Category Archives: Humour

Humour

Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto -a review

dial a for auntiesDial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto

‘ARE YOU…DEAD?’
OH MY GOD. I THINK HE IS.
When Meddy Chan accidentally kills her blind date, she turns to her aunties for help. Their meddling set her up on the date so they kind of owe her.

WELL, THAT DIDN’T QUITE GO TO PLAN.
Although hiding this goddamn dead body is going to be harder than they thought especially when her family’s wedding business has THE biggest wedding of the year happening right now.

IT’S PRETTY BAD TIMING REALLY.
It turns out the wedding venue just happens to be managed by Meddy’s ex, aka the one who got away. It’s the worst time to see him again, or…is it? Can Meddy finally find love and make her overbearing family happy?

Published 5 May 2021|  Publisher: Harlequin Australia  |  RRP: AUD$29.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (3 / 5 stars)

One of my most anticipated release of this year and I was so excited to receive it in the mail. My reasoning being is that author is Indonesian and so am I. With protagonist being Indonesian growing up & educated in America, I reckon I could empathise with her a lot and perhaps see quite a bit of myself in her. Only trouble is chick lit isn’t my preferred type of reads… but hey! There’s a mystery spin with a dead body involved; this could totally be fine…

Aaaanddd… it wasn’t. Unfortunately, this book really isn’t one for me which makes me soo soo sad. Even as I can see the appeal for other readers, I basically cringed my way through the whole book. I did manage to finish by reading really really fast through all the embarrassment [I think this shows just how so very Asian I am!] Meddy experienced. I guess the book is a lot funny but of a slapstick-esque nature and I’m just not a big fan of that. If this is your thing though, I’d highly recommend this book.

I loved Meddy as a character and her family especially the mother-daughter relationship. I enjoyed all the familiar things like Indonesian naming conventions, the language barriers between Meddy & her mum & aunts, and Meddy’s struggle of who she is with her family & others (especially with non-Indonesians).

While I like Nathan as the romantic interest, I wasn’t that convinced about this relationship at all. I feel that the funny things with her aunt completely overrode this side of thing and I just didn’t feel any joy for this pairing.

This was just another clash between my expectations and what the book actually delivers. I can see some of my girlfriends loving it but my taste in book is quite different from them so this is also a matter of personal preference. I am, however, looking forward to author’s upcoming MG fantasy novel which suits me to a tee.

My thanks to Harlequin Australia for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website  |  twitter  |  instagramfacebook

Review: The Fifth Letter

the-fifth-letter
The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: paperback copy courtesy of publisher

Do you have a group of best friends? Do they know everything about you or do you think you know all there is to know about each other? I have a group of my own best friends; four of us grew close during high school – almost like Joni, Deb, Eden, & Trina. Like them, 3 of us are married with children and one has just found The One and about to tie the knot in a few months’ time. *sniffs – am so very happy for her*

The beginning of their friendship is almost laughable. It was pointed out to them that they all have 2 things in common: surnames starting with “C” and their star signs (Scorpios). It’s not the silliest thing that have begun deep friendships, of course, but this was the basis that Joni decided that the four of them are meant to be best friends forever. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the most innocent start of the group…

scorpio

Years later, they were still good friends. They see each other regularly and even have girls weekend away sometimes. This weekend though, things rather fell apart. They decided to each write an anonymous letter of secrets to tell each other. It really wasn’t that easy to be anonymous when you know each other well and in addition to that, Joni found a fifth letter with a rather menacing tone. What is she to do with it? Is she supposed to do anything about it?

I really enjoyed the beginning of The Fifth Letter. The stage was being set with Joni finding the letter, her confessional conversation with a Catholic priest (my favourite character), then flashbacks to their teen years. I started smiling on page 3 and found at the end of my train trip, that I still had a wide smile on my face. It wasn’t just funny but the flashbacks also remind me of my own memories of my friends. I didn’t actually like any of these 4 ladies even though I can identify/empathise with all of them in one thing or another. Joni, being the main protagonist and whose perspective we read from, can be very frustrating! She is lovely really but oh, she can be so blind! In saying that, however, I also couldn’t really pick the fifth letter writer. And that precious ending, oh wow, I was literally choking with laughter!

What began as a rather humorous and reminiscing read, this novel took a turn into a dark complex of human emotions. These women each have their own issues which they feel they cannot voice yet that is the first step towards healing. The Fifth Letter engages the reader to look beyond the surface, to check our unrealistic expectations of women and see them as a person, an individual, who is not perfect (no one is perfect) and needs loving supports.

Thank you, Nicola Moriarty, for this novel and the chance to reflect of my own friendships. Like Joni, Deb, Eden, & Trina, I’m sure that we do not know everything about each other and that’s okay… I am certain, however, that none of us harbours any ill will towards anyone in the group 😀

Thank you Harper Collins Publishers Australia for providing paperback copy in exchange of honest review

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Review: I Have a Bed Made of Buttermilk Pancakes

pancakesI Have a Bed Made of Buttermilk Pancakes by Jaclyn Moriarty
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Source: purchased own paperback copy

This was another cover crush for me… I just couldn’t resist hot air balloon on cover, for some reason, and since I loved Jaclyn Moriarty’s The Colours of Madelaine series, I had certain expectations of this book.

As always, there are good reviews and bad though they all agreed that the writing is quirky. The Colours of Madelaine books were quirky and I loved it though I found it hard to sell to my book-club mates (most of them think she tried too hard) so I don’t have an issue with quirkiness. I was really looking forward to this, actually, and as I began reading, really enjoyed it… I even nearly snort-laughed which was a pretty good effort.

I think if you’re not an Aussie and specifically, Sydney-sider, you’d miss the references to ‘Banana Bar’, frozen chocolate coated banana, ‘Pie in the Sky’, etc. But as I happened to be one, I can understand her wistfulness in each of these things and wishing for them too! Time for a family road trip, methinks.

Halfway through the book, however, I started to be disillusioned with the book. Yes, it was fun but oh, there was too many secrets and betrayals that the whole story felt fractured. There is “the secret” which was supposed to be the twist but I didn’t even enjoy it… Did not like “the secret” and it didn’t catch me by surprise either.

On the book cover, this is marketed as “a fairytale for grown-up”. I’m sorry, this isn’t much of a ‘fairytale’… I could not pin point true-love and what was the moral of the story again? Hhhmmm, I’m just not convinced. In summary, as my 1 year old would say, ‘Beh!’

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Review: Sidekick

sidekickSidekick by Auralee Wallace

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Source: eARC courtesy of publisher via NetGalley

A super attractive cover which sort of reminds me of either Batman or Dark Girl; in the superhero sitting on top of high-rise building overlooking the city way. Whilst I myself am a fan of Wonder Woman and used to love watching superheroes movies, I find these days (being inundated with so very many of them) that I’m over it… I’ve not read many though so I thought this might be somewhat different, especially with the Bridget Jones’ aspect thrown over it.

The beginning was, to some extent, enjoyable. Bremy St James was basically like a goldfish taken out of the fish tank and thrown into the ocean. Unless she makes some drastic lifestyle changes, she’ll not survive the first wave. The humour of her fumbling and bumbling, however, quickly wore off and I couldn’t help eye-rolling through the next 70% of the story.

Humour, I find, is something very subjective; that it is very dependant of the person’s taste for humour and each person’s different from the next. Whilst there wasn’t one Laugh-Out-Loud moment for me in Sidekick, this may not be the case for you. There are others who appears to love it though there are also others like myself. This story did not tickle me as funny (much). The heroine annoyed me in a head-banging-on-table way. The villain was stereotypical. No other characters appeal to me personally or were underdevelop… (not sure if this was supposed to be a series?)

I was told that I’m pretty generous when it comes to star ratings hence I rarely ever give a 1-star rating but I also do not give 5-stars rating lightly. These will have to be extreme hatred or love of the book for me. Since I do not particularly hate this book, 2-stars is all I believe it deserves. Sidekick, unfortunately, is just not my cup of tea.

Thank you, Escape Publishing for copy of eARC via NetGalley

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Review: Terms & Conditions

terms & conditionsTerms & Conditions by Robert Glancy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: paperback copy won from Bloomsbury (UK & ANZ) via Goodreads First Reads

I must first admit that I read this book over 3 months ago… ‘twas the last book I read just before I drowned into the hell of nausea (pregnancy induced) so most of what I remembered of this book is tainted by a slight sick feeling in my stomach. oh, the joys of pregnancy!

You probably didn’t read my terms and conditions today, when you bought something off the internet and clicked ‘Agree’; or when you signed blind some contract giving away your rights, your life, a pound of your flesh.
My masterpiece is the work I did on the modern insurance policy. I wrote it fresh out of law school when my brilliance was still radiant. Its genius lies in the fact that it’s unbearably dull. Few can read it all the way through and none ever get to the small print.

And so, I was determined to read ALL small prints (ie. footnotes) that were scattered throughout this book. I must say that whilst it was quite entertaining to begin with, at 90+% of the book, I was struggling to not skip the footnotes. I work in the insurance industry so I understood (mostly) the protagonist’s perspective on the finesse of terms & conditions. And yet, that doesn’t mean that I read ALL the fine prints before I sign away my soul… however, am proud to say that I read all these footnotes!

The novel began with a very brief introduction of Frank Shaw, main protagonist from whose perspective this story is told. The story began as he opened his eyes on the hospital bed following an accident from which he lost his memories. Thus we embarked on an adventure with Frank as he rediscovers himself.

There are a lot of challenges in recovering oneself from the abyss of lost memories; not only doubts of the truth behind his own memories but also the truth of what others are telling you relative to their behaviours towards you. There were many confusions, veiled truths, and subtle nudges pointing to the right exit.

I would recommend a clear mind in reading this novel as the jumps between time periods, memories and stories are mostly quite sudden and the lines are quite blurry. I found the ending to be amusingly ironic after all the mockery made of terms & conditions. Frank is a nice guy but he won’t necessarily finish last.

Thank you, Bloomsbury (UK & ANZ), for providing copy of book via Goodreads. My sincere apologies for delay in writing this review

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Review: The Intern

The InternThe Intern by Gabrielle Tozer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: a self-purchased copy

Aaaah… you know that feeling… that wonderful, warm, cuddly feeling at the end of the novel when you found a big silly smile on your face? Yeah, that’s the one! That’s what The Intern has left me with and I can’t seem to get rid of it.

The story kicks off by talking about boobs and… exposing yourself (accidentally, of course!). What a great start and totally funny. I like the name Josie Browning; it’s just so down to earth and unassuming and that’s just what Josie is. She’s charmingly clumsy, lovable, naïve, considerate and kind. She’s just utterly adorable (despite some moments of frustration although now I’m speaking from an older woman’s perspective! I was probably just as naïve & clumsy as she was, at that age).

The Intern is a very easy read; the everyday English language combined with consistent light humour throughout the book easily makes it to be a read-in-a-single-sitting-book. I love pretty much all the characters here, the nice and the not-so-nice. I can’t say how true a reflection it is of the magazine world although if I have to take a stab, some characters are so stereotypical which is probably part of the humour of this story. The humour really does warm up the heart but the sweet romance will melt it.

There were 2 main instances where Josie frustrated me though that is part of her character which I just can’t understand. One instance was the time she was being so nice and forgiving –maybe this is more of a reflection of my character (rather angry & vengeful in comparison to Josie, I suppose)… Then there are also 2 more serious themes which I wish were explored deeper. These issues affected many teens out there and I believe would make great components to the book.

The Intern is a delightful debut by Gabrielle Tozer and I have really enjoyed this light innocent contemporary read (which is different to my usual reads). I’m looking forward to the sequel!

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Review: Green Eggs and Ham

eggsGreen Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: Own Copy

I just adore this book. It’s a great book to read aloud to your child with a terrific theme to end it all.

If you’ve read Dr. Seuss then you know how wacky his stories are. If you haven’t, then you’d either love it or hate it. There were some strange bits in this book but then again, you need the words to rhyme and to appeal to children at the same time. It’s great to read this aloud with all the repetitions as your child/ren can chime in as they got into it. They would absolutely love this.

The theme is to try foods you don’t think you’d like at all because hey, you might just love it after all. I’m sure all parents out there will know just how tough it is sometimes to get your children to try something new. This is one fun way to drill it into their little heads 😉

I have an issue with the colour choice though; why green? Why not blue or purple or yellow…? I keep thinking it’s a mouldy eggs & ham and it’s just wrong… In any case, my son doesn’t know anything about mouldy food yet so he’s loving it.

Challenges read for:

ScatterShelves -January

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Review: Currawong Creek

currawongCurrawong Creek by Jennifer Scoullar
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: Copy courtesy of Penguin Australia via The Reading Room

I am trying to think of whether I’ve ever read any Aussie rural romance type of books prior to Currawong Creek and I can’t think of even one title! I think I’ve a number of them on my to-read list on GR but for one reason or another I’ve not read any of them. I have to thank Anna from The Reading Room for her generous offers to date , including this book. Sometimes, I decided to take the plunge (like this time) and enjoyed the read enormously.

The appeal was twofolds. The cover which depicts a woman in a slim black dress walking bare feet in a rural Australian setting –just gorgeous background and I love the contrast! The blurb about Clare finding “herself the unlikely guardian of a small, troubled boy”. This calls to my maternal instinct and I really wanted to find out whether that boy found the help he needed. I know, I didn’t really read it for the ‘romance’ still… I enjoy romance in all forms!

It was an easy book to get into; Clare, a Brisbane lawyer, was finding life to be lacking. Whatever it’s lacking, she’s not quite sure because she’s doing well career-wise and she’s even got a good looking and successful boyfriend. She’s just going with the flow… This side of Clare was so easily identifiable that she’s caught my interest very early in the story. When she found herself responsible for a little boy, she tried to keep living her life as before but (as all mothers will know) this was a disaster. Clare found herself thinking of her childhood and turned to Currawong Creek where she herself had some happy memories.

Currawong Creek was a heart-warming story that calls to your nurturing soul (I’m not just talking about the little boy here), of finding home where one’s soul and body belongs, and of course, no story is complete without loss, forgiveness, and love. I devoured this book in no time at all as I really didn’t want to put it down. It was such a comfort read and whilst, the ending was a little choppy and slightly rushed for my liking, I still found myself happy, relaxed, and content when I closed the book. The best bits of the book for me though was the light humours peppered throughout the story; one of which I will close with…

Clare climbed the tree. She didn’t quite know how she did it. One minute she was standing on the ground, rigid with fear. Next minute she was astride a broad branch, peering down like a possum, with the heeler leaping and snapping below. There was no risk of falling. She was wrapped around that trunk so tight it was like she was welded on. Getting down, on the other hand, might present some problems.

Thank you Penguin Australia via The Reading Room for providing copy of book

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Q&A with Steve Worland +Giveaway

worland'

I met Steve at Supanova Sydney earlier this year and when I became his ‘fan’ on GR, he actually remembered me.  I was never better pleased 🙂  This is a very exciting opportunity for a Q&A and he has also offered to giveaway a signed copy of his new release (lucky you!!).  Without further ado, I present…. Steve Worland!!

What does the ultimate ‘bad guy’ look like to you?  What defines this person as the ultimate ‘bad-guy’?  [can be in fiction or reality]

vaderFor me the ultimate fictional bad guy must have a believable, personal motivation. You must feel some empathy with him or her, no matter how bad what they are doing may be — and it needs to be pretty bad. If the villain’s motivation is not believable, or doesn’t ring true to the character, the story won’t engage the reader. Also, the bad guy and the good guy are usually the characters who are closest to each other in personality type. When I write them I should believe that if things had been different for either of them they could be in the other’s shoes. The perfect example of this is Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader.

In both Velocity and Combustion, weapons of mass destruction are being employed by highly motivated terrorists. If you were in a position where you are the one person to stop the world from being destroyed, what would you do?  What would your first reaction be?  Sometimes I think reading books like this should equip you for this type of impossible mission – after all, the author has done all the research, right?  All you need to do is recall, apply, and execute.  Would you feel equipped from the research & writing you’ve done so far?

The characters in my books tend to be making it up as they go along, trying their best but not always succeeding, and I think that’s how it would be for me. I would try to rise to the occasion, utilise what I remember, and whatever specific skill set I might have, and give it a go — without knowing if I will be successful or not. That’s why I write my characters the way I do. To me it’s much more interesting to write an ‘everyman’ who is unsure of what course of action to take but will give it a go rather than a ‘superhero’ who has all the answers and knows exactly what to do.

Have you ever experienced writers’ block? If so, what have you done to break through this frustrating period?

I do get it occasionally. The best way to overcome writers block is to: a) keep writing, even if it’s terrible. I often find if I am blocked on something I just write until something resonates and starts to flow. Then I keep going for as long as I can, then go back and rewrite the part that was terrible. Prose never comes out perfectly formed so, to me, good writing is rewriting. Also, b) it can help to read or watch something that you love, and think is good, to inspire you. After you’ve done that something interesting usually occurs which will pull you out of the slump.

I think your book covers are great – the explosion on Combustion definitely attracts the male species (my husband for example though he’s not a reader, I’m trying to get him there yet!) but I’m finding it hard to sell to my girlfriends.  What would you say to appeal to the female readers who would normally walk pass the exploding cover at the shops?

I’m so glad you like the covers but I can not take any credit for them! Covers are absolutely the domain of the publisher and they have very specific ideas about what does and does not work for the readers they are targeting. I can throw in the occasional idea but that’s about it. All I can say to people is don’t judge a book by it’s cover, or back cover blurb for that matter. Open it up, read the prose and see if you are excited by the writing and engaged with the characters, then make a decision on whether the story is worth your time. Good writing can make any subject interesting.

Please share with us the man behind the Author Steve Worland (eg. What defines you as a person, what are you like at home / at your most comfortable zones, what do you do when you’re angry, etc)

Like so many White Anglo Saxon Protestants I’m defined by my work! My wife has been able to beat a bit of that out of me over the years, as has my daughter, but I’m definitely a guy who loves work. I have to really psych myself up for vacations and holidays, though I’m getting better at it. To relax my wife and daughter enjoy action adventure movies as much as I do so we try to see one a week if possible. I love to read but when you’re writing all the time you want to get away from it if you have a little time off. Having said that, I am reading, and enjoying, ‘Telegraph Road’ at the moment. The TV shows my wife and I watch tend to have great writing — ‘Mad Men’, ‘Breaking Bad’, ‘Dexter’, ‘Modern Family’, ‘Downton Abbey’, ‘True Blood’, ‘The Killing’ and a pair of fantastic new ones called ‘Ray Donovan’ and ‘Banshee’. I don’t actually get upset very often, more often with myself if I don’t do something as well as I think I can.

What are your 3 greatest fears?

Making sure my family is healthy and happy is the most important single thing in my life. After that, making sure I live up to my potential is something I do think about now and then. And finally, I do despair for the fate of the planet on occasion, so I try to do my bit to make it better whenever possible.

A quick fun one – can we get a picture of the view from your office where you write? Or a view of your office?

I do write in my office occasionally, but now, with the advent of mobile devices and the ‘cloud’, I can write anywhere and everywhere, and that often means while waiting to pick children up after activities. Having said that here’s a pic from my office window. You can just see the Harbour Bridge in the distance!

worland office***Soooo totally jealous of this view!!!***

Thank you so much for your time, Steve!  For sharing a bit about yourself and your writing with us. You can find Steve at: website, goodreads, twitter, and facebook.

combustionAs mentioned at the beginning of the post, Steve is kindly providing a signed copy of his new release, Combustion, to giveaway here.  Check out the blurb on Goodreads and also my review.

If you’d like to enter, please leave a comment confirming your AU residence and who your ultimate bad guy is and why.

Please note: Giveaway is limited to AU only (apologies INT peeps but postage is prohibitive). Please leave your email address in the form where it is required but not in the body of your comment.  I will draw the winner next week (midday of Sat, 17 August 2013 – Sydney time).

Review: The First Third

first thirdThe First Third by Will Kostakis

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Source: courtesy of Penguin Teen Australia through a Live Event

This books hurts me. Seriously. Physically. Hurts. Me. Lesson learnt: Do Not Read this book when you are sick because:
1. Laughter will turn to a coughing fit which hurt your chest and will earn you the dirtiest looks from your fellow commuters;
2. Staying up to finish reading end up with bucketload of tears [did I mention that I also suffer from over-sensitive tearducts?] which as a result completely blocked my nose passages and followed by the worst-head-pounding-headache from lack of oxygen…
So… I barely had any rest that day and couldn’t sleep at night because this book is one that will stay with you for a long time. Forgiveness was easily granted 

Billy Tsiolkas is in Year 12 when his yiayia (grandmother) handed him a list of 3 things she’d like him to do. They are not, in any way, easy to do as it required him to find happiness for the 3 members of his immediate family (mother and 2 brothers) and to keep them together as a family. Even though he struggled with what to do with this list, his yiayia evidently saw something in him when she passed the torch to him, or rather the “gluestick”. She expected him to keep the family together as she has been doing, when she is no longer around. This is a big ask even for an adult but Billy found that he does want his family to stick together and he will give up even his one chance at making it big for this.

Reaching out to teenage boys aren’t easy. I lead a Year 10 group at church and bar 1, I would be so very lucky to get a grunt or a one word response from them. Amazingly though, they are not so reticent online. LOL. The point is that Billy truly has his work cut out for him. He found support in his best friend, Lucas (Sticks), and a girl whose grandfather shared a room with his yiayia at the hospital. With their ideas and backup, he managed to set up his mum on a date, checked up on his brother online public profile, and entrapped his younger brother to be in a room with him for one whole night.

The language is easy to understand and will appeal to all generations. Sentences are pretty short and direct with humour being delivered sharply to hit you in the right spot. The First Third is light reading in terms language but will have you clutching your stomach in hilarity (or in my case, my chest –see above) and tears will sneak out without you realising that the story has truly touch the deepest part of your heart. The only thing missing to make this a full experience for me is a recipe of yiayia’s moussaka! I was totally teary and salivating at the same time 😉

Thank you, Penguin Teen Australia, for providing copy of book through your Live Event

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