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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.
Most definitely sitting on the quirky side of life (and Mars), this is an amusing and mind-bending read. The robots who look down on humanity are determined to end the human rebellion that started on Earth. This is Battlestar Suburbia: Volume Two, if you’ve not read the first in the series you might want to start at the beginning. However, I joined here and felt perfectly comfortable with the Dolestars council estates circling earth and Pam the sentient bread-maker. This is an absolutely fascinating premise from Chris McCrudden, the machines aren’t quite as you may have imagined them. There is no Terminator style human robot on offer (unless you count the human who was pinched for use as a cyborg), instead lamps, photocopiers, and a particularly evil smartphone lead the machine charge. In today’s climate, the utter disdain felt by some of the machines for humanity all feels rather relevant. Battle Beyond the Dolestars is different, a little geeky, and lots of fun, oh, just as a note of warning, you may never look at your lamp in the same way again!
Frustrated by a dead end job, fed up with renting in London and the loathsome daily commute and, to cap it all, failing to make it as a stand-up comedian, Tommy Barnes was at breaking point. But he didn’t break - instead he made himself redundant and took off to France with girlfriend Rose to pursue his dream of brewing beer.
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.
Warm, enticing, and hugely enjoyable, ‘A Summer Scandal’ is a perfect summery read to take a moment for yourself and relax into. Oh what a joy of read this was, deliciously entertaining and just so easy to just sink into and become a part of. 25 year old vintage costumer Violet follows her heart after receiving an inheritance and moves to Swallow Beach to breathe life back into an abandoned pier. Meeting resistance from some locals, she also finds friends, including the rather lovely Calvin. Kat French has a wonderfully light touch, crafting entertaining, welcoming books with a beautiful heartbeat. I loved getting to know Violet, discovering her background, and what made her tick. The romance is heavenly but not the be all and end all, Violet’s family, friends and the exquisite pier ensures even more meaning and satisfaction. Warm, enticing and hugely enjoyable, ‘A Summer Scandal’ is a perfect summery read.
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.
This feels more like the Ben Elton from the days of Gridlock and Stark so if you are a fan you’ll know that this is going to give you a bit more to get your teeth into than perhaps the last few of his modern satires have. There will be inevitable comparisons to Orwell’s 1984 but Elton writes with his own inimitable style and humour. This storyline is a scary idea that doesn’t seem too far from a possible reality.
A gentle (well, apart from the occasional brawl and scuffle), amusing mystery focusing on an orchestra who with good intentions, invite two local schools to join them. The two very different schools have never mixed, and when things start to go missing, accusations aren’t too far around the corner. Add to the mix a dash of romance, an off duty Detective Chief Inspector, a famous composer, plenty of gossip after practice at the pub and you have an enjoyable read in your hands. This is book two in The Stockwell Park Orchestra Series however I joined here and felt entirely comfortable doing so. Isabel Rogers balances the music know-how with more than a whiff of mystery. The characters are bright and engaging, or occasionally downright dastardly. Bold as Brass is an entertaining read, light-hearted it may be, it is also capable of provoking thoughts too.
Back to his modern satires, for his last novel The First Casualty was historical, very special and unusual. With this one he returns to the familiar social territory of Dead Famous and Past Mortem. It centres around the TV Pop Idol shows and the backbiting celebrity world surrounding it. Some quirky characters and amusing ideas, but not his best, although very clever, and as a Ben Elton fan it’s a ‘must read’.Similar this month: None but try Kevin Sampson.Comparison: Stephen Fry, Rupert Morgan, Christopher Buckley.
A hip, slick, fast, fun first novel, a romp lampooning the shallow world of daytime television as our rather sad protagonist fights to be recognised.
**The brand new Diary of a Wimpy Kid book is out now!** The 13th hilarious book in Jeff Kinney's bestselling Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. When snow shuts down Greg Heffley's middle school, his neighbourhood transforms into a wintry battlefield. Rival groups fight over territory, build massive snow forts, and stage epic snowball fights. And in the crosshairs are Greg and his trusty best friend, Rowley Jefferson. It's a fight for survival as Greg and Rowley navigate alliances, betrayals, and warring gangs in a neighbourhood meltdown. When the snow clears, will Greg and Rowley emerge as heroes? Or will they even survive to see another day? With millions of books sold around the world in 65 editions and 56 languages, Wimpy Kid has turned millions of kids into readers.
An enchanting story with real strength, oodles of charm, warmth and laughter. When Nikki starts a teaching job at a temple, she discovers a class of widows full of earthy tales. Her unauthorised story time with the women brings unwanted attention and danger into their lives. Balli Kaur Jaswal writes with a beautiful balance, humour walks alongside menace, while challenging preconceived ideas. I felt as though a door was opened, allowing more than a glimpse into the lives of these Punajbi women. I met them, grew to love them, laughed, celebrated, cried with them. The eye-opening colour and wit of the stories within the story highlight the fear and resignation they feel. With a real sense of community, yet not shying away from darker and more sinister topics, I flew through this novel on rollercoaster rails of emotion. ‘Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows’ is a fiercely alive and resilient tale with real heart and passion, I adored it.
Regrets. Teacher Frances has a few. She’s 39, single, and beset by dissatisfaction with all aspects of her life - personal, professional and familial. Her dad vanished from her life when he was lost at sea when she was only five and now her mum is vanishing into the fog of Alzheimer’s. On top of this, her relationship with Jackson, fellow teacher, former best friend and one-timer lover, has taken a painful downturn following a night of wine-fuelled passion. As Frances is led to question her father’s disappearance, it becomes clear that she’s the one who’s lost in a sea of doubt. After a lifetime of secrets and hiding, she’s steered by the words of a blind man she guides from a station: “Sometimes you just have to feel your way”. Realising that she’s been drifting for far too long, Frances shakily decides that it’s time for her to feel her own way in the world, and so she sets off on a journey to discover the truth. The snappy, short-tempered exchanges between Frances and Jackson are humorously and movingly authentic, and the race-against-time climax makes for a gripping reading experience. Often funny and always tender, this accomplished debut explores the cycles of life, messing up and making amends with charm and wit.
To have or to have not, baby or no baby? Tony Parsons tackles the burning question from the different points of view of three couples and discovers Mother Nature can be one hell of a bitch! Heartwarming, sensitive and oh so true, this is modern living to a tee. Comparison: Nick Hornby, John O’Farrell, John Harding.Similar this month: Matthew Sharpe, Pauline McLynn.
Read, Learn & Laugh!