Goodreads Reviews, Nature, Non-fic

The Secret Life of the Owl by John Lewis-Stempel

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The Secret Life of the Owl by John Lewis-Stempel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I dedicate this review to my dear Mum.

The wisest owl of all.

1935-2003

This could be one of the hardest reviews I’m ever likely to write, and the reason is nothing to do with this perfect little book.

When I was growing up, I was surrounded by all things owlish. Pictures on the wall, ornaments here and there, owl clocks, owl crockery. You name it, we had the owlish version!

My Mum was an owl fanatic! And, suffice to say, it rubbed off on me big time.

For my birthday, one of my other favourite humans ever, my partner, bought me this little gem, and I was delighted. Little did I know, but this beautifully written book conjured up a whole host of feelings that I did not expect.

At just 96 pages long, John Lewis-Stempel has produced something that I shall treasure forever. It doesn’t just contain lots of facts and figures about this truly wonderful bird, he also includes the historical side of all things owl, the myths and legends of days gone by, and, the best bit of all? Poetry. Owl Poetry.

Near the beginning the author included the poem by Edward Lear, The Owl and the Pussycat. This poem helped me learn to read! This poem was read again and again at bedtime. With my Mum.

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Eventually, I’d learnt how to read it perfectly, write it perfectly and recite it faultlessly. And unbeknownst to me, it was in this book. I started to read it, and couldn’t see the words for my tears.

Once I’d gathered up my senses and tissues, I read on, discovering the weird and wonderfully fascinating secret lives of a creature that has been with me all my life.

This book is stunning. I’d give it fifty million stars if I could. And I know that one of those stars, the brightest one, is my dear Mum. 💗

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Goodreads Reviews

The Hoarder by Jess Kidd

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The Hoarder by Jess Kidd

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time wavers and retreats at Bridlemere, coughing and shambling. Here is history mutely putrefying and elegance politely withering.

Two weeks it took me to read The Hoarder by Jess Kidd. Two weeks of beautiful, poetic writing, which ambled along at a pace slower than I normally would like. That said, the speed at which this story unfolds was exactly how it should be. I devoured every sentence, re-read many paragraphs, I wasn’t itching for a conclusion or big reveal, I was deep in the moment, sucked in by incredible writing.

I loved everything about the story, the writing style, the characters, the humour, the sadness and poignancy. Whilst reading, I felt as though I was transported to Bridlemere, the aromas of a once grand mansion seeped into my senses, the quirky characters had my undivided attention, and the paranormal elements added an unusual and often amusing twist.

Sometimes the wind dropped down and hid behind the dunes, sometimes it sent playful handfuls of sand skipping. Sometimes it raised colossal storms to scour your arse all along the strand.

I’m not entirely sure whether I’ve read anything with Irish protagonists before, if I have, it’s gone unnoticed or forgotten. The sometimes slightly crass dialogue brought smirks and smiles, just breaking up the flow enough to give it an edge, perfectly placed, no profanity for the sake of it.

The Hoarder is faultless, I am finding it difficult to review in all its perfection. I didn’t read too much about it prior to starting it, and went in blind. I just had a funny feeling it would blow me away. And it did just that.

Huge thanks to the author, Jess Kidd, the publisher, Canongate Books Ltd and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.

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Goodreads Reviews

Zenka by Alison Brodie

 

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Zenka by Alison Brodie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Vell, vat vas a lot ov vun! Or, in non-Zenka style, that was a lot of fun!

Zenka is a Hungarian pole dancer and she works at a club owned by Cockney gangster Jack Murray. Now, it turns out that Jack has a son he’s desperate to get to know, to be a father to, and Zenka is going to help him with this rather unconventional mission.

She’s going to befriend Nicholas, Jacks long lost son, possibly seduce him in the process, and get him toughened up to be the son of a gangster. A man to fear.

What follows is a story that had me absolutely creased up laughing many, many times. To describe the setting, characters and plot, I would say it was reminiscent of something along the lines of Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

Zenka is a kind hearted, sassy woman and she does her best to get father and son reunited, but it’s not going to be easy. And, oh blimey, she has some pretty crazy ideas!

Nicholas can’t believe his luck when Zenka enters into his life, a life that has changed dramatically since he came home and discovered his flat had been vandalised.

Alison Brodie has written a super funny and touching story about the perils of crime, a families past, and how not to dispose of a corpse or two. I’m finding it tricky to give this book a one genre slot, it is predominantly a crime thriller, but it has romance and gritty British humour in the mix too.

I loved every character in this book, they are all so very different from each other. Zenka’s voice is mainly heard in letter format every few chapters or so, her Hungarian accent being written phonetically so the reader can really hear her attempt at speaking English. This took a bit of getting used to, but after a few chapters, it vorked incredibly vell.

Jack is a typical Cockney gangster who’s use of rhyming slang and ‘wide-boy’ attitude made him likeable but I was initially wary of him. He’s a hard man, but as the story progresses, his softer side emerges as his history is revealed and I really warmed to him.

The best thing about this book for me, was the relationship between Nicholas and his flat mate Jason. These two had me in stitches with their hilarious bickering and witty one-liners. When things start to get REALLY complicated, and these two find themselves in the middle of something they shouldn’t be, the authors choice of dialogue and the character reaction was superb. At one point I literally had tears rolling down my cheeks because the whole scenario was so hysterical! It just tickled me pink!

This read ticked many a box for me, it had a few violent and aggressive scenes, balanced out by a clever storyline with a few plot twists along the way, a little touch of romance, and a lot of laugh out loud moments. I thoroughly enjoyed it, I’d like to read more by Ms Brodie.

My only complaint is I’m not a big fan of the cover art. The author has told me she’s going to be changing it soon, which I’m glad for because I’m not keen on seeing a characters clear photo/picture on a book cover. I want to visualise how they look in my own way and not have a face already given to me from the start. Characters, for me, kind of materialise as I’m reading about them. Chapter by chapter a characters features start to form in my minds eye, and usually by about half way, I’ve established what they look like. But apart from that minor moan, I thought Zenka was a hoot!

I’d like to thank Alison Brodie for sending me an electronic copy of this to read in exchange for an honest review. It was a pleasure.

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Lisa's Book Life, Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday [Twisted and Questionable Edition 18+]

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created over at 👉 The Broke and the Bookish.👈

Go check out their blog when you’ve got a minute, it’s fabulous!

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For my Top Ten Tuesday post I’m going to list some of my most twisted and disturbing reads that I have come across over the years. There’s a few different genres here, ranging from horror and erotica, to crime and religion. It’s quite a mixed bag, but please BE WARNED, THESE BOOKS ARE NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART OR THE EASILY OFFENDED!!

(Click on the pics to take you to their Goodreads pages!)

The Dark

The Dark by James Herbert

My first EVER horror book. I was 13 years old and utterly blown away by this. (As were many of the characters in the book, but in a VERY different way!)

Satanic Bible

The Satanic Bible by Anton Szandor LaVey 

This book is strangely mesmerising! LaVey’s ideology was the perfect partner back in the day when I’d first discovered Black Sabbath, Slayer and Megadeth! It was THE go-to book for us metal-heads at school circa 1988. Not only is it pretty controversial, we also had it confiscated so many times by the deputy head! Oh Mr Ellis, you were such a spoil sport!

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Public Disgrace at the Club by La Marchesa

Ok, this really is a dirty little book. At 39 pages this Kindle smut was outrageous! It was free, I was bored, and I’m not at all embarrassed by my choice of short story. Although I couldn’t read it in public, that would be a disgrace. Obviously. Next….

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Sweetpea by C J Skuse

Oh how I love you my Sweetpea, one of my best of 2017. (Sounds like I’m starting an ode….) It’s offensive, sweary, bloody, violent and genius. Read it. That’s an order!


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Cold Calling by Haydn Wilks

This is just so wrong on so many levels.  I gave it a 4 star review. Pretty sick stuff!

 

 

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Choke by Chuck Palahniuk

Deranged isn’t the right word, but it’s the first word that comes to mind.

See also : Barmy
See also : Genius


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The Book of Paul by Richard Long

I have never read ANYTHING like this and I don’t think I ever will again. This is possibly the most intelligently grotesque horror story I’ve been lucky enough to get my hands on. I can’t unsee some of the scenes, absolutely not for the squeamish. A five star book.

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In the Miso Soup by Ryu Murakami

Poignant, candid, and so brutal. This one was my first ever book written by a Japanese author. It certainly opened my eyes! I’d love to visit Tokyo, and thankfully, reading this hasn’t put me off!

 

 

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Wind Up Toy by David Owain Hughes

A quote from my Goodreads review says enough about this one really;

I need to clean my thoughts with an electric sander and brush my tongue with Colgate mixed with hydrochloric acid. Although I do rather like this bad taste.” 

I gave it 4.5 stars! I guess I’m a bit twisted and questionable sometimes! 😂

 

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Captive in the Dark by C J Roberts

A very dark erotica with a very disturbing subject. I was testing some reading boundaries with this one. Although it had abuse, kidnapping and sexual violence as it’s main subject, it was incredibly well written, but I don’t think I’d want to read anything like this again.

 

 

Well, there we have it! My Top Ten Tuesday with a twist and leaving you with questions perhaps! (This girl reads some weird shit, I know!) When it comes to books, I like to test those bookworm boundaries, after all, wouldn’t it be boring if we all just read Harry Potter and fluffy romance. (I’ve not read HP or fluff, just for the record.)

Thanks so much for stopping by, and tell me, IN CONFIDENCE what your twisted reads are in the comments below. I won’t tell a soul. Promise. 😉

Lisa's Book Life

OwlBeSatReading & The Order of the Books

Aka The Bookshelves of Order & Chaos

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Like all you bookworms, bloggers and reviewers, I often have this loose plan of what to read next. I’m usually thinking about my yearned for NetGalley 80% badge, my R2R’s direct from authors and publishers as a priority, and most importantly, what I actually WANT to read next.

So, we’re in the second week of January and my reading plan has become a bit chaotic to say the least. There’s books and e-books dotted here, there and everywhere, it’s making me feel annoyed and disorganised. I’m starting to feel in a right ol’ quandary as to what to pick up next. So, I’m going to get a bit more focused and organised, take full advantage of my lovely new diary, pens and stencils, and MAKE A PLAN.

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Time to regain some ORDER! ORDER AMONGST THE SHELVES!!

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To start with, I’ve put a note on my contact page so authors can see that I am currently not receiving review copies. I need to catch up! I have a NetGalley request ban put in place, I have a feedback ratio of 76% and that 80% badge is within spittin’ distance, and maaaan I want it.

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So, without further ado, here is my January/February reading plan. And this time, no off-piste moments, I’m sticking to it like llama saliva to a blanket.

(Click on the covers to be taken to the Goodreads page.)

Currently Reading:

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Next in Line:

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And finally:

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This is my action plan, I’m smashing through this lot during Jan/Feb like a madman and his melon.

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Have you a disorganised backlog? Does your TBR shelf need a talking to? Let me know what your plans are and I’ll lend you my enormous flaming hammer. Or something.

 

 

 

 

 

Films on Friday

Films on Friday

Hello folks! Today I’m steering away from books (for five seconds!) and wanted to share with you one of my many favourite films.

(Click on the picture to see the details on imdb)

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This is one of the very few romance movies that I absolutely LOVE! After all, what’s not to love about Richard Gere in an ice-cream mans outfit? It’s action-packed, dramatic, and funny in places, and the acting is superb. I watched this for the first time on Betamax Video, the player being one of those HUGE piano key styles that was state of the art! This is the exact same one that my parents had circa 1984! What a monstrosity!

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I so wanted to be Debra Winger….

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And all these years later, Mr Gere is still looking pretty dapper!

He’s 68!

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Thanks for dropping by my lovelies! 😍

Lisa's Book Life

Weird Book Wednesday

Who’s read (or attempted to read) a book and thought, ‘what the hell….this is weird, I don’t get it!?’

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I just wanted to share the last book that totally threw me, and, in turn, I totally threw it too. Almost out the window because it WOUND ME UP!! I was so cross with it, I DELETED IT off my Goodreads and just pretended that we’d never met.

Well, what book is it then? Can I bring myself to even think about it? It still winds me up to this day!! (Probably because I wanted to love it, but, alas, it was not to be!)

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Ok, here it is…….

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 “Superbly inventive….a rare debut: genuinely exciting.” says The Guardian.

 “Stupidly annoying….why do I not even know how to read this properly: genuinely pissed me off.”

says Lisa *OwlBeSatReading*

I mean, seriously, I didn’t even know what way to hold this, let alone understand the bloody story. I envy those fans who devoured it and sung it’s praises. But I just thought it was gimmicky shit.

THE END

I’M OVER IT

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