Humour

Our humour section is filled with books that contain elements of humour, from hints of smiles and smirks through to full on giggles and guffaws. Do bear in mind though, that while some of these books are pure sunshine and glee, along the way you will meet books that contain all the other emotions too. We’ve included novels from romance, crime, and even horror genres, as well as the more obvious humour tales. A writer who can make you smile and cry in the same book even the same paragraph, is to be treasured indeed. We do realise that humour can be very personal, and what makes one person roar with laughter, will only evoke a raised eyebrow in someone else. So, these are novels that we believe contain some form of humour and even if it lurks in the most unlikely of places, it will be waiting for you.

May 2022 Featured Books

A Lady's Guide to Fortune-Hunting

A Lady's Guide to Fortune-Hunting

Author: Sophie Irwin Format: Hardback Release Date: 12/05/2022

A dashing and absolutely delicious tickle on your reading tastebuds, this historical debut novel comes with lively romance and sharp wit. With her family in danger of being made homeless, Kitty Talbot the eldest of four sisters, heads to London to bag herself a man with a fortune. While set in 1818’s high society, this is less vapours and vulnerability and more unwavering tenaciousness from the leading lady. Sophie Irwin creates a vivid setting and vivacious tone, I found myself in Georgian London, yet Kitty could be running round the streets today. Kitty is an absolute delight, she is essentially on war footing and determined to save her family and home, nothing less than the richest of rich men will do. I read this in one heady sitting, light, bright, and fun yet with bite, I’ve chosen this debut as a Liz Pick of the Month. With everything you’d expect from a Regency romance yet refreshingly different, A Lady’s Guide to Fortune Hunting is a colourful, charming, and sparkling read.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
The Echo Chamber

The Echo Chamber

Author: John Boyne Format: Paperback Release Date: 12/05/2022

What a thing of wonder a mobile phone is. Six ounces of metal, glass and plastic, fashioned into a sleek, shiny, precious object. At once, a gateway to other worlds - and a treacherous weapon in the hands of the unwary, the unwitting, the inept. The Cleverley family live a gilded life, little realising how precarious their privilege is, just one tweet away from disaster. George, the patriarch, is a stalwart of television interviewing, a 'national treasure' (his words), his wife Beverley, a celebrated novelist (although not as celebrated as she would like), and their children, Nelson, Elizabeth, Achilles, various degrees of catastrophe waiting to happen. Together they will go on a journey of discovery through the Hogarthian jungle of the modern living where past presumptions count for nothing and carefully curated reputations can be destroyed in an instant. Along the way they will learn how volatile, how outraged, how unforgiving the world can be when you step from the proscribed path. Powered by John Boyne's characteristic humour and razor-sharp observation, The Echo Chamber is a satiric helter skelter, a dizzying downward spiral of action and consequence, poised somewhere between farce, absurdity and oblivion. To err is maybe to be human but to really foul things up you only need a phone.

The Man Who Died Twice

The Man Who Died Twice

Author: Richard Osman Format: Paperback Release Date: 12/05/2022

It's the following Thursday. Elizabeth has received a letter from an old colleague, a man with whom she has a long history. He's made a big mistake, and he needs her help. His story involves stolen diamonds, a violent mobster, and a very real threat to his life. As bodies start piling up, Elizabeth enlists Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron in the hunt for a ruthless murderer. And if they find the diamonds too? Well, wouldn't that be a bonus? But this time they are up against an enemy who wouldn't bat an eyelid at knocking off four septuagenarians. Can The Thursday Murder Club find the killer (and the diamonds) before the killer finds them?

Audiobooks of the Month
Ellie Pillai is Brown

Ellie Pillai is Brown

Author: Christine Pillainayagam Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/05/2022

Navigating loss, love and family strains while standing out as a brown girl in a predominantly white school isn’t easy for Ellie, a budding songwriter and music aficionado. A beautiful, funny ode to finding the strength to sing up and stand out, Ellie Pillai is Brown is sure to chime with readers who also feel they don’t quite fit in, with QR codes peppered through the book bringing Ellie’s songs to life, and adding extra depth to the experience. Ellie Pillai is a girl who know what she loves — music. And, against her parents’ wishes, she’s set on making a go of her drama GCSE, determined to find a way to overcome feeling invisible. While her family are mourning the loss of her little brother, which has left Ellie and her mum terribly distant from each other, Ellie has the stable support of her best friend. But her life is well and truly shaken up when a new boy and his twin sister arrive at her school. While handsome Ash is the only person who gets all her music references and understands the power of a playlist and finding the right song for every situation, it looks like he’s hooked up with her best friend, so Ellie tries to put him out of her mind. At the same time, Ellie’s new drama teacher instils her with confidence: “I think you have presence, something special about you. Something different”. If only Ellie can stop putting herself in a box and making herself small. Exploring grief, consent, family expectations, self-confidence, first love, same sex love and mental health through its well-drawn cast of characters, Ellie Pillai is Brown strikes a smart balance between humour and emotion.

Debut Books of the Month
Sorrow and Bliss

Sorrow and Bliss

Author: Meg Mason Format: Paperback Release Date: 28/04/2022

It’s hard to believe it’s a debut as the challenging subject matter of depression is handled with such a deft touch. So dark, it’s pitch, pitch black. Yet so so sensitive. It’s a masterclass in ascerbic narration and perfectly pitches the dark and the light. When we first meet Martha, she talks about her husband Patrick with such disdain, such boredom and he comments that Martha can supply anyone with an inventory of his flaws. But then everyone thinks he’s perfection, so sweet, so kind, living his life in the middle setting with Martha swinging between the extremes. So where does it all go wrong? Narrated in the aftermath of their separation, Martha is forced to return to her childhood home to live with her dysfunctional, eccentric, bohemian parents this book is filled with laughs and tears. At the heart of the novel is long term mental illness, the crushing depression with which Martha has battled since childhood, a depression which comes in waves for weeks or months at a time. However, it’s never named in the book; what is more important is Martha’s quest to know herself, to work out who is she is and why she never seems able to find contentment. It’s hilarious. It’s brilliant. It’s a sharp observational and witty book of huge talent and I can’t wait to read more of what Meg Mason has to offer.

Books of the Month
Infernal Relations

Infernal Relations

Author: P.S. Rover Format: Paperback Release Date: 08/04/2022

‘Infernal Relations’ is a traditional comedy, based around the Lockwood Institute which is a finishing school with a cast of vibrant characters. It took me a moment to get to grips with the writing style, but as I read I uncovered the humour as the characters confused their Shakespearean plays and eponymous lead characters, (on and off stage).  As with the tale of Shakespeare’s Danish prince, I found Infernal Relations to be a play-within-a-play of sorts. While the Lockwood Institute’s performance forms the background tapestry of the narrative, the characters and action throughout form their own play, equally dramatic, and filled with miscommunication, confusion and calamity, reminding me of The Play That Goes Wrong in parts. I enjoyed reading this story and I also think that this would make a great piece of drama too.  I found Monty’s eccentricities and propensity to amateur apothecary amusing, and the unwitting subject of most of the events throughout the story, Spencer, an endearing character. I’m unsure of when this book is set, but I would liken it in setting and tone to something like ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’. Although this is a short book, I found it to be quite dense and I would recommend that this is a book to ponder and work through slowly to ensure you don't miss any nuance or detail that could derail your understanding or lead you to miss out on the humour of the story. Amusing and light in tone throughout, I think that ‘Infernal Relations’ is an intricate and well written book that is filled with the atmosphere of the theatre, and a great story for those missing going to plays at the moment. I enjoyed reading it and would recommend it to other literary fiction fans.  Charlotte Walker, A LoveRedaing Ambassador

Indie Books We Love

April 2022 Featured Books

The Maid

The Maid

Author: Nita Prose Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/04/2022

I am your maid. I know about your secrets. Your dirty laundry. But what do you know about me? Molly the maid is all alone in the world. A nobody. She's used to being invisible in her job at the Regency Grand Hotel, plumping pillows and wiping away the grime, dust and secrets of the guests passing through. She's just a maid - why should anyone take notice? But Molly is thrown into the spotlight when she discovers an infamous guest, Mr Black, very dead in his bed. This isn't a mess that can be easily cleaned up. And as Molly becomes embroiled in the hunt for the truth, following the clues whispering in the hallways of the Regency Grand, she discovers a power she never knew was there. She's just a maid - but what can she see that others overlook? Escapist, charming and introducing a truly original heroine, The Maid is a story about how everyone deserves to be seen. And how the truth isn't always black and white - it's found in the dirtier, grey areas in between . . .

Audiobooks of the Month
Lessons in Chemistry

Lessons in Chemistry

Author: Bonnie Garmus Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/04/2022

“Once a research chemist, Elizabeth Zott was a woman with flawless skin and an unmistakable demeanour of someone who was not average and never would be”. So we are introduced to gloriously unconventional Elizabeth near the opening of Bonnie Garmus’ Lessons in Chemistry, an enchanting, uproariously witty novel that I cannot recommend highly enough — think a funny, feminist Mad Men set in the world of science, in a “patriarchal society founded on the idea that women were less. Less capable. Less intelligent”.  With her doctoral career cut short after daring to defend herself against the groping hands of a tutor, in 1951 Elizabeth is working as a chemistry researcher, surrounded by men who overlook her work and treat her with sexist disdain. One of her colleagues is Calvin, an introverted, socially awkward Nobel-prize nominated scientist with a penchant for holding grudges, which is one of the things Elizabeth first admires in him, for “Elizabeth Zott held grudges too”, especially against a society that all but forbade women to do anything of importance. Elizabeth and Calvin strike up a sparring working relationship, start dating, and move in together — unmarried (the horror!). She suggests paying her share of the rent by cooking dinner, declaring that “Cooking is a serious science. In fact, it’s chemistry”. Meanwhile, while the unique chemistry between the couple is a delight to devour. Some years later, Elizabeth finds herself single again, and a single mother to boot. And it’s through her daughter (specifically, the delicious, nutritious lunches she cooks for her) that she’s offered a slot on a TV cookery show. True to form, Elizabeth refuses to play ball with the producer, declaring that “There’s nothing average about the average housewife”, and using the show to deliver cracking advice: “Courage is the root of change…Do not allow your talents to lie dormant, ladies. Design your own future”. Guaranteed to have you roaring with laughter, weeping in empathy, and fist-pumping the sheer joy of Elizabeth’s indomitable spirit, Lessons in Chemistry is a revitalising, stirring triumph.

Star Books
Yinka, Where is Your Huzband?

Yinka, Where is Your Huzband?

Author: Lizzie Damilola Blackburn Format: Hardback Release Date: 31/03/2022

Yinka, a 31 year old Nigerian is fed up of her family constantly asking “so, where is your huzband?” (pronounced auz-band). After her Aunty Debbie offers up a very public prayer for her and asks the Lord to intervene and save her from singledom, Yinka decides she needs a plan to find a man before her cousin Rachel’s wedding. Femi broke her heart when he moved to New York and decided he didn’t want to settle down. As we join Yinka on her mission fraught with twists and turns on her journey to self-love. A hug in a book, this is a joyous read. I chuckled and sped my way through, wishing and hoping for a happy ending for Yinka. She struggles and bumbles her way  through navigating dating, female relationships and the challenges of extended families, and I loved every page of it.

Debut Books of the Month
Absolute Disaster: A Very British Guide to the Cinematic Apocalypse

Absolute Disaster: A Very British Guide to the Cinematic Apocalypse

Format: Paperback Release Date: 20/12/2021

This book examines films which depict various apocalyptic and disaster scenarios, ranging from alien and zombie invasion to meteorites, tsunamis and the effect of a polar winter. Reading this in 2022, where a virus has raged for a few years and there is a current refugee crisis caused by war, with the ensuing loss of WiFi and shortage of water, as well as a very real nuclear threat, it is all too recognisable. What this book does is examine these scenarios from a British perspective “What would James Bond do?” Sadly, although he has been there to save the day since 1962 I am not sure even he could stay calm in some of these crises. Each film is explained and rated by the survival likelihood, as well as how it would play out if set in the UK. It is clear that the writer praises ‘Mad Max -Fury Road’ as the best of its genre and it is also patently clear that I need to sell my home in Brighton and move to John O’Groats pretty fast. Carina Barnett, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
Bees Make Honey and Butterflies Make Jam

Bees Make Honey and Butterflies Make Jam

Author: John Offord Format: Paperback Release Date: 21/04/2017

John Offord is the author of Bees Make Honey and Butterflies Make Jam. This is a witty and unusual book. The endearing title sets the tone, reinforcing that we don’t know quite what to expect from this book! It consists of 12 very short stories and 3 humorous advertisements. Here is a taste of what you can expect from this amusing book. There are four stories with princesses in the central roles: a beautiful but unlucky princess, Princess Stroppy whose father’s wellington boots keep being stolen, Princess Hannah who travels to Mars and Siam, and Princess Cresty, a giant-crested whale who had something to do with the formation of the land on planet Earth. There also is an unusual story comparing the number of germs on a dishcloth with the germs on a toilet seat, an imaginative tale about holes, buttons, and buttonholes, ice-cream loving mice and their bank overdraft, an arrogant spaceship captain, a strange tale about bored villagers who didn’t know that the lights in the sky where the Wright Brother’s new invention, the airplane, and a story about a person who went for a job interview and was convinced of success, even though the reader can tell the answers given to the interview questions were hopeless. The advertisements are the cleverest part of the book. I recommend this book to those who would enjoy stories that don’t conform to expectations. Susan Gibbs, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love

March 2022 Featured Books

Sunrise by the Sea

Sunrise by the Sea

Author: Jenny Colgan Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/03/2022

In a quaint seaside resort, a charming bakery holds the key to another world... Curl up and escape with Jenny Colgan  When she is given the opportunity to move to a remote tidal island off the Cornish Coast, Marisa Rossi decides some peace and quiet might be just what she needs. Since the death of her beloved grandfather back in Italy, she's been struggling to find a way out of her grief. Perhaps this will be the perfect place for her to recuperate. But Mount Polbearne is a far cry from the sleepy little place she was imagining. Between her noisy piano-teaching Russian neighbour and the hustle and bustle of a busy community, Marisa finds solitude is not so easy to come by. Especially when she finds herself somehow involved with a tiny local bakery desperately in need of some new zest to save it . . . 

Books of the Month
The Woman Who Took a Chance

The Woman Who Took a Chance

Author: Fiona Gibson Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/03/2022

Light and bright yet tackling difficult subjects with compassion, this is a ray of reading sunshine. 50 years old and single, flight attendant Jen dips her toe in on-line dating waters in an attempt to find a partner after she wins an exclusive romantic holiday. It’s always rather fabulous when menopausal women star in the leading role, the sense of affinity, the smirk of recognition! Fiona Gibson creates layers of fun, warmth, empathy, tenderness, and affection as she builds the tale around the rather wonderful Jen. Anyone who has ever tried on-line dating will smile and even wince in sympathy as she learns to navigate that very peculiar world! Friendship is the major theme on offer here, proper loving, supportive, heartfelt friendship, and it’s rather lovely to feel as though you are being welcomed in to that special group as your read. I particularly enjoyed the fact that this story didn’t have a foregone conclusion, I was kept guessing until I settled into the ending with a feeling of satisfaction. Amusing, thoughtful, and uplifting, The Woman Who Took a Chance is heart-warming delight and Liz Pick of the Month.  

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
The Book of Form and Emptiness

The Book of Form and Emptiness

Author: Ruth Ozeki Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/03/2022

After the tragic death of his father, fourteen-year-old Benny Oh begins to hear voices. The voices belong to the things in his house and sound variously pleasant, angry or sad. Then his mother develops a hoarding problem, and the voices grow more clamorous. When ignoring them doesn't work, Benny seeks refuge in the silence of a large public library. There he meets a mesmerising street artist with a smug pet ferret; a homeless philosopher-poet who encourages him to find his own voice amongst the many; and his very own Book, who narrates Benny's life and teaches him to listen to the things that truly matter. Blending unforgettable characters with everything from jazz to climate change to our attachment to material possessions, this is classic Ruth Ozeki - bold, humane and heartbreaking.

Careering

Careering

Author: Daisy Buchanan Format: Hardback Release Date: 10/03/2022

careering (verb) 1. working endlessly for a job you used to love and now resent entirely 2. moving in a way that feels out of control There's a fine line between on the right track and coming off the rails. Imogen has always dreamed of writing for a magazine. Infinite internships later, Imogen dreams of any job. Writing her blog around double shifts at the pub is neither fulfilling her creatively nor paying the bills. Harri might just be Imogen's fairy godmother. She's moving from the glossy pages of Panache magazine to launch a fierce feminist site, The Know. And she thinks Imogen's most outrageous sexual content will help generate the clicks she needs. But neither woman is aware of the crucial thing they have in common. Harri, at the other end of her career, has also been bitten and betrayed by the industry she has given herself to. Will she wake up to the way she's being exploited before her protege realises that not everything is copy? Can either woman reconcile their love for work with the fact that work will never love them back? Or is a chaotic rebellion calling... Hilarious and unflinchingly honest, Careering takes a hard look at the often toxic relationship working women have with their dream jobs.

The Summer That Changed Us

The Summer That Changed Us

Author: Cathy Bramley Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/03/2022

The new feel good read about three women searching for friendship in a sparkling seaside town, from your favourite storyteller Cathy Bramley The sparkling seaside village of Merle Bay, with its beautiful beach scattered with seaglass, is a place where anyone can have a fresh start. For Katie, it is the perfect hideout after a childhood trauma left her feeling exposed. For Robyn, the fresh sea air is helping to heal her scars, but maybe not her marriage. For Grace, a new start could help her move on from a heartbreaking loss. When they meet on Seaglass Beach one day, they form an instant bond and soon they're sharing prosecco, laughter - and even their biggest secrets... Together, the women feel stronger than ever before. So can their friendship help them face old fears and find happy endings - as well as new beginnings?

Read, Learn & Laugh!