Goodreads Reviews

Zenka by Alison Brodie

 

36423193

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.

View all my reviews

Advertisements
Lisa's Book Life, Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday [Twisted and Questionable Edition 18+]

$(KGrHqN,!lEE2ETsMqzrBNrI6cMk3g___35

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!

mF1qlLjeY1b-eBfVlNBaGrA (1)

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!

19422378

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….

33847005

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!


33837693

Cold Calling by Haydn Wilks

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

 

 

22287

 

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


15714590

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.

818118

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!

 

 

29209195

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! 😂

 

12541075

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

order-chaos-29422205_kindlephoto-72909438

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.

IMG_2392_1

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

order-in-the-court

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.

llamas

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:

36423193

Next in Line:

35482074

36269325

36353983

29481890

33037050

34928646

And finally:

34846799

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

giphy (3)

 

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)

855b3268dd40684d0288f7492bc93f63

 

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!

sanyovtc9300pn

I so wanted to be Debra Winger….

giphy (1).gif

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

He’s 68!

Richard_Gere_MFF_2015

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!?’

thats-just-weird-ct1ten

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!)

keep-calm-and-think-about-it-17

 

Ok, here it is…….

24800

 “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

giphy.gif

 

 

Goodreads Reviews, Psycho -Thrill

The End of Lies by Andrew Barrett

The End of LiesThe End of Lies by Andrew Barrett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The End of Lies, the end of excitement, the end of gasping and cringing, and the end of my first FIVE STAR 2018 book!

What a book to start the year off with. First of all, I’d like to thank Bloodhound Books for sending me a copy via Instafreebie to read in exchange for an honest review.

The End of Lies is a gripping psychological thriller with so many twists and turns that it left me in bookish turmoil! Here’s the synopsis:

“My name is Becky. I arrived home to find my husband, Chris, stabbed to death and a gang of men ransacking our house.

Turns out that Chris has something that belongs to them. And if I want to stay alive, I have to find it and return it. They have given me seven days. And a beating.

There is nowhere to hide and no time left to look. So I will stand my ground as the deadline approaches. All I have is a head full of lies and a very bad plan.

This is my story.”

Andrew Barrett took me on a fast-paced, roller coaster ride from the moment I started. This is not a simmering thriller that slowly builds tension as you go, this is full steam ahead leading to total overdrive as the conclusion looms.

The plot was tight and organised, the characters I loved to hate and hated to love. The main protagonist, Becky, was an absolute joy, she was ballsy and dry-witted. The antagonist, Savage, was wonderfully awful, he truly was that perfect ‘baddie’.

The writing was stylish and quirky, with short, sharp, shock chapters. The setting was in Yorkshire, UK, so the scenes and dialogue were relatable for me, I do love a bit of British grit! Initially, the chapters alternated between before and after Chris was stabbed, but as the plot unravelled, the present was the main timescale. Heading towards the finale brought more past events into the story to tie the conclusion into a neat little package.

This was an action packed, gripping and rather violent story. There’s a fair amount of swearing with some very brutal and bloody moments that enhanced the fear factor and gave it an edge.

I was thinking of giving this 4 stars, because surely my first 2018 read wasn’t going to be 5 star literary perfection. But I had no gripes, no niggles, the characters were fantastically drawn, the plot was thrilling and the ending was so satisfying. Did I see any of those twists coming? Nope! It was outstanding. My next read has a very hard act to follow.

View all my reviews

Lisa's Book Life

Down the TBR Hole #2

th

1st St NW tunnel hole 2015 03 23

I get a lot of satisfaction from organising my book shelves, whether it’s my virtual ones on Goodreads or my jam-packed ones at home. I see this post LOTS and always read Zuky the Bookbum’s regular post so her decluttering has inspired me to do the same. I think this tag was first started by Lia @ Lost in a Story a year or so ago, and what a fab idea it is! Both these bloggers always have great posts, so go check them out 😁
There’s a few simple guidelines:
Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
Order on ascending date added.
Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
Read the synopses of the books.
Decide should it stay or go.

long-swirl-pattern-wall-art-sticker-56Now, last time I did this post wrong! I listed just the books getting dumped into the giant hole of oblivion and NOT the first ten on my TBR shelf. Dozy tart! 😂 So I’m getting it right this time! Here goes:

 

730602

 

 

 

Portent by James Herbert

O.M.G! It’s James Herbert, this isn’t going anywhere ok?! He is my favourite horror author of ALL TIME, so why haven’t I read this yet? I DO NOT KNOW. Suffice to say, it’s a keeper.

keep-it-one-hundred

459857

 

 

 

The Jonah by James Herbert

What the…?? Hang on a minute, this is madness! Another Herbert one unread? No. No. No. This must stop.

keep-it-one-hundred

369135 Bright Young Things by Scarlett Thomas

After reading The End of Mr Y an age ago and loving it, then delving straight into Popco shortly after, I had a Scarlett Thomas bug! But looking at the synopsis and various mixed reviews, I think I’ll toss this one aside.

throw-book-vintage

 

3153114 Sepulchre by Kate Mosse

I have this on my bookshelf, it is beautiful, as is Labyrinth, the first one of this series. I’ve read #1 and loved it so much. Why is this still a TBR? One of life’s unanswered questions I guess. I also added Citadel (#3) to my TBR too. I’ll get there. Eventually. This ones staying put.

keep-it-one-hundred

138685

 

 

 

Dissolution by C J Sansom 

Yeah, I’m struggling with this ones destiny. I really enjoy historical fiction, it is one of my favourite genres and this is #1 in the Matthew Shardlake series. And there’s a lot more of them. I’ve got so much history on my shelves, and so many I would choose over this. So I think I’ve decided. Soz to all the fans, I know I’m probably missing something great here but…

throw-book-vintage

138683

 

 

 

Dark Fire by C J Sansom

Reasons for this; see previous book!

throw-book-vintage

1201301To the Devil a Daughter by Dennis Wheatley

*Does the Vintage Horror dance* Black Magic and Occulty stuff. Yes please. I’m reading this. Soon.

keep-it-one-hundred

790637

 

 

 

The Haunting of Toby Jugg by Dennis Wheatley

Why do I buy two fabulous vintage horror stories and then not read them for ten years? Why? Someone tell me.

keep-it-one-hundred

358954 Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier

Bloody hell, I give up! I bought this AT THE JAMAICA INN. I STAYED AT THE JAMAICA INN. TWICE. I LOVE CORNWALL AND THE JAMAICA INN. Obviously, I’ll read it. I’ll pack it when I next go stay at the JAMAICA INN😰😂

keep-it-one-hundred

3711451

 

 

 

James Herbert’s Dark Places

I know, I know, but there’s a bonafide reason I’ve not read this. I can’t find it. Anywhere. I saw it on Amazon ages ago and some marketplace seller wanted forty quid for it! I was like WHAT????? No way. But if I come across it, or anyone has a copy for sale (cheap!) let me know. I’m itching to get my hands on it. My Herbert collection has a deep, dark hole in it. So this one’s a BIG FAT KEEPER.

keep-it-one-hundred

So all done here for now, 3/10 being disposed of. Not bad. Just going off to my Goodreads to get shot of the three. Until next time folks, cheerio, and thanks for stopping by!

Happy-New-Year-Wallpapers-3D