The Carer by Deborah Moggach


James, a once eminent professor, needs full time help. So Phoebe and Robert, his distracted middle-aged offspring, employ Mandy, a veritable treasure who seems happy to relieve them of their responsibilities. 

‘Our marriage was one long conversation that was only interrupted by her death’.

The Carer connected with me on a very personal level. A story I initially thought to be predictable, turned out to be a very powerful and surprising book, with numerous unexpected twists. 

I continually nodded my head throughout reading, raising my eyebrows on numerous occasions and thinking gosh, I totally get this. 

This is a cracking read, and it’s reinforced the fact that as you get older, life just gets more and more complicated. Fortunately, we do become wiser, so dealing with complex matters of the heart can be taken with a pinch or ten of salt. 

I think readers of a certain age would take a lot from this, particularly if they have/had elderly parents and middle aged siblings. 

I haven’t read anything before by Deborah Moggach, and unbeknown to me, she wrote The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, and have added the book to my shelf. Her writing style is simple, yet magical. She designs her stories in a way that hooks gently. 

A solid 5 star read. It was faultless. 

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The Curse of the School Rabbit by Judith Kerr

The Curse of the School Rabbit by Judith Kerr

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This had me smiling away all the way through, who could resist a naughty bunny story?!

Lovely storyline and characters, with a simple, yet intriguing plot perfect for bedtime. More so if there’s a cuddly rabbit sharing the bed, I could see myself animating with gusto to this little gem!

There used to be a menagerie of stuffed toys sharing my daughter’s bed years ago and she would of loved this between the ages of 3-9 ish.

Certainly a super book for early readers too, complete with really cool little pencil drawings, the facial expressions of the characters were delightful.

I wouldn’t expect any less from Judith Kerr, she wrote with simplicity, humour and love.

5 solid stars from me, my grandchildren (if and when I get them!) are going to share this one with me, I absolutely loved it! But then, I am a big kid at heart I suppose.

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This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay

This Is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Every single person that has benefited from the British NHS should read this book.

It is powerful. POWERFUL.

The people that work as front line medical staff deserve every bit of respect in the world. So next time you’re having a knee replacement done or giving birth to your baby in the maternity ward, just spare a thought to these overworked, underpaid, taken for granted Angels.

It’s little wonder they appear a tad detached from the job and patients sometimes. I’d be too if I was working a 90 hour week. Ask them how they are, and BE A NICE PATIENT. They don’t deserve the shit they get.

On the flip side, This is Going to Hurt is hilarious. Adam Kay has a way with words that made me feel like I erupted my 25 year old caesarean scar multiple times I laughed so damn hard.

This is a book I will never forget.

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The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell

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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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Top Ten Tuesday – My Best Bookish LOL’s #OwlBeSatLaughing

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I love a book that’s an absolute hoot to read, (see what I did there?!) but I do have to be in the mood to read funny stuff. So I thought I’d share my top ten funniest reads so far for the Top Ten Tuesday meme that was originally created by The Broke and the Bookish.

First off, we have possibly one of THE funniest ‘Books About Books’ that I can ever recall reading. Jen Campbell’s Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops. I currently have #2 on my bookshelf and I’m looking forward to reading it when the mood takes. I’ll probably be reading it soon because I’m a bit of a miserable owl this time of year, and it will cheer me up because I really don’t like Christmas very much!

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Now we have yet another book about books, Craig McLays Village Books. It isn’t funny all the time, but the characters in this were superb, with dry wit and cracking one-liners, this had me chuckling away numerous times.

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Aww, this one, it has such a special place in my heart! 💜 I used to read this to my daughter 20-odd years ago. She loved it so much. Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy by the brilliant Lynley Dodd. A simple rhyming picture book, with animal characters that are fantastic!

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Another kids book next, the superb Roald Dahl’s  The Twits. I loved this as a child, and also read it during ‘Dahl week’ at the pre-school I used to work at. The class all sat on the reading mat, and me doing my best twittish voice overs is something I’ll never forget. All those little faces smiling and giggling away, it was truly magical!

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Something a bit different next in line, A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. I watched the film of this before I read the book. It starred Robert Redford and Nick Nolte and I thoroughly enjoyed it, so I bought the book second hand. I had a right good old laugh second time round! Unusually for me, I did prefer the movie, but the book was still delightfully funny.

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The next one is Peter Kay’s autobiography, The Sound of Laughter. I just adore Peter Kay, he’s the same age as me so everything he talks about in his book is so relateable. GARLIC BREAD?! GARLIC BREAD?! (You’ll only understand the comedy value of this foodstuff if you’re a fan! 😂)

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And while I’m on the subject of autobigraphies, next in line is Is It Just Me? by the super hilarious Miranda Hart. Again, I can relate so much to Miranda, she’s around my age and her book was SUCH FUN!😂

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This next book is on my Best of 2017 list, as not only is it utterly hysterical, but also very dark and un-PC. The fantastic C J Skuse’s Sweetpea. This one could possibly be ‘up there’ as one of my favourite books ever. Now THAT’S an accolade is it not?! We all know how hard it is to name favourite reads, but this is by far, a book I will never forget and will re-read for sure.

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time has won countless awards. This wonderful story has a main character with Asperger’s Syndrome, and Mark Haddon did a grand job of writing about such a sensitive subject with shed-loads of humour. I enjoyed it so much that I read it again STRAIGHT AFTER finishing it! What does that tell you?! As the cover suggests, it was outstanding. And so darn funny!

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And now for my final top ten LOL book, which is #4 in a series. The first three I have yet to read, and I usually never read a series out of numerical order! This was on NetGalley when I first joined and I fancied something a little different to my normal choice of genre so I requested it. And I’m so glad I did because Inspector Hobbes and the Bones (Unhuman #4) by Wilkie Martin was totally nuts! I rarely choose fantasy, but this just sounded odd and entertaining, and I loved the cover art. To best describe this one I’d say it was a Cosy Crazy Crime Fantasy Comedy Mystery! I really must read the first one to get some background on the characters. It was bonkers and quite unique.

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So, my first ever Top Ten Tuesday post is done! I’m not the most organised blogger, so whether I do another #TTT any time soon remains to be seen. My posts are a bit random, but I like it that way. At least then I’m not committing myself to blog on days I don’t feel like blogging!

Thanks for reading, and I’d love to hear what your favourite funny reads are. Drop me a comment below if you fancy 😀