie likes to bake cakes and make ‘comfort’ food. Rosie then takes this van on the Hippie trail, following the various festivals around the country. And trying to make sense of her new lifestyle with an electronic friend.

Cozy and warming, but little about the real unsustainability of living out of a van – even if you manage to find a really nice one, all year round. Apart from having to park up for the winter, they are seriously cold – I’ve stayed in them.. And trying to make ends meet – well…

But still a romantic idea as in following the Gypsies O!

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Books/book review/Fantasy/Romance/cats
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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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How to make money – a naughty way

Hollywood Whore Book Cover Hollywood Whore
Volume 2 (The True Hollywood Lies )
Josie Brown
contemporary fiction, romance, humour
Signal Press
October 16, 2015

A TRUE HOLLYWOOD LIES Novel"

Previously published as "Impossibly Tongue-Tied"--All over Hollywood, men are dialing O--for orgasms. Her steamy naughty talk fills them with lust and longing, and helps them perform like the studs they claim to be.In truth, the industry's favorite "erotic phone operatrix" is Nina Harte, a struggling actress who has put her career on hold so that her husband, Nathan, can pursue his own dreams of stardom. When Nathan's career takes off, so does he, leaving Nina and their four-year-old son, Jake, for his diva costar, Katerina McPherson. Then "Kat 'n' Nat" are crowned the media's newest celebrity sweethearts, and Kat labels Nina an unfit mother in order to win custody of Jake, just so that she can have that highly-coveted celebrity accessory--an adorable child--sans any unsightly stretch marks.The one person who does care about Nina is Nathan's agent, Sam Godwin. In fact, he's in love with her. And because he has both a heart and a conscience, Sam feels guilty for having put Nat in Kat's path in the first place. Then again, how will he feel when he learns that Nina and O are one and the same?

Except she isn’t really a whore – just gets involved in the sex trade to keep food on the table, and her actor husband in acting classes as he doesn’t seem able to bring home any money to speak of.

I like Josie Brown as an author but I think I prefer her humorous books. This story is a morality play about Hollywood and the evils that can befall you if you go there – especially if you start off being good looking. It ends well for those who need it to, but but a lot has to be processed to get there – and I learnt a lot of new language myself on the way! Clearly need to read an urban dictionary…

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