Five Give Up The Booze, a review

Another parody famous five book about excessive drinking this time. This one was, well… let me explain.

The majority of it was just like the other books in this parody series that I’ve read so far, the five are in the modern day and are struggling with an issue. This time the issue happens to be excessive drinking, and they decide to attempt dry January as a group. Now, of course, the ending is all wrapped up nice and neat, everything turns out alright in the end, Bruno Vincent keeps these classic hallmarks of the original stories. However, there was a bit that made me feel uncomfortable within this one (which hasn’t happened previously). There was an LGBT aspect which seemed to be thrown in there simply for humour, but it doesn’t come off well. It took me a second to figure out that it wasn’t meant to be serious and then once I realised this I was uncomfortable with the scene. It’s just not done well at all and really lowers my opinion of this book.

Other than that, this is another enjoyable and silly rendition of the five and if you can get past the hiccough above (and like me are wanting to collect and read them all) then go for it. It’s still fun in the main.

Five Go Gluten Free, a parody

How many of you have seen these little parody books of the Famous Five stories of old? I used to adore those books as a child, having read and re-read all 21 of the stories and wishing so hard that I could be in their world. Well this parody series brings them not only into the modern day, but back down to Earth with a bump. This time the five are all grown up and dealing with bigger problems than Timmy eating the picnic they packed (okay that’s a pretty big problem, but still).

In this parody, Anne is given some presents for her birthday that the other three should have looked over more carefully. She reads the book she was given, as well as doing further research online, and decides that they all need to give up gluten (and pretty much everything else) to not kill themselves with their diet. This is an accurate and funny look at how modern fad diets are silly and strange, although there are obviously steps to take to be more healthy, unless you have a medical condition you don’t need to be this drastic with what you cut out of your diet!

The five struggle to keep eating in this way, becoming weaker as they don’t get enough nutrients and attempting to sneak food behind the others backs! It’s a fun little piece, only 104 pages long, and is great for any childhood fans of the five!

The Essential Spike Milligan, a review

This is the 3rd book I got around to in the 7in7readathon (which is still currently going and in which I am doing horrendously at!) and I really don’t think this was the best pick! Purely as this is a book I would’ve rather taken my time with, and not rushed through it in order to get onto the next book, as there’s a lot to think about. But, this was all my own fault so let’s get on with the review!

This is a collection of Spike Milligan’s work, before reading this I only knew of his children’s poetry and that’s why I picked this book up. However, unbeknownst to me he has written so much more in so many different areas and I am so glad to have been exposed to that. He wrote scripts for radio shows and television shows, adult poetry, memoirs from his time during WWII and more. It took me a while to get used to the scripts for the shows but eventually, I was ending up laughing out loud as I read them, like, literally!

His memoirs from the second world war were a surprise, as a lover of this time period, I didn’t even know he had served or that this book was going to contain anything from this era. Some of this was interesting, and some of it was purely heartbreaking to see the causes and effects of PTSD hit a man who shows so much humour and joviality to the outside world.

All these sections are broken up by some of his poetry for children, which I absolutely love! I love the tempo of them, the silliness which makes you smile and the way he makes the words rhyme in order to make you laugh. They are placed very well in order to provide relief from the more serious topics and I purely just find childlike joy from them!

If you want some quintessential, traditional British humour then definitely have a look into this book! I’m looking forward to being able to re-read this at a slower pace some time in the future!

The Name of This Author is Pseudonymous


How can I not pick up a thrift shop find with the author’s name being Pseudonymous Bosch?! Can you blame me? (My bank account blames me)

This is such an interesting concept for a middle-grade read, a book where the drive to read it comes not from an intriguing plotline well explained in a synopsis, but instead, the drive stems from the lack of an explanation for the book’s existence in the first place! I can definitely imagine this blurb drawing in more reluctant readers as it seems mysterious and “cooler” than the average blurb.

The actual writing contained in this book is perfectly aimed at the target audience and is engaging. As an adult, reading this book was still engaging and interesting, although this book is definitely aimed at a younger audience. I don’t think I’ll be carrying on with the series, as I have so many other books to read that are higher in importance for me. However, I believe that if I had found this book when I was 8-11 I would have definitely wanted to continue on in the series.

A really good middle-grade novel which I’ll definitely be saving on my bookshelves for my own children (if I ever have any!).

This Deceitful Light by Jemahl Evans


I was lucky enough to win both This Deceitful Light and the first book in the Blandford Candy series in a Goodreads giveaway. I absolutely fell in love with The Last Roundhead and so was incredibly excited when I found out I’d won This Deceitful Light. I love that both of my editions have been signed by Jemahl Evans with some personalisation too, a really nice addition to a series which has quickly become one of my new favourites.

Read my review of book #1 here!

The second book in this series continues to follow Blandford (Sugar) Candy looking back, in his old age, on his life during the Civil War of Roundheads vs Cavaliers. Find the full synopsis on Goodreads here. We go on a wild ride up and down the length of England, as Captain Candy is sent all over the country on the orders and whims of those higher than him. When he returns to London he finds much of what he expected to come back to changed, with death and worry all around him. He still manages to be our good old Sugar and find some time with the ladies though, many different ladies… some things never change! We encounter Cromwell within this book and see both his gruff and demanding side as well as the softer side that history often forgets, making him appear much more human than the frequently portrayed character would suggest.

As with the first book in this series, all historical events are referenced in the back of the book and there is an enormous wealth of detail to go alongside Candy’s storyline, with extra information included from his sister Anne and from historical accounts of important events he was not part of added in within the chapters in a different font to allow for clear differentiation (definitely loved this bit as the font for the letters is just perfect and the typewriter style for the historical accounts is a good choice).

A beautifully written historical fiction, with enough humour to counteract the death which is an expected companion of a piece set in this time period, but also enough focus on the important moments. I really don’t know why these books aren’t more popular, definitely recommended by me!

Mort and his mortality


As always with The Discworld so far, I’ve really enjoyed this book and the new perspective looking closer into Death’s life, his daughter, his manservant and also his new apprentice Mort. Being able to discover more about Death’s life through the eyes of someone who is also new to the world is really helpful narratively and leaves us confused half the time, which I’m sure is what Terry Pratchett would want! Although the repetitive mentioning of the slow speed of light breaking on the disc was starting to grate on my nerves after the seven-hundredth time (okay I’m exaggerating a little, and it is relevant, but it really didn’t need to be mentioned so often!), I really liked the ending of the book and I’m definitely looking forward to reading the next book in the series and to see what I’ll be told next about the Discworld.

Five come into the 21st Century


As someone who grew up reading all 21 of the original Famous Five books and absolutely loves them, I had been worried about reading any of these bastardised versions as I thought they might be tacky and just very disappointing. I finally took the plunge when I found this book in a charity shop (for 30p, how could I say no for 30p?!) and I ended up really enjoying its silly and fun atmosphere. The four are all portrayed brilliantly, and as you’d imagine they would be if they had grown up without much, if any, character development, and poor Timmy feels very much pushed aside due to the new baby! I can only imagine this book would be even funnier if I had experience looking after a baby myself and I’ll definitely have to go back to it if I ever end up as a mother. Definitely a fun read and I’ll have to read all of them eventually!

The Last Roundhead by Jemahl Evans


I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway, and I really wasn’t sure what to expect as it is the first giveaway I’ve ever won. It was a nice little extra to find a personalised signing and I can tell Jemahl that I definitely did enjoy!

I wasn’t expecting to hugely enjoy this book, bad I know but it isn’t something I’d normally pick up and I just applied on a whim to the giveaway. I am so glad I did because this book was such a good read and so fun! I became comrades with our main character Candy very quickly and I felt that the portrayal of the English Civil War (Roundheads, obviously, vs Cavaliers) was done very realistically, although I don’t know the period in depth.

It is a fast-paced book with many highs, lows, twists and turns which will make you keep turning the pages long after it’s dark outside. I really really hope there will be a sequel written for this book and I have to know more about Candy and his life! Even if it was written from different characters (such as Hurry, Elizabeth or James) just to enjoy this setting more. (EDIT: I’ve just got off my arse and looked and there is! Definitely going onto my tbr!)

All in all, a very well written book and one I’d encourage you to pick up, people of any age can enjoy this book (although there is some crude language, so the younger bracket depends on their personal development) and should give it a shot.