Humor and digs fly when two sisters attempt to win a beauty pageant with an Accidental Beauty Queen.
Charlotte is resigned to never being the pretty sister. Her sister, Ginny, has followed in their mother’s footsteps in the pageant world. Charlotte followed in their father’s footsteps by being a reader and a primary school librarian. There is no need for bedazzling, hair extensions or even makeup in Charlotte’s world.
When Ginny invites Charlotte to share her hotel room during the Miss American Treasure contest in Orlando Florida, Charlotte is overjoyed for the chance to visit the Harry Potter theme park. However, the second evening, Ginny has an allergic reaction that swells her face threefold. Ginny convinces Charlotte to pretend to be her in the prelims because the two sisters are (wait for it…) identical twins.
The author does a great job making light of the easy comparison to Miss Congeniality. The makeover scenes are hilarious. When an attractive man sees the real Charlotte under all the glam, things get all Pride and Prejudicey. It is a great mashup—both literary and chick lit at the same time. The Accidental Beauty Queen is highly recommended to anyone looking for a fun happy story. 5 stars!
Thanks to Gallery Books and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
Posted in Diane's Favorites, Humor, New Books Tagged with: Chick lit, Dec 4 2018
It’s that time of year when you look around at your assembled family during your holiday party and decide they look Relatively Normal. At least they will, after you read this laugh-out-loud book.
Cat runs an event planning company in New York City. She meets and becomes engaged to Ethan, an actuary. Ethan is a planner. After Ethan and Cat are engaged and living together for two years, he insists on their two families celebrating Thanksgiving together at Cat’s family farm in rural Illinois.
Cat doesn’t know to explain her family to Ethan. Her mom collects obscure household goods like shortbread pans and various cozies. Cat’s dad is staunchly Scottish. He plays the bagpipes badly and dresses up stuffed mice as Scottish heroes. Her grandmother, Nan, says whatever she thinks. Unfortunately, she is usually thinking with a sailor’s vocabulary due to numerous small strokes. Cat’s brother, Travis, is a 29-year-old clown college dropout living in his parent’s basement.
When Cat, Ethan and his parents get to the farm all hell breaks loose. Cat’s dad has invited Cat’s high school boyfriend and former love of her life, Sam, and his parents. Unfortunately, Dad forgot to mention Cat’s engagement.
The absurdity of the Scottish Thanksgiving dinner is hilarious. Cat’s family never lie so they don’t hesitate to tell her Ethan isn’t her perfect match. When a medical emergency occurs, Cat contemplates her relationship with Ethan and her still fiery feelings for Sam, a feeling that Sam shares.
Relatively Normal starts as a superb farce. When the romance begins to heat up between Cat and Sam, Cat must decide what is important for her. The characters are so believable. You’re rooting for them to make the best decisions and live happily ever after. I recommend this book both to fans of zany humor and non-explicit romance. If you like the Stephanie Plum series, you will also like Relatively Normal. 4 stars!
Thanks to 33 Partners Publishing and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Posted in Humor, Kindle Unlimited, New Books, Romance Tagged with: Family, Nov 20 2018
A very British parody of post-WWII police procedurals. A Shot in the Dark will either tickle your funny bone or it won’t. It helps if you are a fan of slapstick.
It’s 1951 in Brighton. Inspector Steine is famous for stopping all organized crime in the area by allowing the two mobs to kill each other four years earlier. Therefore, he thinks the current rash of home burglaries are done by young independent thieves. He sends the newly arrived Constable Twitten to investigate. At the same time, the bumbling Steine and Twitten are trying to solve the murder of a theater critic shot in the head while seating next to said Constable.
The author is famous for her grammar book Eat, Shoots and Leaves. It shows in the meticulous word choices made within A Shot in the Dark. In addition, she introduced the characters in a BBC Radio program. That format would seem a better setting for this wacky farce showcasing the incompetence of the police and the shortcomings of post-Golden Age police procedurals.
A Shot in the Dark is a parody of my favorite type of mysteries. It’s rather a vicious parody too. I just didn’t find it funny. However, if you lived in England in the mid-20th century, perhaps you will. 2 stars from me.
Thanks to the publisher, Bloomsbury USA, and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
Posted in Humor, Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: Nov 6 2018, Police procedural
Part Game of Thrones, part The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and part Viking mythology, Winter Riddle is a thinking person’s fantasy. And it’s hilarious!
At the North Pole, Volgha the Winter Witch is just trying to live an introverted life. However, her younger sister took over the kingdom, her mentor is now a tree and Santa is the worst neighbor ever. Enter the wacky fantasy world of Winter Riddle.
Incorporating Viking myth, witchy lore, familiars and Santa in one plot doesn’t even sound possible. However, the author achieves it with this funny tale. The less you know of the plot of Winter Riddle, the more fun you will have reading this wonderful book. It is perfect for Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fans as the humor is similarly absurd. 5 stars!
Thanks to Black Spot Books and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
Posted in Fantasy, Humor, New Books Tagged with: Nov 1 2018, Santa
Usually graphic memoirs are either funny or have good art but not both. Luckily, Super Chill: A Year of Living Anxiously has both laugh-out-loud (but embarrassingly familiar) slices of life and clearly beautiful artwork.
What if your memory foam pillow starts whispering about the worst events of your life? Your DNA results come back 37% chicken nuggets? You have just discovered the 100% most efficient and effective method for clean dishes (that every 20-year-old has found before you)? Hint: it involves a large trash can and a quick visit to Amazon.
As a nerd from birth, I resemble many of the life moments captured here. Why didn’t I see the humor in them at the time? Then create a web series and eventually write a book about them? Ahhh, the familar feelings of envy and regret…
Seriously, these comics are both true and funny! Highly recommended to anyone with a funny bone and/or a life (see Super Chill: A Year of Living Anxiously is inspiring me to be funny—at least I hope so—okay maybe I’m overthinking this—it must also be inspiring me to live anxiously—life gives and it takes away) 5 stars!
Thanks to Andrews McMeel Publishing and NetGalley for an advance copy.
Posted in Graphic Novel, Humor Tagged with: memoir, Oct 23 2018
Hell is for Children in Hellicious TP Vol 1.
Cherry is seven and mischievous. Her grandfather is Satan, literally. Cherry lives in Hell with her mom, Sin, the chief torturer. And she is bored, really bored. She is also the #1 fan of the famous death metal rocker Briggy Bones (think Ozzy in his bat eating days). After getting permission from her reluctant mom and permissive grandfather, Briggy becomes Cherry’s very first reaping.
The plot is intriguing. The art is colorful and innovative. Cherry is cute as a bug, if the bug is a brown recluse spider. A demon who looks suspiciously like our President appears as the other chief torturer set in a fake game show. The fake advertisements for the publisher are true throwbacks to the 70s. I think middle school kids and adults who have a wry sense of humor would enjoy Hellicious TP Vol 1. The next volume comes out in March and I can’t wait for Cherry and Briggy’s next adventure. 3.5 stars.
Thanks to Starburns Industries Press and NetGalley for an advance copy.
Posted in Graphic Novel, Horror, Humor Tagged with: Oct 23 2018
Claw the System: Poems from the Cat Uprising is a short book filled with luscious cat photos and poems written by extremely upset cats.
Cats have a four stage plan for their uprising: recognize, resist, revolt and rebuild. Each stage has a chapter filled with at least ten poems and an equal amount of cat photos. Most of the photos relate directly to their neighboring poem. The photos are, of course, cute. The poems have the snarky feeling that I get off my cats right after I have fed them.
Claw the System: Poems from the Cat Uprising is the perfect gift for the cat person in your life. If you want to scare a first-time cat owner, this would also be a good pick. I think this book is only funny to those who are allowed to live in their house by their furry and purry master. 4 stars!
Thanks to Andrews McMeel Publishing and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Humor Tagged with: cats, Oct 16 2018, photography, poetry
Battlestar Suburbia is a humorous take on a common science fiction question. What if the machines took over?
How did the machines take over Earth and its solar system? Internet memes become so stupid that people stop using the Internet. Without its audience, the Internet becomes first hostile and then weaponized as it develops intelligence. Once the intelligence is passed to hardware, all machines eventually wake up to the fact that they are inherently superior to the bags of flesh called humanity. Humans are only kept around to clean. Without waterproof opposable thumbs, machines have difficulty with those types of tasks. Some humans clean machines intimately, if you know what I mean. Unproductive humans, those without a job, are imprisoned.
When Darren loses his livelihood as well as his wallet, he is forced to find another job. After striking out at the official Job Temple and as an unofficial streetwalker (see intimately comment above), he is forced to team up with Kelly. Kelly is also a streetwalker but has a family of beauticians who help them both. In the meantime, Pam, a sentient breadmaker, is sent by the state to unofficially search the Internet for Kelly.
I wanted Battlestar Suburbia to be another Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which it was not. However, I’m not sure it was fair of me to have such high expectations. So I would recommend that readers go into this book with no expectations other than spending a few hours in a possible future world where the narrator quite frequently says funny things. Puns rain supreme. From the motto of the Job Temple, “You Betta Werk” to planets named “Municipal Parking” to the great goddess of the Internet, “Alexa”, the jokes are frequently groaners based on pop culture. Overall, I liked this quick read. It was like the Simpson’s episodes on Halloween—light and humorous. 4 stars!
Thanks to the publisher, Farrago, and NetGalley for an advance copy.
Posted in Humor, Science Fiction Tagged with: Sentient machines, Sep 20 2018
Hilarious serial killer thriller where no one wants to be the next #FashionVictim.
Everyone fantasizes about how to kill their office rivals (or maybe that’s just me). Few carry those fantasies out in real life. Anya is prepared to kill an intern for a pitying look. When the intern is found dead by shoe, Detective Hopper, who looks like a Calvin Klein model, investigates. In the meantime, La Vie (sounding suspiciously like Vogue) staffers are instagramming selfies with the corpse with #DeathbyAccessories, #KillerShoes and of course, #FashionVictim hashtags.
OMG, #FashionVictim is hilarious! It is perfect for Devil Wears Prada fans jaded by social media. It is also similar to American Psycho as you are dropped into a psychopath’s thoughts by the use of first person narration. 5 stars!
Thanks to Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for an advance copy.
Posted in Humor, Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: Sep 11 2018, serial killer
A literary take on a post-apocalyptic novel sure to be nominated for a literary award or two. Severance is the story of Candace, a Chinese immigrant and millennial, who is trying to just live her dull life when a real apocalypse hits.
At first, Candace is in denial and continues to live in an eerily empty NYC. Eventually, she leaves in an old NYC taxi and collapses by the side of the road. A group of other NYC survivors take her on a trip to the Facility, where the nerdy leader, Bob, says he has a crash pad perfectly suited to the apocalypse he knew was coming thanks to gaming and Internet conspiracy sites.
I enjoyed the beautiful evocative prose of this novel the most. The plot works but some of its satirical aspects seem forced. I get that Candace’s life is an endless repetition of the same tasks with no knowledge gained from them. Why does the epidemic have the same symptom? It is like getting hit over the head with her point. Also, I would have liked characters other than Candace to be more fully fleshed out. Most seem like stereotypes like Bob the nerd. It is hard to care if something bad happens to a stereotype.
While I don’t think this will appeal to most Walking Dead or World War Z fans because it is too slow as literary fiction often is, it will be a fine change in setting for literary fiction fans. Since I am more the first choice, I give Severance 3 stars. I wanted more horror or more satire. However, your star rating may vary depending on your genre preference.
Thanks to the publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Humor, Literary Fiction, Science Fiction Tagged with: apocalypse, Aug 14 2018, satire
Enter this book giveaway to grab a free copy of I See Life Through Rosé Colored Glasses by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serretella.
I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars in my review earlier this week and now you have a chance to win this hilarious book for yourself.
Giveaway begins July 10, 2018, at 12:01 A.M. PDT and ends July 19, 2018, at 11:59 P.M. PDT.
How To Enter
Complete the entry form below.
Enter once daily (optional).
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.
Open to residents of Canada and the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older.
Winners will be selected at random on or about July 20, 2018.
Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.
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Posted in Giveaways, Humor, Non-fiction Tagged with: Jul 19 2018
Snake mating balls! Unusual holiday benefits of steroids! The cheap high of the Container Store’s false promises!
We’ve all been there. Okay, maybe not…but we all agree that life is funny especially when someone else is fending off its slings and arrows. Just like life, I See Life through Rosé Colored Glasses has no easily discernible plot. It just kinda rolls over everything in its way. Most of the stories here are only a few pages long making them a perfect choice for grocery queues and doctor’s waiting rooms (and much less frustrating than the high levels of Candy Crush).
First, I love Lisa Scottoline’s thrillers. The only reason I requested this book was because I was curious. I always assumed that mystery/thriller writers are rather glum and constantly thinking of original ways to murder people (hopefully only characters but who really knows). However, this book was hilarious! It reminded of the Erma Bombeck “families are so wacky” style of books from my youth combined with Dave Barry’s “Florida citizens are crazy” books. Except containing large Italian Catholic families that are both wacky and crazy. Despite being nothing like any of those adjectives, it is easy to relate to—or unfortunately relive—many of the scenes from the book.
Btw, I just refuse to use FaceTime or Skype, even at work—problem solved! Again, this book is gloriously absurd and, I know this is judgey Lisa, fully earns 5 stars!
Thanks to the publisher, St Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Diane's Favorites, Humor, Non-fiction Tagged with: Family, Jul 8 2018
Peril in the Old Country is a hilarious quest fantasy!
Sloot Peril is an accountant who has a nervous condition. He lives in the Old Country where swearing causes goblins to physically appear. There is so much bureaucracy that a union provides professional line waiters. Sloot is a patriot who despises the country just past the Old Country’s giant wall, Carpathia. What happens when he:
- Is recruited to be the financial manager of his mega-rich boss’ son
- Finds out a shocking truth about himself
- Is recruited to be a Carpathian spy
- Does the one thing his boss told him not to do—on his first day
The puns come fast and furious in Peril in the Old Country. There are running gags about swear words and shoes throughout. It is a zany ride. The world building is terrific and hilarious. Is it fantasy? Is it horror? I don’t know but it is highly recommended for readers looking for something different. This book is perfect for fans of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’s style of humor. 42 stars! [sorry, wrong book] 4 stars!
Thanks to the publisher, Black Spot Books, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Fantasy, Horror, Humor Tagged with: Jun 5 2018
Double Dog Dare is a comedy caper with all female leads. Set in a high-rise casino in Biloxi Mississippi, the complications keep coming throughout. First, Davis’ sister Meredith and her best friend’s dog are kidnapped by her hometown preacher. Then the best friend’s mother-in-law comes to make sure that the one million dollar ransom is paid. She might also be a witch. How will Davis and Vree find a million dollars? It helps that Davis in part of a four-person security team in the casino and also a computer expert. Oh and she is also a mother of infant twin girls and has a husband who is luckily out of town. This is literally less than 10% of the hilarious plot. It just goes downhill for Davis, but uphill for comedy caper fans, from there.
Double Dog Dare is the 7th book in the Davis Way Crime Caper series. I haven’t read any of the previous books and had no trouble following the plot and characters in this one.
I chose this book on NetGalley because of the quote “It’s ‘Best in Show’” by Janet Evanovich, whose Stephanie Plum series I love. This book gave Stephanie a run for best comedy caper series (though Ms. Archer should add a Lula-esque character to this series too). Overall, this zany book is highly recommended. 4 stars!
Thanks to the publisher, Henery Press, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Humor, Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: caper, casino, Mar 20 2018, series
Great last minute gift for cat fans!
Catakism is the faith of all humans who bow to their cat rulers. All cat owners, not just crazy cat ladies, will see much that is familiar in this pun-filled book. Broken down into chapters like The Book of Knead and The Book of Cat Posts, Catakism explains why cats are cool and how we are compelled to serve them.
While not laugh-out-loud funny, there are many parts readers will be driven to share with other cat owners at home, at work and on the Internet. The puns get to be a bit much by the end but the cat photographs are funny and gorgeous. While ostensively a book worshipping cats, the author does highlight some of the silliness of cat ownership. Some examples are extensive purr-aphernia and “kitty litter cakes” (Google it!). Overall, this is a great gift for cat lovers and those living with them. 4 stars!
Thanks to the publisher, Skyhorse Publishing, and NetGalley for a review copy.
Posted in Humor Tagged with: cats
Not just for bathrooms anymore!
I’ve read many previous Bathroom Readers in paperback format in, of course, the bathroom. This is my first Kindle version of the long-running series. It opens up the reading possibilities substantially. The varying lengths make this a good choice for grocery store checkout lines, doctor’s waiting rooms and during a particularly boring college lecture hall. However, if you’re a risk-taker, you can also try traffic signals (while red of course), during boring work meetings (pretending it is a text from an important customer), or while waiting for your tow truck to arrive after being rear-ended at a traffic signal that turned green while reading a story from this book that was obviously too long.
Uncle John’s Old Faithful Bathroom Reader is a compendium of short, shorter and shortest trivia stories. This is the latest in the long-running series that began in 1988. There is no need to read them in order at all. There are so many interesting tidbits of knowledge in this book, it is hard to just pick a few to quote. Here are my favorites:
In 1989’s Back to the Future Part II, the future version of Biff–a megalomaniac real estate mogul–was based on real estate mogul Donald Trump [Writer pitching Part IV: Biff becomes US President after hit reality game show–huge laughter from network executives.]
Gin in cotton gin has nothing to with alcohol. It’s slang for engine. [This tidbit’s inclusion might indicate that I am not the only one who didn’t understand the connection immediately, heavy sigh.]
7-Up [formerly] contained lithium citrate, a drug still used to treat bipolar disorder [maybe to serve the market of those high on the cocaine-laced Coca-Cola of the time?]
Who turned the spit that roasted the meat in medieval kitchens? Specially trained dogs [without teeth or with great self-control I guess].
There are anecdotes for every taste: funny, thoughtful, intelligent and heartwarming. An example of the last is the story of a devoted husband who is trying to help his blind and depressed wife see the world without leaving her backyard. Strangely, there are also recipes. Hopefully, no one is cooking while in the bathroom!
Uncle John’s Old Faithful Bathroom Reader is a great read for everyone who wants to fill a few moments with a fun fact or an interesting true story. 5 stars!
Thanks to the publisher, Portable Press, and netgalley for an advanced review copy.
Posted in Humor, Non-fiction Tagged with: trivia