The Blurb

Holy Cow by David Duchovny is a comic delight that will thrill fans of Jasper Fforde and Ben Aaronovitch. And anyone who enjoys a witty wisecrack in a novel.

Else Bovary is a cow and a pretty happy one at that. Until one night, Elsie sneaks out of the pasture and finds herself drawn to the farmhouse. Through the window, she sees the farmer’s family gathered around a bright Box God – and what the Box God reveals about something called an ‘industrial meat farm’ shakes Elsie’s understanding of her world to its core.

The only solution? To escape to a better, safer world. And so a motley crew is formed: Elsie; Shalom, a grumpy pig who’s recently converted to Judaism; and Tom, a suave turkey who can’t fly, but can work an iPhone with his beak. Toting stolen passports and slapdash human disguises, they head for the airport…

Elsie is a wise-cracking, slyly witty narrator; Tom dispenses psychiatric advice in a fake German accent; and Shalom ends up unexpectedly uniting Israelis and Palestinians. David Duchovny’s charismatic creatures point the way toward a mutual understanding and acceptance the world desperately needs.

The Review

Ok. I like cows and I like David Duchovny. Therefore, I felt that a book about a cow by David Duchovny would be right up my street. I have to say, having now read the book, I am a little nonplussed.

For me, there are two ways that you can take this book. One as a serious satire highlighting the injustices in our world and the interspecies prejudices that animals face – an allegory for racism – or you can read it a second way. The second reading of the book would indicate to me that David Duchovny went out one night with a group of friends, got pie-eyed and then started having a drunken conversation which then escalated into this book.

Honestly, I think I prefer the second interpretation.

It is not that Holy Cow isn’t good, it just isn’t for me. It is not a book I connected with and I wasn’t eager to keep on reading it.

Holy Cow by David Duchovny is available now.

Holy Cow

Title: Maggie Does Meribel (Girls on Tour Book 3)

Author: Nicola Doherty

Pages: 62 pages

Synopsis

They say that relationships are made or broken when you go on holiday together. This is the situation that Maggie finds herself in when she and boyfriend Leo go on a group skiing holiday to Meribel. Whilst Maggie knows her relationship with Leo isn’t perfect she does not expect to see how bad things have gotten.

Things go from bad to worse when Maggie embarks on an innocent flirtation with hunky ski instructor Sylvan. Can Maggie and Leo repair their relationship before it is too late?

Review

Maggie Does Meribel has been my favourite of the Girls on Tour series of books. What Nicola Doherty has managed to do (and do very well) is create a realistic story about the pitfalls of any relationship. The way she describes Maggie’s insecurity about rocking the boat when it is damn obvious that Leo is being horrible to her is such an honest account. Haven’t we all felt like that sometimes?

This was especially clever by being juxtaposed with the two other relationships within the story. They showed us, the reader, and Maggie exactly what she was missing.

I think Nicola Doherty has created such a wonderful series of books and each one has its own merits. With Maggie Does Meribel it is the anti-love story that makes it so special. Another massive well done to Nicola Doherty.

Maggie Does Meribel by Nicola Doherty is available now.

You can follow Nicola Doherty (@nicoladoherty_) on Twitter.

Maggie Does Meribel

Synopsis

The lives of three women become intrinsically linked through a set of circumstances beyond their control. The way they handle the changes, the chance encounters and the choices they make all impact their future and how they are seen by others.

Review

Strange Girls and Ordinary Woman is very much a book driven by its characters. It is very languorous in its pace and not very much actually happens. Although, on reflection, a lot actually does; the book is laden with affairs, the sultry and seedy nightlife of the world of stripping, religious integrity, travel yet it all seems very calm and composed – reflective, almost.

However, what is inarguable is the strength of its three leading ladies – Alice, Vic and Kaya. Alice discovers her own strength when the shackles of a loveless marriage make her take stand and account for herself as an individual. Vic learns to stop judging others by the standards that she sets for herself. And Kaya learns to allow herself to be loved – or at least that is the optimistic slant that I am placing on its ambiguous but hopeful ending.

Out of all the characters, it is the chameleon like Kaya who is the most interesting. She is misunderstood by so many of the other characters within the narrative that you genuinely want to protect her and see her get something good from life. It is almost heartbreaking that she seems to hit hurdle after hurdle, life constantly throwing bad things in her way.

Strange Girls and Ordinary Women isn’t a light read but it is effortless in its lyrical style. You do become swallowed up whole by the story and I will admit that I lost myself for a few hours between the pages. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to those who like character driven novels.

Strange Girls and Ordinary Women by Morgan McCarthy is available now.

Strange Girls and Ordinary Women

Synopsis

When Daniel is left by his girlfriend Clara he is understandably pretty miffed; left with just a goodbye note and the dog that they had recently acquired from Battersea Dogs’ and Cats’ Home Dan makes a decision to deal with the hand the life has dealt him. First stop is to return Doggo.

However, when he realises that the animal shelter have to castrate Doggo as a part of their policy, Dan – in an act of male solidarity – decides to keep Doggo. And with this act an unlikely but beguiling friendship blossoms.

Review

I didn’t really expect to like this book. I’m not a dog person and I suppose this has always rendered me extremely unmoved by mans’ relationship with dogs. However, Mills surprised me with Waiting for Doggo. I think I fell a little in love. Yes, Mark B. Mills has done the impossible. Do I like dogs now?

Besides the new warmer feelings I have towards canines I also really enjoyed this story. It was interesting to read a break up story from the male perspective. I think that throughout the years I have read books with a female protagonist who has been hurt by the unsavoury activities of her boyfriend and I have always sided with the girl – ovarian power and all that hoopla. It was interesting to finish a book and think that actually, we girls aren’t necessarily that great either.

I may be reading too much into this but I also liked the parallel between Doggo and Dan. Both were being castrated by their situation. Doggo because he was a dog – no other reason but Dan by all the outside factors – his ex; his new boss; his burgeoning feelings for Edie. It was a clever allegory.

Overall, Waiting for Doggo has been one of my more enjoyable reads of the year. It wasn’t too hefty or taxing. It was just an entertaining read. I give it two hearty thumbs up.

Waiting for Doggo by Mark B. Mills is available now.

Waiting for Doggo

Synopsis

Being part of the Winter clan is something incredibly special. Equally, being part of the Winter clan can be an albatross. The Winter’s, like most families, harbour many dark secrets; stories that they have failed to share. For although they are a close family there are some things that you just keep to yourself.

When Martha Winter, mother and matriarch of the family, calls all her children and grandchildren back to the family home Winterfold everyone is beyond curious. Hidden as an excuse to celebrate Martha’s 80th birthday, the family know that there is more than meets the eye to this party.

The house of Winter is about to be rocked to its very foundations.

Review

The final part in the A Place for Us series is like a giant hug. Over the four instalments we have fallen in love with this family, been saddened by their downfalls, heartened by their love stories, in awe of the strength of the cast of characters and basically come to see them as our extended family.

For me, I felt like I was sharing in their story, that I wasn’t just a reader absorbing the words on the page in front of me, or a fly on the wall secretly observing what was going on. I felt like I was a Winter. That is a really rare talent when a writer can make me feel inclusive of a story and whilst I have no complaints about how this story ended or what happened in the narrative I will admit that I want more. I know this goes against my devotion as a book lover but I would love to see this made into a TV series; I genuinely think it would translate well on screen.

Well done Harriet Evans, once again you did not let me down.

A Place for Us Part Four by Harriet Evans is available now.

You can follow Harriet Evans on Twitter @HarrietEvans

A place for us part four