Review by Alice
How many lives has Scuffo? is a light-hearted book with clever jokes and a simple plot. Yet the two go very well together to create a novel one might read if they were in need of a good laugh. It is altogether quite a positive book with its exploration of cats and the myth of their nine lives.
The book starts in the late 1950s where readers are introduced to the vicar ‘Harold Scuffington’. He is turned into a cat at a Christmas fayre by a magician, he then finds out he will not be able to return to his human form. He continues to explore his newfound life as a cat getting into some unpredictable situations as he begins to use up his nine lives.
The book is aimed at an adult audience because many of the jokes could be difficult for children to understand however some able teenagers would also enjoy the book.
Harry, George and Ian take up cycling as a way to keep fit and to give them a weekend interest. After three months of one hour rides to the pub on a Sunday lunchtime, they decide they are ready for a cycling holiday over the Pennines – then the fun starts!
These beginners ‘accidentally’ get into a race with seasoned cyclists and get help from other cyclists in different ways. Narrated by Ian, we get an amusing take three different personalities spending intense periods of time together, including sharing a bedroom, all three together! There is much for the three men to learn about themselves and each other – some good traits, some not so good. It sometimes reads very much like a younger version of Last of The Summer Wine, there’s very little new ground here but an amusing and entertaining read.
This is one of the funniest books I’ve read in a long time. The book opens with Felix Hart being interrogated by an unknown ‘authority’ to the point he feels he’s not going to get out of the meeting alive. From here, Felix tells his life story from being an orphan expelled from a prestigious school, and his decision to do work which he enjoys – drinking wine.
Felix gets into some terrible scrapes yet always seems to come up smelling of roses. His career in the wine industry prospers and takes him around the world drinking fine wines and dallying with the ladies. Felix is a very likeable character even though he’s a cad and a drunk much of the time.
The language is a little ripe at times and there are a few rude scenes but so hilariously executed. Excellently written and brilliantly plotted.
I absolutely loved this book. It’s packed with humour and ‘feel good’ factor, and if you have ever undertaken moving house to a foreign country this will ring true on so many levels.
Vicky decided that she and her husband, Joe, would move house and live in Spain because she was fed up of the grey days and rain of England. After a little persuasion, Joe agreed to a five year plan of living in Spain with a clause to return to England if they didn’t settle for any reason at the end of the agreed term. This book is the first of a series of six (so far) and covers the move from their Sussex home to a tiny village of just five permanent residents in the mountains behind Almeria, to five years later when they have to decide whether to return to the grey skies of England or stay in the home they’ve made and with the chickens they love.
We meet their lovely neighbours and makers of home made wine, Carmen and Paco, who through a language misunderstanding called Carmen ‘Bethina’ for several months. We live through the Fiestas, the dancing, the heaviest snowfall since records began, fallen trees across the one treacherous mountain road into the village, and the antics of the ‘Gin Twins’. And the chickens – oh, such fun these caused as well as income from their dozens of eggs each week.
Between each chapter is a recipe for typical tasty Spanish tapas, salad, stew etc., complete with instructions of how to make the recipes. This really is an amazing little book and if you go to their website at victoriatwead.com there is a free section with photographs to compliment this book.
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I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book. Emmanuelle de Maupassant is known for her writing of erotic fiction and I wasn’t expecting too much ‘steam’ with the book being about the pregnancy of the main character. Well, even with a heavily blossoming tummy you can have a lust or two with hunky Italian lotharios hanging around!
Baby Love is written in the style of a diary and also uses text and phrasing as if you had written your own diary, cutting out all the ‘me’s and ‘I’s which are obvious really.
Delphine’s husband is good looking and good in the sack, he knows it as well as Delphine . . . and so does the lady next door! It’s terrible timing when at Christmas, Delphine finds herself pregnant and husbandless. I’m sure we’ve all made the wrong choice of bloke somewhere along the line and can feel for the bleak outlook of her life. I loved Delphine as a character, she didn’t deserve the hand she’d been dealt, and I sympathised with her situation. Delphine has hit rock bottom when her well meaning sisters come to the rescue and cause more hilarity at the spa they’ve booked the three of them into.
Overall, a very good and funny story with moments of pathos. The wry outlook on life and the ironic humour makes this a well worth satirical read.
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