Newest Humour Reviews

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Review of

My Mess is a Bit of Life: Adventures in Anxiety by Georgia Pritchett

4star.jpg Autobiography

Georgia Pritchett has always been anxious, even as a child. She would worry about whether the monsters under the bed were comfortable: it was the sort of life where if she had nothing to worry about she would become anxious but such occasions were few and far between. On a visit to a therapist, as an adult, when she was completely unable to speak about what was wrong with her it was suggested that she should write it down and My Mess is a Bit of a Life: Adventures in Anxiety is the result - or so we are given to believe. Full Review

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Review of

The Echo Chamber by John Boyne

5star.jpg General Fiction

Meet George Cleverley. He is self-defined as "one of the few television personalities over the age of fifty without a criminal record". He starts this book a bit worried when his mistress tells him she's carrying his child, but then his author wife is getting her kicks with the Ukrainian partner "Strictly Come Dancing" paired her with. They have three children, who are a sad-sack with absolutely no social skills whatsoever, a girl who hangs around with a virtue-signalling, keyboard warrior "wokester" who wants to save the world's homeless with out-of-date food, and a fit young lad doing the gay hustle thing. Add in a few other characters – therapists, lawyers, random transgender types – that all have two very different connections to his life, and you have something that suggests an almost farcical approach to the modern world. What suggests the farcical approach even more, however, is the fact this is bloody funny. Full Review

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Review of

The Spy Who Inspired Me by Stephen Clarke

4star.jpg General Fiction

This is a spoof spy story, that isn't about James Bond. Or Ian Fleming. But it features a man called Ian Lemming, who dresses well and 'likes the ladies' and who works for the secret service, but in the planning side of things more than the active service. Lemming finds himself put on a mission with a female spy called Margaux, and the pair end up stranded in Normandy, with Margaux on a desperate mission to unearth traitors in the resistance network, and Lemming desperately trying to keep up with her! Full Review

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Review of

Kokoschka's Doll by Afonso Cruz and Rahul Bery (translator)

2.5star.jpg Literary Fiction

Well, this looked very much like a book I could love from the get-go, which is why I picked my review copy up and flipped pages over several times before actually reading any of it. I found things to potentially delight me each time – a weird section in the middle on darker stock paper, a chapter whose number was in the 20,000s, letters used as narrative form, and so on. It intrigued with the subterranean voice a man hears in wartorn Dresden that what little I knew of it mentioned, too. But you've seen the star rating that comes with this review, and can tell that if love was on these pages, it was not actually caused by them. So what happened? Full Review

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Review of

But Never For Lunch by Sandra Aragona

4star.jpg Short Stories

If a woman approaching the menopause can be likened to a Rottweiler in lipstick, an Ambassador nearing retirement resembles a pampered peacock about to be released into the company of carrion crows or, more to the point, about to discover the real world of bus timetables and paying his own gas bills.

You don't get many better opening sentences than that, do you? We first met His Excellency and The Ambassador's Wife in Sorting the Priorities and we learned what it was like to be moved around countries like accompanying baggage by the Italian Government but the time has come for HE to retires and for Sandra Aragona to become The Wife of Former Ambassador... They have left The Career and settled in Rome. Well 'settled' rather overstates the situation and their dog, Beagle, has no intention of slowing down any time soon, despite being sixteen and deaf. Full Review

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Review of

The Karma Trap by Lisette Boyd

4star.jpg Women's Fiction

George Jackson is thirty-three years old, absolutely gorgeous to look at - and single. She's not had sex for eight months and she's stuck in the karma trap: an awful lot of bad luck is being visited on her and she has a real talent for attracting drama. Her life's chaotic: she dealt with the leak from the shower by putting something down at the bottom of the stairs to absorb the water - then the shower fell through the roof whilst she was in it and left her, stark naked, staring at the pervy postman. She only has to take her mother's dog out for a walk for her to end up with dog poo spattered across her face - and a photo being taken by someone who shares it around the office. Full Review

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Review of

Pandora's Gardener by David C Mason

3star.jpg Crime

John Cranston is a gardener, although what he did before he became a gardener, he claims, is classified. That is just as well because he is about to be caught up in a criminal / spy / terrorist plot, where only he can save the day. Full Review

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Review of

Forever After: a dark comedy by David Jester

4star.jpg Horror

Michael Holland is a cocky and brash young man who dies and gets made the offer of his lifetime; immortality. We follow Michael, a grim reaper and his friends, Chip (a stoner tooth fairy) and Naff (a stoner in the records department) as they grapple with their long lives and finding a clean surface to sit on in their flat. Full Review

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Review of

William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Mean Girls by Ian Doescher

2.5star.jpg Humour

A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, all the Star Wars films were crunched up against Shakespeare, and the marriage seemed a perfectly suitable one. So much so – so easily did the plots and characters converse in Shakespearean dialogue, and behave with Shakespearean stage directions – that the producers tried again, with Back to the Future no less. And that worked. But simultaneously they put a real test out. A film I can't even really remember seeing was transcribed into the original Elizabethan lingo. A cult following I had never followed whatsoever was given the brand new, yet oh so ancient, dressing. Here was the true challenge – would I manage to enjoy this, based on little foreknowledge? Oh damn those shiny gold stars for letting the game away… Full Review

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Review of

William Shakespeare's Get Thee Back to the Future! by Ian Doescher

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A long time ago, in a publishing house far away, someone thought it wonderfully wacky to rewrite the story of Star Wars in Shakespearean pentameter, colliding two entirely different genres and styles in such a clever way they seemed perfectly suited. It was then duly repeated for all the other films in the main Star Wars cycle, and clearly someone's buffing their quills ready for Episode Nine, the title of which became public knowledge the day before I write. In the hiatus, however, the effort has been made to see if the same shtick works with other texts, and to riff on other seemingly unlikely source materials in iambs. And could we have anything more suitably unsuitable-seeming than Back to the Future, with its tales of time travel, bullying, and parent/child strife like no other? Full Review

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Review of

Queenie Malone's Paradise Hotel by Ruth Hogan

5star.jpg Humour

Tilda returns to Brighton, to tidy away the remains of her mother's life after her death. Whilst there, she returns to the Paradise hotel, a haven for eccentrics and misfits. A place where people can be themselves, and let go of thoughts that torment them elsewhere. Little wonder that Tilda cannot forgive her mother for banishing her as a child, from this place of wonder. With the help of Queenie Malone, caring, and gregarious, Tilda begins to pick apart the tricky and uncertain relationship she had with her sometimes cruel and distant mother. Full Review

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Review of

The Con Artist by Fred Van Lente

4star.jpg Humour

Comic-Cons are a place of wonder and sanctuary for many people, and when Comic book artist Mike Mason arrives at San Diego Comic-Con, he's looking for both that and sanctuary with other fans and creators, plus the chance of maybe, just maybe reuniting with his ex. However, when his rival is found dead, Mike is forced to navigate every dark corner of the con in order to clear his name – from cosplay flash mobs and intrusive fans to zombie obstacle courses – Mike must prove his innocence and, in doing so, may just unravel a dark secret behind a legendary industry creator. Full Review

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Review of

Falling Short by Lex Coulton

4star.jpg Humour

Lex Coulton's debut novel is a story about mistakes, failures, and relationships. The main protagonist, Frances Pilgrim, is a sixth form English teacher who has recently fallen out with her best friend Jackson, a work colleague and is grappling with the increasingly eccentric behaviour of her mother. This relationship is complicated by the fact that Frances's father disappeared at sea when she was five years old. Full Review

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Review of

My Lady's Choosing by Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris

4star.jpg Humour

You are a lass of twenty-eight. Plucky, penniless and in Regency-era London the race is on to find a suitable suitor - or else doom yourself to life as an eternal spinster. Along your journey, you'll be accompanied by Lady Evangeline Youngblood - a fiesty noble eager to save you from a life alone, and fired by a rogueish sense for adventure. When it comes to suitors though, you'll have to make the ultimate decision between witty, pretty and wealthy Sir Benedict Granville, wholesome, rugged and caring Captain Angus MacTaggart, or the mad, bad and terrifyingly sexy Lord Garraway Craven. With orphans, werewolves, long lost lovers and ancient Egyptian artefacts along the way, it's clear this isn't going to be an easy decision... Full Review

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Review of

An Almost Perfect Christmas by Nina Stibbe

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Christmas – the time of traditional trauma. You only have to think about the turkey for that – once upon a time it was leaving it sat on the downstairs loo to defrost overnight, and if that failed the hair-dryer shoved inside it treatment was your next best bet. Nowadays it's all having to make sure it's suitably free-range and organic – but not too organic that you can go and visit it, and get too friendly with it to want to eat it. Christmas, though, is of course also a time of great boons. It's cash in hand for a lot of plump people who can hire red suits and beards, it was always a godsend for postmen with all the thank-you letters to aunties you saw twice a decade that your parents made you write out in long-hand as a child, and as for the makers of Meltis Newberry Fruits – well, did they even try and sell them any other time of the year? Full Review

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Review of

William Shakespeare's the Force Doth Awaken: Star Wars Part the Seventh by Ian Doescher

4.5star.jpg Humour

A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, there was a man called William Shakespeare, who was able to create a series of dramatic histories full of machinations most foul, rulers most evil and rebellious heroes and heroines most sturdy. You may or may not have noticed the cinematic version of his original stage play for The Force Doth Awaken, but here at last we get the actual script, complete with annoying-in-different-ways-to-before droids anew, returning heroes from elsewhere in his oeuvre, and people keeping it in the family til it hurts. And if you need further encouragement, don't forget his audience only demanded three parts of Henry VI – here the series is so popular we're on to part seven – surely making this over twice as good… Full Review

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Review of

Doctor Who: Now We Are Six Hundred: A Collection of Time Lord Verse (Dr Who) by James Goss and Russell T Davies

4.5star.jpg Humour

Consider the Doctor. Just how many birthday and Christmas gifts must he have to hand out each year, were he to keep in touch with even half of his companions? He would certainly need a few novelty gifts for some of them, say, for example, whimsical books of verse that pithily encapsulate the life of a Time Lord and that of some of his friends and enemies. As luck would have it, he has the space in his TARDIS to stock up in advance, so my advice to him – sorry, her – would be to pop along to his local Earth-based book emporium and get himself ready. And if you're working on a shorter timescale, with a shorter lifespan, and thinking perhaps just one gift season ahead, well my advice is pretty much the same. Full Review

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