Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Being Black ‘n Chicken and Chips by Matt Okine

“I had a pokey little pigeon chest with scrawny arms like chicken wings, and legs that resembled two bendy, brown chopsticks.”

There was a glorious time in my life when I used to wake up, jump in the car and listen to the adorable voices of Matt and Alex. I loved those guys so much and only really began to feel old when they surrendered their DJ duties on triple J. I’ve since followed both of them on social media and think back fondly of their daily entertainment. When I saw that Matt had written a book, I jumped straight on to  the Booktopia website and ordered up a signed copy.
Just as I loved to hear Matt talk about catching crabs with his Dad ( and of course when his hilarious father would ring in), I was equally enchanted by his literary stylings. The similarities between the author and his protagonist made this an interesting read for me. I imagined Mike as Matt from the way he used to speak on the radio and indeed the book is based upon his stand up show of the same name.
Usually I shy away from novels about parents suffering from Cancer, I always find that a little torturous. Okine, however, delivers such a beautifully nuanced piece of work that, much like life, peaks and troughs so as not to overburden the reader. Humour is all pervasive and perhaps the most effective parts of the tale are the cringe worthy coming of age parts of the story like school boy crushes and various accidents. There are so many themes that will resonate with the child in all of us, the feeling of needing to belong, of being different, of just having to survive childhood, along with those gem like hours where life, friends and love make everything special.

I would thoroughly recommend you get yourself a copy and dive on into the sometimes murky waters of a young boy growing up in the nineties.

5 out of 5, avoid the swamp.

Saturday, 21 September 2019

Something Borrowed, Someone Dead (Agatha Raisin 24) by M.C.Beaton

"He had told her it was to be a special lunch and yet she had not put on any make-up and was wearing a droopy grey cardigan over a faded green blouse and a wool skirt that dipped at the hem."

James Lacey has yet another new love interest and this time she's dowdy. That's enough to set Agatha off in a spin, and yet when he goes on holiday with Toni - things get really crazy. Her detecting adventures will draw focus as a poisoning in the village of Piddlesbury requires Agatha's keen skills. Poisoning by elderberry wine ensures the suspect is hard to track down. Naturally Agatha is momentarily distracted by the entrance of yet another good looking man with secrets.
So many stories going on within this one - it is rather complex and yet entertaining nonetheless.

5 out of 5 - don't drink the elderberry wine.

Hiss and Hers (Agatha Raisin 23) by M.C.Beaton

"Simon awoke on Saturday morning with a feeling of anticipation. Jessica would be in Carsely and he must think up a way of approaching her."

Yet another adventure with the always entertaining, Agatha Raisin and this time it includes snakes. I rather hate snakes, with good reason it would seem - especially when they're deadly.

With James and Charles out of contention there is a huge void in Agatha's romantic pursuits. Enter the rather delectable, George Marston - who I imagine is a cross between Alexander Skarsgard and Max Brown ( King Robert in The Royals and also recently in Downton Abbey - the movie), that is to say rather dishy.

All the local ladies are finding any excuse to get their gardens tended to and, as usual, Agatha is in love. When his snake bitten body is discovered secrets and adventures will be unearthed. Toni and Simon will have to go undercover under rather dangerous circumstances and this time, Simon might fall under the spell of a femme fatale.
He also might play hard and fast with the law, employing some slightly illegal tactics.

Agatha's bed might finally get some warm company - but will it last? Will she survive this adventure? Read it and find out.

5 out of 5 hissing snakes scare the pants off me.

As the Pig Turns ( Agatha Raisin 22) by M.C.Beaton

"Many of Simon’s regimental friends were in the church, reminding guilty Agatha that it was surely her fault that he had gone to Afghanistan."

Agatha's interfering ways have seen Simon join the Army and fight in Afghanistan, leaving a miserable Toni pining away. He returns with a fiancee and the entire detective agency is invited to the wedding. As if that isn't dramatic enough - there's another murder and this one is particularly grim. A particularly annoying cop has a habit of handing out fines at an alarming rate prompting Agatha to curse "May he roast slowly over a spit in hell". When Aggie and friends attend a Pig Roast at Winter Parva and the pig seems to have a tattoo, its time for the detective to get detecting.
Toni has her own adventure including another failed romance with a dangerous man and a trip to Las Vegas that is also fraught. The body count is more than 1 in this story and the suspense and romantic intrigues will have the pages flying by.

5 out of 5 : I smell bacon.

Busy Body ( Agatha Raisin 21) by M.C.Beaton

"As she drove down the road leading to Carsely, towards her cottage, she thought, I can ignore Christmas here just as well as I could in Corsica."

Agatha's plans to escape Christmas with a sojourn in Corsica are typically disastrous, so it is back to Carsely for some Christmas thrills. John Sunday, the local health and safety officer is putting a damper on Christmas celebrations, but not for long. His bloodied corpse will make an appearance at the Ladies' Society in Odley Cruesis (seriously what a name) and Agatha will be back on the case.

The village, which is close by to Agatha's, is peopled by the usual range of oddballs and seemingly guilty persons.Throw in some scary siblings and the odd overseas sleuthing trip, and Agatha (and the reader) are kept busy. Agatha meddles in Toni's love life with what will prove to have disastrous effects in future novels and is Agatha getting engaged to  Sir Charles??? Stay tuned!

5 out of 5 times it pays to snoop.

There Goes the Bride (Agatha Raisin 20) by M.C.Beaton

"Downstairs, she poured herself a stiff drink and lit a cigarette. Felicity’s murder, she reflected, would be the first case she had ever given up on."

I've been feeling a little run down of late and I have to say that I've discovered the perfect cure for feeling poorly. A few moments with Agatha Raisin might not cure your ills but it will pep you up just that little bit. Clearly I have been on a Raisin binge of late. So I shall try not to get all the plots confused.

I do love the threads that continue throughout the books and I really love how easy they are to read on my phone ( sacrilege I know).

James Lacey is - shock horror - engaged to be married to a young, rich and very beautiful woman with a rather posh name - Felicity Bross-Tilkington. A woman who isn't Agatha! Agatha puts her face on and tries to appear positive, fortunately there is a rather suave Frenchman to flirt with.
The wedding does not go off without a hitch, rather it ends in murder. That is to say James is still single because his would be wife has been bumped off.

Will Agatha solve the murder? What is the story with Felicity's creepy family? Will you have fun? Definitely! Will you guess the outcome - possibly not.

5 out of 5 bouquets can do double duty.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

A Spoonful of Poison ( Agatha Raisin #19) by M.C. Beaton

“Agatha cast one longing look after George’s retreating well-tailored back as he headed for his car.”

Death by LSD, these country murders are getting more and more unexpected!
Agatha Raisin is back, full face of makeup, uncomfortable shoes and for at least a few pages no keen romantic interest. The dishy looking George Selby might be just the ticket, unless he happens to be a murderer?

Who the heck has tampered with the jam? Will Agatha's ego survive the attention that her protege is receiving? So many questions. The only real solution is to dive deep into the book for yourself and sleuth out the answers.

5 out of 5 carry on Agatha.. you are the jam.