Title: Up the Duff Author: Kaz Cooke Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again) My Bookshelves:Humour, Non-fiction, Pregnancy Dates read: 5th June – 17th October 2021 Pace: Slow Format: Non-fictional text Publisher: Viking Year: 1999 5th sentence, 74th page: According to one American pregnancy book cover, this is when you will wear an Alice band and a hideous lemon doona cover with a Peter Pan collar, and stare out the window holding a cup and saucer like a demented fool.
Kaz Cooke tells you everything you need to know about your pregnancy and birth. No bossy-boots rules, just the best, funniest and most reassuring practical advice, plus lots of cartoons. Up the Duff is backed by heaps of medical and other experts.
The moment I found out I was pregnant I told one of my close girlfriends. She immediately recommended this book. And wow. Am I glad that she did.
This book is realistic and fun. It gives you a whole heap of information without sounding preachy. And it just makes you feel less overwhelmed about the whole first time mother thing. Or at least, that’s what it did for me.
The sass and humour with which this book gives you important information makes some pretty scary topics feel much… less scary. I mean, whole chapters on labour that didn’t make me want to run to the bathroom and throw up. I can’t begin to explain how much better that made me feel.
Any expectant (or wanting to be expectant) mothers really need to invest in this book. Its amazing. It’s informative. And it most definitely made me feel less stressed and scared.
Title: The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy: Or Everything Your Doctor Won’t Tell You Author: Vicki Iovine Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect) My Bookshelves:Humour, Non-fiction, Pregnancy Dates read: 17th June – 3rd July 2021 Pace: Slow Format: Novel Publisher: Pocket Books Year: 1995 5th sentence, 74th page: Second, save the home births, midwives, and underwater deliveries for second, third, and fourth babies.
YOUR DOCTOR GIVES YOU MEDICAL ADVICE. YOUR MOTHER BUYS YOU BABY CLOTHES. BUT WHO CAN GIVE YOU THE REAL SKINNY WHEN YOU’RE PREGNANT?
Your Girlfriends, of course – at least, the ones who’ve been through the exhilaration and exhaustion, the agony and ecstasy of pregnancy. Four-time delivery room veteran Vicki Iovine, “the Carrie Bradshaw of pregnancy” (Wall Street Journal), talks to you the way only a best friend can – in the book that will go the whole nine months for every mother-to-be. Now, in this newly revised and updated edition, get the lowdown on all those little things that are too strange or embarrassing to ask, practical tips, and hilarious takes on everything pregnant.
What Really Happens to Your Body – from morning sickness and gas to eating everything in sight – and what it’s like to go from being a babe to having one.
The Many Moods of Pregnancy – why you’re so irritable / distracted / tired / light-headed (or at least more than usual).
Plus, the latest scoop on…
Staying Stylish – You may be pregnant, but you can still be the fashionista you’ve always been (or at least you don’t have to look like a walking beach ball) – wearing the hippest designers and proudly showing off your bump.
Pregnancy Is Down to a Science – from in vitro fertilization to a scheduled C-section, the latest technology provides so many options, alternatives, and tests, it can all be downright confusing.
… and much more! For a reassuring voice or just a few good belly laughs, turn to this straight-talking guide on what to really expect when you’re expecting.
So obviously I read this because I’m pregnant and, me being me, I need to know everything I possibly can about what what expect. But, I also didn’t want to read something that was preachy. This book was the perfect fit. It was funny and light in places, serious in others. And, it highlights the fact that we all experience pregnancy differently, there is no right or wrong way and it’s about getting through it sane!!
Unlike some of my other books, this isn’t split into the different times in pregnancy (week, trimester, etc). Instead, it’s split by topics. I particularly liked the section on exercise since I’ve been feeling guilty for not exercising as much as I used to. Iovine helped me to feel so much less guilty about it all.
I love that whilst you get Iovine’s own experiences. You also got those of her friends. She CONSTANTLY points out that everyone has a different experience. I think its something seriously important, and she also points out that you get to be a little selfish and insane at times…
All in all, I loved this book. And will probably refer to it multiple times throughout my pregnancy. It’s that comfort of having a friend say nope, you’re not nuts… but at any time of day or night whenever you need it… and it would be inappropriate to ACTUALLY call your girlfriends.
Cam is trying to figure out a way to come out to his family and friends. But then the damn penguins beat him to it…
Oh hot damn. This story is just way too cute! And funny. And just all around adorable. I spent the entirety of this story grinning and smiling. There were just so many wonderful moments throughout that I enjoyed way too much. Even sitting down to write this review, all I can think about it Cam yelling penguins at the end of the tale.
I love that throughout this story, Cam is trying really, really hard to come out to his friends and family. And ultimately finding out that it probably isn’t all that necessary – they already know. And accept him as he is. With no strings attached. It just creates an all-round feel-good tale that will make your heart grow larger and larger.
All in all, I absolutely love the ending of this tale. It was just the cute cherry on top of the cute sundae that left me grinning and clutching my heart in happiness. It was all just beautiful and fun. The most adorable of short stories.
Title: Necromancing the Stone Author: Lish McBride Series: Necromancer #2 Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect) My Bookshelves:Ghosts, Humour, Necromancers Dates read: 21st – 27th February 2021 Pace: Medium Format: Novel Publisher: Square Fish Year: 2012 5th sentence, 74th page: “That god help is hard to find.”
“SOMEONE LEFT A KNIFE IN THE DOOR.”
Her voice was nonchalant, trying to mask her fear, trying to make it sounds as if someone had simply left flowers.
With the defeat of the evil necromancer Douglas behind him, Sam LaCroix is getting used to his new life. Okay, so he hadn’t exactly planned to be a powerful necromancer with a seat on the local magical council and a capricious werewolf sort-of-girlfriend, but things are going fine, right?
Well… not really. He’s pretty tired of getting beat up by everyone and their mother, for one thing, and he can’t help but feel that his new house hates him. His best friend is a were-bear, someone is threatening his sister, and while Sam realizes that he himself has a lot of power at his fingertips, he’s not exactly sure how to use it. Which turns out to be kind of a problem when someone close to him turns up dead.
As with all of the other McBride stories that I’ve read so far, this is funny, humorous and brilliantly written. It’s a fantastic ending to this duology. One that I seriously enjoyed and couldn’t put down. After all, Sam is not even remotely what you would expect as a necromancer. And, as you slowly begin to realise, he has a whole heap of other powers at his disposal… ones that I wanted to know more about.
Douglas was one scary SOB in Hold Me Closer, Necromancer. He gets worse in this. Total Voldemort vibes. Although, to be fair, he is much, much less freaky than Voldemort. And so much less devilish. Yet, there is a bit of a redemption arc – one that didn’t necessarily redeem the villain, but did make him a little less despicable. And horrifying.
As much as I loved this story, I didn’t really love the fact that this story ended with Brid and Sam being… unresolved. It was seriously frustrating. To the point that I kept turning the final page back and forth. I just thought I was missing something! Although, it does leave the end open to the interpretation that there was a happily ever after for the two of them… just one that took a little bit more work than there was time for within this story.
I love that Sam seems to jump from the frying pan into the story. Repeatedly. And consistently. Not necessarily a great thing for him and his friends, but a wonderful journey for me. You just kind of feel him blundering from moment to moment, trying to figure out what on earth he is doing. Kind of like how I feel most days of my life if I’m being truly honest here…
I can’t wait to read more McBride books. They’re all sitting on my wishlist, ready and rearing to go. I just have to find a little more funding… and I just hope that I get to have a few appearances from Sam and Brid again. They’re just too damn wonderful and cute. Even if they could both kill me with their hands tied behind their backs…
Title: Rolling with the Punchlines: A Memoir Author: Urzila Carlson Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!) My Bookshelves:Humour, Memoirs Dates read: 1st – 2nd January 2021 Pace: Medium Format: Novel Publisher: Allen & Unwin Year: 2019 5th sentence, 74th page: Now I’m conscious that anyone who was grateful for my explanation of the concept of the fax will be hanging out for me to explain this little word ‘apartheid’.
Chuckle, laugh and snigger along with Urzila in this fascinating memoir of a life in comedy.
Updated with new chapters and written with her trademark deadpan humour, Urzila’s memoir is full of ripping yarns about both the big and the little things in life.
Urzila’s accidental beginning in stand-up has led to an incredibly successful career in comedy, with regular gigs on Channel 10’s Have You Been Paying Attention? in Australia and 7 Days in New Zealand, as well as sell-out shows across both countries, appearances at international festivals and a Netflix special.
But life hasn’t always been a bundle of laughs. Urzila talks candidly about her childhood within a happy family – apart from her abusive dad – and about growing up in South Africa. She shares crazy but true tales about her travels, her move down under, coming out, getting married and having children, and cracking Australia.
This was a memoir that had me laughing out loud again and again. Carlson was able to deal with issues that are incredibly intense and serious in moments with a great look of humour and lightness. There is something about her style of writing that made you feel like she was right there, recounting all of her incredible adventures into your ear. And, since I love the accent… I loved that whole idea.
I found Carlson’sjourney into stand-up to be incredibly fascinating. She somehow managed to fall into a career that is completely suited to her and her personality. And found herself a life and reality that she absolutely adores. The fact that throughout this memoir she also shamelessly plugs her Netflix special and tells tales of the different shows that she’s done. Not only did it make for an intriguing and fascinating career-journey, but again, I was laughing and giggling throughout all of her many tales.
Carlson’sjourney and tales are wonderful and unforgettable. There is nothing like a good memoir to start of the year’s reading. When that history and memoir has as much humour to it as this story, well, it just keeps getting better and better. That, and the fact that I found out a lot more about a woman I’ve been watching on tv for a while. And very much enjoying.
As the second book that I read of 2020, I feel like this gave me a great running start to the year. It was positive and light-hearted. Yet, there were moments of genuineness and concern that not all comedians are able to achieve. It certainly makes me want to watch Carlson’s Netflix special.
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:Family, Humour, 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.
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.
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 Sullivandescribes 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, Family, Humour 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.’
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?
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.