Hello! Here is what I have been reading these last few weeks:
Tales of Terror from the Tunnel’s Mouth by Chris Priestley
A boy is put on a train by his stepmother to make his first journey on his own. But soon that journey turns out to be more of a challenge than anyone could have imagined as the train stalls at the mouth of a tunnel and a mysterious woman in white helps the boy while away the hours by telling him stories – stories with a difference.
Ever since ‘Are You Afraid of the Dark?’ I have always enjoyed good scary stories, and Tales of Terror is a great fast-paced book full of creepy and unnerving short stories. I guess it is really young adult/ teenage fiction but I enjoyed it all the same.
The tales about the Greenhouse and Sister Victoria were particularly chilling, leaving lasting images that I struggle to shake out of my mind. The illustrations throughout are fantastic and the whole mix is a bit like Tim Burton meets Roald Dahl meets something new and very old all at once.
If you enjoy a ghost story round a camp fire you should read this.
The Table of Less Valued Knights by Marie Phillips
Sir Humphrey du Val of the Table of Less Valued Knights – Camelot’s least prestigious table, with one leg shorter than the others so that it has to be propped up with a folded napkin – doesn’t do quests … until he meets Elaine, a damsel in distress with a secret to hide.
Meanwhile, Queen Martha of Puddock is on the run from an arranged marriage to the odious Prince Edwin of Tuft. But an encounter with the Locum of the Lake (standing in for the full-time Lady) leaves her with a quest of her own: to find her missing brother, long believed dead.
The two quests collide, introducing a host of Arthurian misfits, including a freakishly short giant, a twelve-year-old crone, an amorous unicorn, and a magic sword with a mind of her own.
Taking a leap into Monty Python silliness The Table of Less Valued Knights is a lot of fun. It’s daft, fast-paced and colourful. It was a breath of fresh air to read, it never took itself too seriously and at the same time had some characters that quietly won over your affection.
For me the stand out point comes in the closing chapters as Phillips seamlessly weaves together all the strands of her silly epic to create an ending that is actually satisfying all around and still leaves the door open for your favourite characters to continue on with an assortment of adventures. It’s funny how many books at the moment leave with a disappointing ending, but this just wraps everything together wonderfully. You feel like you are rewarded as a reader for seeing the adventure through.
It left me smiling, which is a great thing for a book to do.
A Night in with Audrey Hepburn by Lucy Holliday
Unlucky in love, failed actress Libby Lomax has retreated into the world of classic movies, where the immortal lives of the screen goddesses offer so much more in the way of romance than her own life.
After a terrible day on the set of a cult TV sci-fi series where she has proved herself to be the antithesis of feminine poise and embarrassed herself in front of heartthrob actor Dillon O’Hara, she plonks herself down in front of her trillionth viewing of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Relaxing on her battered old couch, salvaged from the props department by her best friend Olly, Libby is gob smacked to find actual Screen Icon, Audrey Hepburn, sitting beside her. Dressed in her little black dress, wearing her trademark sunglasses, Audrey proffers advice to the hapless Libby between ladylike puffs on her vintage cigarette holder.
And so, Audrey becomes Libby’s confidante and friend – but has Libby got what it takes to turn her life from a Turkey to a Blockbuster? With a little bit of Audrey Hepburn magic, she might just pull it off…
Chick-Lit is my guilty pleasure, Breakfast at Tiffany’s is my no-guilt pleasure so I had no hesitation in adding this to my pile of books last time I popped into the library.
Ok, the good stuff first. I read this very quickly, maybe two days and I did enjoy the ride. The book has a good pace and is pretty easy reading. I love the premise of the book and share Libby’s love of classic Hollywood movies.
The drawback is that it does follow every chick-lit cliche religiously; you’ve got your sexy badboy, your true love hidden in form of best friend/brotherly figure, a self-involved sibling, lousy parents, failure at a job only to discover that the quirky crafty hobby she does for fun could actually be the key to instant success and happiness.
Also the book is the first in a part three series so instead of really resolving anything you are left with a set up to book two; a night in with Marilyn. Which I might read if I come across it but I don’t feel an urgent need to find out what happens next.
Basically I enjoyed the book for what it is, a piece of light entertainment with a happy dose of nostalgia.
Next on my reading list:
The Herring in the Library by L.C. Tyler – Just finished the first couple of chapters and its really making me chuckle!
To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee – really getting the itch to reread this classic. It’s been a couple of years since I last picked it up.