Title: Murder on a School Night

Author: Kate Weston

Pages: 384 Pages

Publisher: Electric Monkey

The Blurb

There’s never a good time to find a dead body. But finding a dead body while you’re trying to kiss your crush?

Dead awkward.

All Kerry wants to do is stay at home with her rom-coms and strict retainer schedule. Instead, her BFF Annie has roped her into going to their first sixth-form party to investigate who’s cyberbullying Heather, the most popular girl in school.

On the cusp of kissing her dreamy crush, Scott, Kerry discovers the body of Heather’s second in command – suffocated with a menstrual cup. Within days, another student turns up dead, this time with a sanitary pad across the eyes. Now Annie and Kerry are officially on the case to stop the menstrual murderer . . . period.

The Review

I am a fan of Kate Weston. I read her Diary of a Confused Feminist a few years ago and I laughed a lot. Weston writes like a modern day Louise Rennison and creates brilliant female characters.

In her new story Murder on a School Night, best friends Kerry and Annie set about trying to solve a local murder and outwit the inept police. However, trying to solve crime and survive high school isn’t that easy.

Murder on a School Night is a laugh-out-loud hilarious book that does not hold back on the teenage vernacular – this book does not patronise its readers.

A brilliant story!

Murder on a School Night by Kate Weston is available now.

For more information regarding Kate Weston (@kateeliweston) please visit her Twitter page.

Title: Are We Having Fun Yet?

Author: Lucy Mangan

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Serpent’s Tail

The Blurb

Meet Liz: all she wants is some peace and quiet so she can read a book with her cat Henry, love of her life, by her side. But trampling all over this dream is a group of wild things also known as Liz’s family. Namely:

Richard – a man, a husband, no serious rival to Henry.

Thomas – their sensitive seven year old son, for whom life is a bed of pain already.

Evie – five year old acrobat, gangster, anarchist, daughter.

And as if her family’s demands (Where are the door keys? Are we made of plastic? Do ‘ghost poos’ really count?) weren’t enough, Liz must also contend with the madness of parents, friends, bosses, and at least one hovering nemesis. Are We Having Fun Yet? is a year with one woman as she faces all the storms of modern life (babysitters, death, threadworms) on her epic quest for that holy grail: a moment to herself.

The Review

What an absolutely joyous read. Lucy Mangan’s debut novel Are We Having Fun Yet? looks at the mundanities of everyday life and oddly in doing so she celebrates them too.

Are We Having Fun Yet? follows a year in the life of Liz as she notes down the humdrum in her diary. The dishwasher breaking, school events, yummy mummy spats, visits to the grandparents all feature in this epistolary tale. You get the sense that Liz is a little let down by life and she expected a lot more from it. The question of “is this it?” remains unspoken but lingers in each chapter.

We see pure joy when Liz is with her friends and see the person who she was before life, family, marriage and mortgages got in the way. It was funny seeing the contrast but the overall message that I took from Are we Having Fun Yet? is that while Liz feels like she is no longer the person she was and is sometimes dissatisfied with the person she is now she is really an amalgamation of them both and whilst the every day doesn’t seem exciting, contentment shouldn’t be sniffed at.

Are we Having Fun Yet? is a cracking read that will leave you with a smile on your face and will have you laughing out loud.

Are We Having Fun Yet? by Lucy Mangan is available now.

For more information regarding Lucy Mangan (@LucyMangan) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Serpent’s Tail (@serpentstail) please visit www.serpentstail.com.

Title: Let’s Do It – The Authorised Biography of Victoria Wood

Author: Jasper Rees

Pages: 368 Pages

Publisher: Trapeze

The Blurb

‘I was born with a warped sense of humour and when I was carried home from being born it was Coronation Day and so I was called Victoria but you are not supposed to know who wrote this anyway it is about time I unleashed my pent-up emotions in a bitter comment on the state of our society but it’s not quite me so I think I shall write a heart-warming story with laughter behind the tears and tears behind the laughter which means hysterics to you Philistines…’

From ‘Pardon?’ by Vicky Wood, Aged 14. Bury Grammar School (Girls) Magazine, 1967

In her passport Victoria Wood listed her occupation as ‘entertainer’ – and in stand-up and sketches, songs and sitcom, musicals and dramas, she became the greatest entertainer of the age. Those things that might have held her back – her lonely childhood, her crippling shyness and above all the disadvantage of being a woman in a male-run industry – she turned to her advantage to make extraordinary comedy about ordinary people living ordinary lives in ordinary bodies. She wasn’t fond of the term, but Victoria Wood truly was a national treasure – and her loss is still keenly felt.

Victoria had plenty of stories still to tell when she died in 2016, and one of those was her own autobiography. 

‘I will do it one day,’ she told the author and journalist Jasper Rees. ‘It would be about my childhood, about my first few years in showbusiness, which were really interesting and would make a really nice story.’ 

That sadly never came to pass, so Victoria’s estate has asked Jasper Rees, who interviewed her more than anyone else, to tell her extraordinary story in full. He has been granted complete and exclusive access to Victoria’s rich archive of personal and professional material, and has conducted over 200 interviews with her family, friends and colleagues – among them Victoria’s children, her sisters, her ex-husband Geoffrey Durham, Julie Walters, Celia Imrie, Dawn French, Anne Reid, Imelda Staunton and many more. 

What emerges is a portrait of a true pioneer who spoke to her audience like no one before or since.

bVictoria Wood is one of Britain’s best loved comediennes. I say ‘is’ because whilst she passed away she is still lauded as one of the best by both her peers and her audience today. She gave us such gems as Acorn Antiques, Two Soups and of course Let’s Do It – The Ballad of Barry and Freda (still one of my all time favourite things ever) however behind the camera Victoria Wood was an intensely private person. Those who knew her well tell us all about the person behind the performer in this in depth and wonderfully written biography.

The Review

Victoria Wood is one of Britain’s best loved comediennes. I say ‘is’ because whilst she passed away she is still lauded as one of the best by both her peers and her audience today. She gave us such gems as Acorn Antiques, Two Soups and of course Let’s Do It – The Ballad of Barry and Freda (still one of my all time favourite things ever) however behind the camera Victoria Wood was an intensely private person. Those who knew her well tell us all about the person behind the performer in this in depth and wonderfully written biography by Jasper Rees.

I should start by saying that Victoria Wood is not glorified in this biography. In fact, some of the more unpleasant facets of her personality are highlighted – in particular her grueling work ethic that she expected others to adhere to and also making her friends the butt of her jokes. However, all of those who worked with her are quick to say how talented and how generous she was with her comedy, often relegating herself to the lesser role and giving the more memorable zingers to her fellow cast member. Jasper Rees paints a picture of a woman who knew she had the power to make people laugh and she knew what she wants from her work and her fellow colleagues. He has taken the life of a brilliant woman and brought her back into the public conscience.

Whatever you think of Victoria Wood it is inarguable that she pathed the way for women in comedy and that her humour had a firm finger on the pulse of contemporary Britain. It is no wonder she is still adored and sorely missed.

Let’s Do It: The Authorised Biography of Victoria Wood by Jasper Rees is available now.

For more information regarding Jasper Rees (@JasperRees) please visit www.facebook.com/fredaandbarry

For more information regarding Trapeze (@TrapezeBooks) please visit www.instagram.com/trapeze_books/

Title: Bunny Vs Monkey Book One

Author: Jamie Smart

Pages: 256 Pages

Publisher: David Fickling Books

The Blurb

This brand new remastered book collects together Bunny vs Monkey 1: Let the Mayhem Begin and Bunny vs Monkey 2: Journey to the Centre of the Eurg-th for the first time. Smaller easy-to-read format! 256 hilarious pages! FAST AND FURRY-OUS! 

Welcome to the woods. It’s chaos in there! Bunny and his friends Weenie the Squirrel, Pig (the pig), Action Beaver and Skunky the Inventor lived a peaceful life in the forest – until Monkey’s rocket crash-landed and he decided to take over! Now Monkey is causing mayhem, Bunny is determined to put a stop to it, and… what’s that? It’s an out of control shark tank, ruining a lovely picnic! 

Join bestselling comics sensation Jamie Smart for this hilarious collection of stories, available in a new chunky format!

(Amazon Blurb)

The Review

Oh I haven’t chuckled this much in ages. Bunny Vs Monkey is a graphic novel about the acrimonious relationship between a bunny and a monkey. Monkey believes he has been sent to another planet to colonise the land. Little does he know is that the scientists who sent him away didn’t quite reach outer space and his is in fact still on earth in the woods. 

The relationship between Bunny and Monkey is brilliant. It is like Roadrunner and Wiley Coyote yet they both have more elements of Wiley Coyote than anyone. Along with a colourful cast of characters such as Pig, Weenie the Squirrel and Skunk and my personal favourite – Le Fox – this graphic novel is chock full of silliness and I, for one, salute the silliness.

A brilliant distraction from life, Bunny vs Monkey is a must read for anyone who loves a good laugh.

Bunny Vs Monkey Book One by Jamie Smart is available now,

For more information regarding David Fickling Books (@DFB_storyhouse) please visit www.davidficklingbooks.com.

Title: The Daily Struggles of Archie Adams (Aged 2 1/2)

Author: Katie Kirby

Pages: 304 Pages

Publisher: Quercus

The Blurb

In this wickedly funny follow up to Hurrah for Gin, one opinionated toddler gives his no-holds-barred account of family life.

Life is hard for Archie. It often seems like the world is out to get him. People are always telling him what to do… “Eat your snack, Archie!, “Don’t lick the bus stop, Archie,” “Stop putting Mommy’s phone in the garbage, Archie!”

And then one day his heart is shattered when he learns his parents are to replace him with a younger sibling–the utter bastards!

The only comforts he finds are in his best friend Amelie, who teaches him all the good swear words, and the sweet relief he gets from sinking his teeth into other people’s limbs.

From naked protests to dealing with other people looking at YOUR THINGS!, this is a no-holds-barred account of life told through the eyes of Archie–a creatively stifled, modern day toddler.

Sunday Times bestseller Hurrah for Gin has delighted fans with its honest, emotional and laugh-out-loud accounts of parenting. Brilliantly illustrated with Katie Kirby’s unique stick-figure drawings and told in the same outrageously funny way, The Daily Struggles of Archie Adams, Aged 2 1/4 once again takes on the highs and lows of family life, this time with one opinionated toddler having his say. 

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

Katie Kirby is back with the laugh out loud tales of Archie Adams. Once again, Kirby explores the difficulties of adulthood by looking through the eyes of a toddler. 

Again, Kirby’s writing is funny because it is relatable. I don’t have a child but I saw many of the same qualities in Archie that my niece had – contrariness about plate colour being one of them.

With her really funny illustrations to accompany the story The Daily Struggles of Archie Adams is a tonic.

The Daily Struggles of Archie Adams (Aged 2 1/2) by Katie Kirby is available now.

For more information regarding Katie Kirby (@hurrahforgin) please visit www.hurrahforgin.com.

For more information regarding Quercus (@QuercusBooks) please visit the Twitter page.