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Our new humour section is filled with books with elements of humour. Books that will make you laugh, chortle and chuckle as you read.
Angela Makholwa’s The Blessed Girl is a wildly witty South Africa-set novel underpinned by smart and serious commentary on corruption, duplicity, drug abuse, sexual abuse, and what it’s like to be “blessed” (“a person, usually female, who lives a luxurious lifestyle funded by an older, often married partner, in return for sexual favours”). Hats off to the author for interweaving a rambunctious, read-in-one-sitting rollercoaster with shining a light on real-life struggles. Super-confident Bontle has been “charming the pants off people since the day I was born” when her parents “knew that I was destined to go far because of the way I looked, hence they named me Bontle – The Beautiful One… Watch out, world!” Bontle sure knows how to get what she wants from one of the many men she has falling over her, paying for her penthouse, flash cars, designer clothes, cosmetic surgery - luxuries her hair extension business would never give her. Bontle may not have excelled at school, but she does have a “PhD in MENcology, baby!” and manages to juggle several men at once, putting her troubled past behind her – for a time at least. Cracks begin to show when some of the men slip from her manicured grasp, when her past starts snapping at her heels, and Bontle must piece herself back together. Balancing outrageous entertainment with exposing ugly underbellies and a young woman’s realignment of a life swerved off-course, readers who enjoyed Sarong Party Girls will adore this.
What a lovely, charming, friendly read this is, an enticing ‘will they, won’t they’ romance is equally matched by the story of animals in need and children requiring an alternative learning environment. Molly Baker runs her beloved farm as a school, when a new student arrives, Molly’s life is turned thoroughly upside down and in to a roundabout spin. I adored the explanation at the beginning of the novel by Carole Matthews that Hope Farm is based on the real Animal Antiks Farm. The first sentence had me chortling and I settled further down into the comfort of my sofa to enjoy the read. Molly tells her own story, I could really hear her voice and her personality shines through. Can I say that the animals very nearly steal the show for me, having had a downright grumpy (read that as flesh tearing vampire) rescue cat myself, their individual quirks made me smile. ‘Happiness for Beginners’ is entertaining, heart-warming and ever so readable, I raced through in one sitting and enjoyed every second.
If you’ve been following this fabulously enjoyable series by Lindsey Kelk, then just to let you know that this is the eighth and last book about Angela. While you could read ‘I Heart Hawaii’ as a standalone, you will have so much more fun if you join Angela and her friends at the beginning with 'I Heart New York’. Jenny invites Angela on a press trip to Hawaii, as is normal, chaos and havoc accompany them. Our leading lady is gorgeously relatable, even though she lives a covetable life. Part of her charm, as well as her huge heart, is her tendency to stumble from one mess to another. Her friends and family are a gorgeously readable bunch, even the one or two who could charitably be described as frightful. ‘I Heart’ is an entertaining series from start to end, and I smiled, smirked and ahh’d my way through this engaging, toasty-warm read.
Darkly playful, Jeanette Winterson’s Frankissstein is an astonishing intertextual re-conjuring of Mary Shelley’s masterpiece, melding an interpretation of Shelley’s novel and life with an exploration of what it is to be human, freedom, sex, gender and love. It’s thought-provoking, thrilling, and funny to boot. Contextualised in - and interspersed with - Shelley’s writing of Frankenstein, we are transported to Memphis where modern-day transgender Dr Ry Shelley attends a robotics expo to “consider how robots will affect our mental and physical health.” Here Ry encounters Ron, the Welsh inventor of a new range of Sexbots he believes will provide a woman to satisfy every male need, from deluxe bots who can hold a conversation (“she waits till you’re finished, of course, no interrupting”), to Germaine, a “70s feminist version with no bra, messy hair and a dildo for anal play”. It’s at the expo that Ry first encounters - and later falls for - Professor Victor Stein, a leader in the field of Artificial Intelligence who has dealings with The Alcor Life Extension Foundation, an Arizona facility that processes dead bodies with the aim of indefinitely extending life. Alongside the love story, and the juxtaposition of Frankenstein with contemporary conversations around A.I., the novel also addresses Brexit, bigotry, racism and English insularity: “The English are serial racists – one group gets accepted, another group becomes the scapegoat”. And back in Shelley’s day, England is described as, "small-minded, smug, self-righteous, unjust, a country that hates the stranger, whether that stranger be a foreigner or an atheist, or a poet, or a thinker, or a radical, or a woman.” Profound, absurd and mischievous, this is an incisive, suggestive romp for our times.
A seriously fabulous, gritty, and whip-cracking humour filled read. Mary Shields is a menopausal probation officer on the edge, when a murderer is released into her care events soon spiral out of control. The first line smacked me in the face, I half flinched, half blurted with laughter. Just a note of warning, while I discovered a smirk lurking on nearly every page, some may see the humour as warped. It is the type of dark humour typical of anyone who has worked in some seriously difficult situations, where if you didn’t laugh you’d cry. Helen Fitzgerald is the author of the BBC TV series The Cry, and previously worked as a criminal justice social worker. Her knowledge shines through, I didn’t stop, I didn’t question, I simply sank into the deep murky depths of the story and believed. When I reached the oh so beautiful end I wanted to leap to my feet and give Helen Fitzgerald a standing ovation. I absolutely adored Worst Case Scenario, this is short, sharp storytelling at its very best, which has earned it a place as one of my picks of the month and a LoveReading star book.
A wonderful, decidedly different, and rather charming mystery heralding bygone days. This is the seventh in a series, however, can easily be read as a stand-alone novel. Having said that I entered with no prior knowledge, finished the first chapter, and then immediately read it again… ahah! The characters are cats, living their lives as humans do, with Hettie and Tilly running their detective agency and taking on a case involving a number of murdering spirits who are haunting the local psychic. It works, just as The Wind in the Willows does, you just have to believe. Set in the era of Agatha Christie (or should I say Agatha Crispy), their lives centre on food, glorious food, and they travel around in the sidecar belonging to a marvellous motorcycle called Miss Scarlett. Beyond the Gravy has been written with a lovely light touch and is an entertaining oh so readable tale, it made me smile inside and out.
"Request: If you enjoyed this book please don't keep it a secret." The above is written by the Author on the last page of the book and this is one book that shouldn't be kept a secret! It has to be one of the funniest books that I have read in a long time. The humour and the style of writing allows the reader to think that this only happened in London last week that someone had won the Globobillions Lottery but no-one has come forward to claim the prize. Rumours abound straight away. Leo Morphetus is an addicted entrepreneur, always trying new ways to make a living. His latest being his Barista tricycle and himself selling coffees on the move. He has separated from his wife Helen and Amy his daughter. He stopped buying lottery tickets ages ago but the local shopkeeper and his wife are certain that he had bought a ticket and from them. The rumours start by them and soon the media is involved. Throughout the whole book Donna the newspaper reporter never gives up trying to uncover who won the ticket in order to get her big story. Events reach the stage where everyone is sure that Leo has won and he and his friend Vince decide to pretend that they have. Helen has a boyfriend Tony who now decides to blackmail Helen now he thinks Leo has actually won. Leo has promised to pay Poppy, a child with cancer, to go to the USA for treatment. The bank manager, desperate for a 'rich client', credits cash ignoring all rules and protocols into a joint account for Leo and Vince whereupon they go and lead the high life - especially Vince and his love for clothes - top hotels are booked and as the managers of the hotels think Leo is the winner, all bills are written off. Begging letters start, Leo's father in law who doesn't like him now is trying to push himself up the Council ladder by asking Leo to donate funds to his various projects, TV are now interested but read the book as there is more. The real winner happens to be a Muslim lady who can't accept the cash because of her beliefs, but wants to send her two daughters to university and despite taking advice form a Muslim lady counsellor she is not further forward with what she can do with the money as her culture does not allow gambling or to spend winnings. When Leo and Vince are at the stage where they have to confess, things work out in an unusual way and I won't say how or why as this is the best part of the book. The author has written one of those brilliant books that tend to come along from time to time and as stated at the top of this review I am not keeping it a secret. Read it you won't be disappointed! Catherine Bryce, A LoveReading Ambassador
I did enjoy this book and was intrigued why a procession of men were walking together with their hands round each other's necks. I loved some of the characters trying to find out why and found Alice and Max very believable if a little slow on the uptake. They stayed near the place where one of the 'processions' started and enlisted other people to help them investigate. I find it hard to write a review without giving away the whole plot but I will say it was rather unusual and yet strangely compelling even if a little slow in the middle, it is worth the read though. Carol Peace, A LoveReading Ambassador
Gentle and pointed good humour abounds in this lovely read, Alexander McCall Smith excels in creating whimsical yet sharply observed novels with real heart. He was the winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize 2015 with Fatty O’Leary’s Dinner Party which I absolutely adored, and The Second Worst Restaurant in France certainly lived up to my expectations. Food writer Paul Stewart escapes to France to stay with his cousin Chloe in order to finish his latest book, however, located in the village is the restaurant aptly known as second worst in France. Within a few pages I had an understanding of Paul, he very simply makes himself known and acts as a perfect foil to Chloe, who on occasion rather steals the limelight! A whole host of wonderful characters enter the story as Paul’s livelihood is threatened and everything is thrown into a delightful muddle. The Second Worst Restaurant in France is a gorgeously easy read, I smiled, I laughed, and enjoyed every moment… PS I would love to see Chloe feature in her own story, what a woman!
The Ginger in this book is unemployed and totally disheartened with family life and has no idea where he would end up. Being 18 doesn't mean you are having the time of your life and Ginger is bored of the whole thing, that is before he found a diamond ring in his fish and chip supper. When he found out the ring belonged to the local gangster he tried to get rid of it but it wasn't going to be that easy. I found the humour very dry and the story a little dark in places but I couldn't help loving the book. Ginger had some very 'odd' friends and the way they were written in the story kept the pace up and I couldn't put it down. Carol Peace, A LoveReading Ambassador
Life Expands' is the perfect read if you are planning a trip of a lifetime or if you already experienced this amazing adventure. If you haven't been on a journey like this it will give you a great taste of the highs and lows, the new friends yet to make and the beauty in the world. This is a brilliant read that will lure anyone to go travelling around the globe. Through some tough and hilarious stories, we get drawn into the emotions that travel brings from finding someone to love and working to do true good in the world. This is one of the best books that I have read that shows what modern day travel is really like. An ideal book to buy anyone who loves to travel or just the idea of travelling even if it’s just from a comfy chair and a good cup of coffee. Tracey Thomas, A LoveReading Ambassador
Murder, mystery, and mayhem abound in this amusing action-packed read. I missed out on Volume One, ‘The Truth About Archie and Pye’ and though I would suggest starting at the beginning, I was still able to enjoy this mad caper of a story without feeling as though I had been left behind. This may be a mathematical mystery series with mentions of coding and bitcoins to be found (eeek) but I think I coped rather well as someone who finds maths, shall we say, challenging! Tom Winscombe narrates this story, he is trying to locate his girlfriend, stolen computers, lots and lots of answers, oh, and a snake! Tom usually wanders or jogs into the centre of trouble, dead bodies have a habit of turning up at the same time he does, and in terms of ability, just imagine the opposite of James Bond! Jonathan Pinnock writes with dash and verve, creating interesting characters and plenty of eyebrow raising situations. ‘A Question of Trust’ is an entertaining read, it is beautifully easy to fall into and really enjoyable.
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