The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell



The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh Shaun, your hatred for Kindles and stroppy, tight-fisted customers shines through in your highly entertaining diary! I wish I could get away with customer service ‘Bythell Style’, but I doubt I’d be employed for very long! The advantages of being your own boss I guess.

Next time I come across a book with age-related mould on it, I will undoubtedly be visualising some dude in a protective suit, complete with breathing apparatus, whipping it out of my hand to dispose of it safely.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Diary of a Bookseller, what’s not to love?!

For starters, it’s about a second hand bookshop in my most favourite place ever. SCOTLAND.

Shaun gets to rummage through thousands and thousands and thousands of books FOR A LIVING!!!

It gave me a fascinating insight into being part of the second hand book industry, and it definitely isn’t all bookish loveliness.

Did I say this delightful shop is in SCOTLAND? Oh yeah, I did.

Hey, Shaun, I’m coming up for a visit in the summer. I promise I’ll put the books I look at back where I found them. (Even if they are possibly in the wrong section already. Sigh…..*Shakes head*).

I promise I won’t come in armed with a pencil, writing in my own prices on the inside page. I am SHOOK that book lovers even do this!

And I’ll BUY some books too. And possibly a walking stick.

Thank you Shaun for sharing a year of your bookish life. I sincerely hope that your Aladdins Cave continues to prosper for many, many years. Bookshops are sadly an endangered species these days thanks to that flipping internet lark. (She says, on her online blog.)

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Sweetpea by C J Skuse (a 2017 top read)

Sweetpea by C.J. Skuse

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“I don’t want to talk any more about today. I just want to overeat and shit myself and die. Or shit myself after I die. Apparently that happens. And when you give birth too. Ugh. What a world.”

Although her childhood was haunted by a famous crime, Rhinannon’s life is normal now that her celebrity has dwindled. By day, her job as an editorial assistant is demeaning and unsatisfying. By evening she dutifully listens to her friend’s plans for marriage and babies whilst secretly making a list.

A kill list.

From the man on the Lidl checkout who always mishandles her apples and squashes her sliced loaf, to the driver who cuts her up on her way to work. And then there’s the people who really deserve to die.

This story had me roaring with laughter like the mad woman I am. It is 100% my kind of humour, for which I am 100% not sorry for. It’s certainly NOT your average humour, and it could very well offend and disturb a lot of people. But not me, I loved it!

So, in order to try and lead a relatively normal life, Rhiannon, creates The Act. This is basically her way of fitting in with her colleagues and her group of friends. (aka ‘The PICSO’s’. You’ll have to read it to find out what that stands for. It’s absolute class, and everyone has a PICSO or ten in their lives!) They have no idea that she is a psychopath with uncontrollable murderous tendencies.

The story is told in diary format, which I love because it’s so easy to follow. What I loved about it most of all though was the humour. It was dark, deeply disturbing and very un-pc. Worryingly, I heard my own thoughts countless times throughout!

“Got on the scales first thing – still not lost the Christmas poundage. Googled ‘West Country Liposuction’. Can’t afford it. Had an eclair.” (Yes! Cake IS the answer!)

Had I have read this in a public place, I’d of got very strange looks because I was laughing and snorting and nodding my head in agreement all the way through. Rhiannon, you’re a gem, albeit a murderous one!!

Without giving too much away, here’s a couple of tasters of her many Kill Lists which cropped up throughout the story;

1. People who walk in groups along the pavement so no one else can get past, like they’re fucking in Reservoir Dogs. (Why do people do this?!)

2. Middle-class people who believe it’s their God-given right to bring their babies into restaurants and allow them to squawk all through a meal. (Ugh, don’t get me started on this one!)

3. Interrupters. (Yep, totally agree!)

I know it’s a pretty harsh attitude to have, but I’m certain loads of people think these things, the older I’ve got, the less tolerant I’ve become, so these felt very relatable for me! Not to the extent that I want to kill anybody though, I’d like to point out!! Rhiannon, you’re my kind of girl. But I value my life far too much to be your friend!

C J Skuse has created incredibly believable characters with such depth and imagination that every single one of them stood out for one reason or another. Sweetpea was an absolute joy to read. However, it certainly won’t be for everyone because there’s violence, profanity and stuff that is quite simply, very, very wrong. But, for me, entertainment-wise, it was very, very right. I just hope the author will be writing another instalment, because, damn it, that ended on a cliff-hanger! I need to know what happens to Rhiannon next!

This gets a well-earned 5 stars from me, mainly because I can’t stop thinking about it and I end up chuckling to myself!

Oh, and here’s what would be on my Kill List, just for the record;

1. Boasters.

2. Upstairs neighbours who think it’s a grand idea to have laminate floors with insufficient underlay and 3 tap-dancing kids.

3. People who lick the wooden stick of an ice lolly.

4. The previous tenant of MY flat, who insists on getting ‘payday loans’ under MY address with no intention of paying it back. YOU DO NOT LIVE HERE ANY MORE. THEY WILL FIND YOU. AND KILL YOU. Or maybe just insist you pay it back in manageable instalments of £1.21 a month.

I’d like to thank the author, C J Skuse, and the publisher, HQ (UK), for the opportunity to read this via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The pleasure was all mine!

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Mr Prendergast’s Fantastic Find By John Brassey

Mr Prendergast’s Fantastic Find by John Brassey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was so pleased to win this in a Goodreads giveaway, I was in the mood for reading something light-hearted and funny and this ticked both boxes.

Dave Prendergast spent much of his retired life trawling eBay in search of the riches he’s promised to his long suffering wife Sheila. After many false starts and disappointments, he finally comes across a listing for what appears to be a pair of very sought-after Japanese vases. Dave HAS to win this auction as he can see a very lucrative future on the horizon.

What follows is a typically British tale of crazy shenanigans which kept me chuckling and thinking ‘typical Brit’ all the way through. I enjoyed the simplicity of the story, it had a number of little twists that I certainly didn’t see coming, and the characters were superbly written.

I really liked how the author portrayed the Prendergast family unit as an average family, with many aspects relatable to a fellow Brit like myself. The relationship between Dave and his wife and son was very amusing and had some lovely heart-warming moments.

Overall, Mr Prendergast’s Fantastic Find was immensely enjoyable, I would highly recommend it to anyone who’s ever dabbled with eBay in the hope of finding a hidden gem, (I too love eBay and I’m still hoping to get rich quick by this method…yeah…right!!) or if you’re in the mood for something quick, entertaining and slightly Britishly Bonkers!

I have only one tiny teeny gripe, I’m not a fan of the cover, I much prefer to visualise the characters my way and not how they look on the cover art. But that’s just me I suppose.

I’d like to thank Goodreads for hosting the giveaway, and the kind letter accompanying my bookpost from the author, John Brassey. I will treasure my signed edition for which I am very grateful.

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Review: Inspector Hobbes and the Bones

Inspector Hobbes and the Bones by Wilkie Martin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh deary, deary me, I’ve gone against everything I believe in. The Order of Which One Should Read a Series.

‘Call me an ambulance’. ‘You’re an ambulance’.

Inspector Hobbes and the Bones is book 4, and I never start off in the middle of a series, let alone at the end of one. (Although, I’d hope that Wilkie Martin is penning another!)

Anyway, seeing this on NetGalley, (albeit, last year, me bad, sorry NG, I’m on it) I have to own up, it was the cover that inially intrigued me. The artwork was zingy and eye~catching, the blurb sounded like an easy~going, light read, and daft humour tickles me pink if the mood takes, and this is exactly what I fancied this week.

I’m not a Cozy Mysteries kinda girl, and I don’t really do Fantasy either, but this is a Cozy Crazy Crime Fantasy Comedy Mystery (CCCFCM for short) which just kept me entertained from start to finish.

It was extremely British, with puns galore, slapstick~style action, and dog characters!! Yes dogs!! Well, there are humans and the…..ummm, unhumans as well. But my favourite characters were definitely Dregs and Mimi. To see an animal relationship blossom is something I’ve never read about before and it was so lovely. And very funny.

The characters and place names!!! From pubs, to shops and street names, I sighed, whispered ‘oh dear’ to myself, and quietly smiled with cheesy, guilty pleasure.

One of the two MC’s is Andy Caplet. A hapless, clumsy, wally of a man, who’s pretty much outta luck all the time it seems. And, of course, Hobbes, a Police Inspector of questionable age and ethics, whose character I’d like to know more about. He has strange abilities and strength. I, for one cannot drink scalding hot tea or break a padlock with my bare hands. Reading book 1 will hopefully give him some background to answer a few of my questions. Who or, what is he?

It was all a bit silly, but the silliness was balanced with a nice little mystery that was cute and clever. Unlike poor Andy.

Every character was superbly written, you do get some funny types in these small English villages, I can tell you. Anyway, I need silly sometimes. There comes a time when reading this stuff suits me just fine.

So, on finishing this, I’ve learned two things, one, I need to read books 1~3 when my next non~serious urges arrive. And two, crime and dodgy shenanigans can always wait whilst there’s a good hearty meal to be had. Who could possibly solve anything on an empty stomach?

Wilkie Martin has my kind of humour, and his style certainly won’t be for everyone, but I loved it. A proper bonkers CCCFCM. I’m off to make that a new Goodreads shelf.

I’d like to thank the author, Wilkie Martin, the publisher, The Witcherley Book Company and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.

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