Tag Archives: Humour

The Southern Education of a Jersey Girl by Jaime Primak Sullivan

Overview
The Southern Education of a Jersey Girl | Book by Jaime Primak Sullivan,  Eve Adamson | Official Publisher Page | Simon & Schuster

Title: The Southern Education of a Jersey Girl: Adventures in Life and Love in the Heart of Dixie
Author: Jaime Primak Sullivan
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: FamilyHumour, Memoirs
Dates read: 19th – 20th December 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Touchstone
Year: 2016
5th sentence, 74th page: I didn’t have the life energy to waste on games.

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Synopsis

Jersey-bred, tough-as-nails Hollywood publicist Jaime Primak Sullivan has been crossing the line all her life. She isn’t afraid to say what everyone is thinking when it comes to love, sex, friendship, and many other topics that are all too often sugarcoated in well-mannered company. But when a meet-cute scene right out of a Nora Ephron movie upends her life, Jaime soon finds herself an unlikely transplant in an upscale suburb of Birmingham, Alabama – a reluctant “knish out of water” smack-dab in the Deep South, starting a life with her new husband, the perfect southern gentleman.

Jaime enters the heart of Dixie with her fists up, but eventually learns she must let her guard down. As she struggles to adapt to her new world, she befriends a group of southern belles, and the very women she thought her Jersey personality was most likely to shock and repel become her most surprising allies. Jaime soon discovers that while southern belles may have a secret code of behaviour northern girls don’t always understand, when it comes down to helping a fellow woman, no one is more thoughtful, more generous, and kinder than a belle.

In The Southern Education of a Jersey Girl, Jaime shares her hard-won lessons on southern etiquette, deep-fried foods, college football, the peculiar methods of southern dating – and all the unexpected homework a girl receives when she crosses the line… and decides to stay.

Thoughts

This was one of those memoirs that is completely, totally and utterly considered to be “laugh out loud”. I giggled and chortled my way through this book in total and utter joy. This is one of those stories that I will pick up again and again. There is something light and joyous about the whole storyline that really got to me and made me imagine every single moment Sullivan describes with perfect vividity.

The Southern Education of a Jersey Girl is a fairly typical fish-out-of-water story. The fact that it’s all true just makes it all that much more intriguing. I mean, many fish-out-of-water stories are based in fact, but this story has that extra ring of truth to it. Plus, you can just picture this big-haired, lough-mouthed jersey girl just blundering her way through the south. There is just a great sense of reality to this story.

I felt like this story was really written in two parts. And was pretty much two love stories. The first was Sullivan’s love story to her husband. I found the story of his courting and their relationship to be fascinating. I loved the slow-going, beautiful relationship that they shared. And the way that they are both able to negotiate their past hurts to finally come up with a new reality that leaves them both happy and feeling… well, complete, to as much of a degree as that ever happens.

The second love story though, is my favourite. It is about Sullivan’s belles. Her gorgeous girlfriends who have helped her negotiate the morals, intricacies and social norms of the belles. Although Michael was a great story, I loved the girlfriends even more. It’s an acknowledgement of the power of women and the ways in which we need them in our lives. It’s a bit of a love ballad to the south as well, but mostly it’s to the importance and power of having good women on your side.

<- WildThe Salt Path ->

Image source: Simon & Schuster

This Is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay

Overview
This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor: Kay, Adam:  9781509858637: Amazon.com: Books

Title: This Is Going to Hurt
Author: Adam Kay
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Humour, Medical, Memoirs
Dates read: 18th – 19th December 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Picador
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: Today crossed the line from everyday patient idiocy to me checking around the room for hidden cameras.

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Synopsis

97-hour weeks. Life and death decisions.
A constant tsunami of bodily fluids.
And the hospital parking meter earns more than you.

Welcome to the life of a junior doctor.

Scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt provides a no-holds-barred account of his time on the NHS front line. Hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking, this diary is everything you wanted to know – and more than a few things you didn’t – about life on and off the hospital ward.

Thoughts

This story had me laughing out loud. And giggling. And reading a lot of parts of this story out to my partner. Much to his chagrin… he doesn’t like anything medical or any hint of blood, so telling him all about it just didn’t go down well. But I had to share. Because there is wit, humour and awesomeness right throughout this novel.

I’ve seen this novel in my suggested readings again and again. But it wasn’t until the Black Friday sales that I finally decided that I may as well buy it. Quite possibly one of the better decisions that I’ve made. This story introduced me not only to the world of medicine but reminded me how humour can help you to deal with some of the crappier things in life.

This year has been a horrifying year, and part of that for me was deciding to give up a career path that I have been working towards for years. The fact that Kay gives up his career path six years into the career made me feel a heck of a lot better about my own decisions. Particularly when I read the final passages of this book. It is completely understandable why Kay decided to choose a new path. And, although tragic, gave hope for the new life that he decided to build.

Surprisingly, this novel did actually hurt. That final diary entry just tore at my heart. And the fact that it’s all true, and I have a few girlfriends who are currently pregnant… yeah, it most definitely “hurt”. Although it also made me laugh and smile. So it was also a brilliant, fun journey.

<- Why Not Me?Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas ->

Image source: Amazon

Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay

Overview
Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay

Title: Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas
Author: Adam Kay
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Humour, Medical, Memoirs
Dates read: 17th December 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Picador
Year: 2019
5th sentence, 74th page: ‘As you know, this is standard policy’ is HR’s default line – as if being routinely malevolent is somehow better than dishing out acts of spite on an ad-hoc basis.

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Synopsis

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat… but 1.4 million NHS staff are heading off to work. In this perfect present for anyone who has ever set foot in a hospital, Adam Kay delves back into his diaries for a hilarious, horrifying and sometimes heartbreaking peek behind the blue curtain.

Twas the Night Before Christmas is a love letter to all those who spend their festive season on the front line, removing babies and baubles from the various places they get stuck, at the most wonderful time of the year.

Thoughts

This was most definitely the type of Christmas book that I needed this year – I haven’t really felt in the Christmas spirit and I liked that this one wasn’t all about joy and light. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of humour and spark to this novel that doesn’t make it glum and humbuggy. But it’s also a much more realistic, and less painful look into the Christmas season and what it really means…

I probably should have read This is Going to Hurt before Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas, but I am absolutely enamored with the tone and style of Kay’s writing. So, immediately after finishing this, I did actually pick up his first book. It’s hard to write about such a serious topic with a bit of lighthearted humour and tone. Particularly when you’re focusing in on the time of year when everyone else is busy trying to shove that good cheer down your throat…

If you’re not really in the Christmas spirit, or just want a good laugh. I can most definitely suggest this as a good, light read. Not only will it have you smiling and laughing, but it will also make you really appreciate the people who are on the front lines year-round. Those who put aside their own lives to the benefit of our own.

<- This is Going to HurtSmoky the Brave ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Bad Mothers’ Book Club by Keris Stainton

Overview
The Bad Mothers' Book Club by Keris Stainton - Books - Hachette Australia

Title: The Bad Mothers’ Book Club
Author: Keris Stainton
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, FamilyHumour
Dates read: 15th – 16th December 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Trapeze
Year: 2019
5th sentence, 74th page: ‘Good job I had my head torch.’

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Synopsis

Since moving to the seaside after her husband’s career change, Emma Chance’s life consists of the following: long walks on the beach (with the dog), early nights (with the kids) and Netflix (no chill).

Bored and lonely, when Emma is cordially invited to the exclusive school-mums’ book club, hosted by Head of PTA and footballer’s wife, Jools Jackson, she thinks her luck may finally be about to change. She soon realises she may have made a grave mistake when she realises it’s all about books, and less about wine and gossip – but it’s always better to stick things out, isn’t it?

Or not.

After a few months and a few awkward moments involving a red wine on white carpet accident and a swear-word incident involving Jools’s daughter, Emma is ungraciously kicked out of the book club. Exhausted, she decides it’s about time she fights back against the shame and humiliation. Enlisting the help of some similar-thinking mums, Emma sets up her own book club – no cleaners, polite conversation or reading required: this is the Bad Mothers’ Book Club.

A frank, irreverent and laugh-out-loud read for grown-ups.

Thoughts

I absolutely adored this novel. Far more than I had anticipated to be honest. After all, I thought it was just an average chic lit novel. Instead, it was incredibly hilarious and thoroughly enjoyable. And, as someone who has a few friends with babies on the way… I can imagine this form of motherhood all too well.

I love that this novel deals with motherhood in a very humorous and light manner. It didn’t try and pass motherhood off as something that suddenly turns people into saints. In fact, most of the anecdotes featured women who were in way over their heads and just trying to make sure the kid survives. I can guarantee that if I ever become a mother… this is what I’m going to be like. No angelic, in control adventures for me.

Emma is exactly the kind of heroine that I needed. I was in a bit of a reading slump when I picked up The Bad Mothers’ Book Club and really just needed something that was cheerful and a little chaotic. Which is exactly what Emma is. She’s constantly positive and completely chaotic throughout this entire story. I love how she seems to bumble from one social faux pas to another. Completely derailing herself along the way.

This is a great story about family and motherhood. About being a fish out of water and finding a place to belong. It’s humorous and light, with enough sass throughout to keep me grinning like an idiot. I will definitely be adding some more Stainton books to my wish list after this seriously enjoyable read…

<- Baby One More TimeCounting Stars ->

Image source: Hachette Australia

Marley and Me by John Grogan

Overview
Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World's Worst Dog by John Grogan

Title: Marley & Me
Author: John Grogan
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Humour, Memoirs
Dates read: 25th – 28th November 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Hachette
Year: 2006
5th sentence, 74th page: Dr. Sherman had cleared her to try to get pregnant again.

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Synopsis

The heartwarming and unforgettable story of a family in the making and the wondrously neurotic dog who taught them what really matters in life.

John and Jenny were young and in love, without a care in the world. Then they brought Marley home and their lives changed forever.

Marley quickly grew into a 44-kilogram steamroller of a Labrador retriever, a dog like no other. He crashed through screen doors, stole women’s undergarments, and ate nearly everything he could get his mouth around. Obedience school did no good – Marley was expelled. Nor did the tranquilisers the vet prescribed him.

Yet Marley’s heart was pure, and his love and loyalty were boundless. He shared the couple’s joy at their first pregnancy and their heartbreak over the miscarriage. When the babies finally arrived, he was there too – winning hearts while making a mess of things.

Through it all he remained steadfast, a model of devotion even when his family was at its wits’ end. Unconditional love, they would learn, comes in many forms. Is it possible for humans to discover the key to happiness through a larger-than-life, bad-boy dog? Just ask the Grogans.

Thoughts

This novel never fails to make me cry. In fact, since this is the first time I’ve read it since I got a house and dogs of my own, the moment I turned the final page I went looking for my staffy, Onyx, for a big cuddle. And then didn’t let him leave me lap for a good half an hour before I stopped feeling so sad. We love our dogs so much, so the idea of them having shorter lifespans than we do… it’s not something that I like to think about.

I have two dogs, one of which is a beagle (and fellow beagle owners know the trials and difficulties that that can lead to…). Yet, Marley’s antics and insanity most definitely helped to put Lexi’s misbehaviours into perspective. Don’t get me wrong, if she weighed four times what she weighs now… then I think that the destruction and insanity that she would bring down on us would most certainly be comparable. It’s nice reading about another insane dog that doesn’t quite do what its told… it’s a reminder that I’m not alone and I’m not actually a bad dog trainer.

This whole novel is pretty much a love story. To Marley. It’s a great tale about man’s best friend, and a reminder that when we do finally have to say goodbye… they never leave us. Every word in this is lovingly crafted by a master hand. Lovingly and painstakingly telling the story of a dog that is most definitely insane and quite probably completely out of control.

Being my second time reading this, I can clearly and definitely say that its one of my favourite memoirs. In fact, this is the book that got me into memoirs and biographies in the first place. I just hope that one day I have the skill and talent to write something similarly touching and brilliant as an ode to my own dogs.

<- The Longest TripThe Last Black Unicorn ->

Image source: Goodreads

Safe and Sound by Jeff Abott

Overview
Image result for death's excellent vacation book cover

Title: Safe and Sound
Author: Jeff Abott
In: Death’s Excellent Vacation (Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Humour, Paranormal fantasy, Vampires
Dates read: 7th November 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Gollancz
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: Blank.

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Synopsis

This journalist is just looking for a big, amazing story. But what she finds with her underhanded ways instead… well, somebody is Safe and Sound.

Thoughts

Little known fact – when I finished high school and was thinking about what I wanted to do with my life, I seriously considered journalism. But, already at that point, I felt like it was a field more about sensationalizing a story, rather than telling the truth. This short story was a great reminder of that feeling – how the media often just picks the story that is going to get the most attention, just because it will get the most attention. Truth and honesty be damned.

The vampire angle in this story was completely fun and brilliant. It was also entirely predictable, but I did love the way that vampires filtered into a story about the media and a missing boy. I also loved how there was a total comeuppance to the story using the vampire as the angle. They’re not normally the good guys – and in this story they still certainly aren’t. But at least the vampire delivered some poetic justice.

This short story made me think of all of the people that go missing and the stories that are never told. It left me feeling a little melancholy, but in the end, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

<- The Innsmouth NookSeeing is Believing ->

Image source: Amazon

Woolsley’s Kitchen Nightmare by E.E. Knight

Overview
Image result for home improvement undead edition book cover

Title: Woolsley’s Kitchen Nightmare
Author: E.E. Knight
In: Home Improvement (Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Food, Humour, Paranormal fantasy
Dates read: 23rd August 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: Unless his accountant was as cluelessly skeevy as his decorator, a few customers were still braving the fugly to eat here every week.

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Synopsis

The paranormal version of Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares. But so much better – less swearing and more blood.

Thoughts

This is such a GREAT take on Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares. A fantastic, funny and just all round humorous paranormal version that had me laughing all the way throughout. I love how it took all of the elements of a kitchen renovation show and turned them on their head. Including putting humans on the menu and having zombies as employees… it was a bit gory. But seriously fun and funny.

This story is a great reminder that you really shouldn’t try to be fancy when you’re just not fancy. It’s trying waaaaayyyy too hard. And in this case, trying to be paranormal when you’re just not… it makes you end up kind of dead. Which I loved. But you know… I’m kind of bloodthirsty anyway. So that made me fairly happy.

Throughout all of this story, I did giggle and laugh a fair bit. It was light and funny. And, honestly, in spite of the whole eating humans thing – quite cute. Definitely a short story that I would read again.

<- The Strength InsideThrough This House ->

Image source: Hachette Australia

Field of the Dead by Kim Lakin-Smith

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of ghost stories by women book cover

Title: Field of the Dead
Author: Kim Lakin-Smith
In: The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women (Marie O’Regan)
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Ghosts, Horror, Humour, Paranormal fantasy
Dates read: 30th June 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: Once, mind, and then no more will be said on it.

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Synopsis

The church is being haunted in a world that doesn’t like to acknowledge the presence of ghosts. This is not only a battle of wills and power… but one of faith.

Thoughts

I absolutely adored the combination of the Church, the supernatural and faith in this ghostly short story. It’s a good beginning to a collection of ghost stories, just enough creepiness, without being overwhelmingly scary. I think I need to ease into the truly terrifying things-that-go-bump-in-the-night stories. It’s been a little while since I tried to read any…

This story was seriously layered in its symbolism, themes and moments. It was one of those that will leave you contemplating the story long after you’ve turned that final page. The plethora of characters, character histories and faiths had me rereading multiple passages. It was just so beautifully constructed.

This is one of those great stories that completely pulled me in, but I can’t actually remember completely what the storyline was even about. There was just something… whispy and ethereal about the story. Which most definitely suits the ghost story theme. I look forward to rereading this in the future and picking up more nuances that I previously missed.

<- The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by WomenCollect Call ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Hell-Bound Stagecoach by Mike Resnick

Overview
Image result for dead man's hand book cover

Title: The Hell-Bound Stagecoach
Author: Mike Resnick
In: Dead Man’s Hand (John Joseph Adams)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Humour, Weird Westerns, Westerns
Dates read: 29th June 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Titan Books
Year: 2014
5th sentence, 74th page: She indicated her basket.

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Synopsis

Ben and Miss Alicia are travelling to the end of the line. Along the way, they pick up the Wichita Kid and another mysterious traveller. But when they realise that they don’t want to ride to the end of the line… things get a little… hell-bound.

Thoughts

I had a good giggle at this short story. Which makes sense, because I have frequently found myself giggling a little at Resnick’s writing. There is this incredibly satirical, dry sense to his writing that manages to fit perfectly into the genres he is writing in, whilst simultaneously highlighting some of the more ridiculous aspects of them.

At the beginning of this story, I didn’t really think much about the fact that Ben and Abigail were travelling in the same coach together. To the end of the line. It didn’t really seem like anything drastically surreal or monumental. Until the second man, the Witchita Kid got into the coach. Then I began to realise that maybe things weren’t quite what they seem in this story line… that’s when the smiling and giggling really and truly began…

The characters in this may be “bad”, but they were also completely delightful. They made you want them to win the final altercation. Even if it really wasn’t something that could be considered “for the best”. I love stories in which the “bad guys” are the ones you’re gunning for… pun and everything intended.

<- Hellfire on the High FrontierStingers and Strangers ->

Image source: Amazon

Wizard Home Security by Victor Gischler

Overview
Image result for home improvement undead edition book cover

Title: Wizard Home Security
Author: Victor Gischler
In: Home Improvement (Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Fantasy, Humour, Magic
Dates read: 4th June 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: Come now, sir.

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Synopsis

Security is important. Particularly when you’re a wizard with a number of very expensive ingredients in your house. But, when you don’t quite use the system properly and get trapped in your own security… that’s not exactly the desired outcome of home security.

Thoughts

I was laughing out loud throughout this entire short story. In fact, even a day later, when I’m writing this review, I’m still giggling. And smiling. It was just a great, humorous and fun short story. One that was funny and light. And kind of impossible to put down. Partly because of the subject matter. And partly because it was just funny.

There is something about having issues with a security system that really hits close to home. After all, everyone worries about the safety of their home. Their security. But not everyone has to deal with the issues associated with magic. And the ways in which this house is protected with a wizard home security system… that worked very well. It not only reflected issues and concerns that we all face. But it also included some great, extra aspects that are only possible in the world of fantasy.

Of everything that happened in this short story. I think that my absolute favourite was the zombie bear. Something about that imagery and battle had me seriously giggling. It was just such a random security measure and one that had a very great visual. Especially seeing as it was a second-hand zombie…

<- If I Had a HammerGray ->

Image source: Hachette Australia