Category: Hilarious books

Book Review: The Last Speaker of Skalwegian by David Gardner

I have so many good things to say about “The Last Speaker of Skalwegian” that I’m not even sure where to start. How about this: I’ve already added this book to my list of nominations for my Top 10 of 2022 list. There are only four books on the list so far, so that’s saying something!

Why did I love “The Last Speaker of Skalwegian” so much? First, because it’s unique. I’m always drawn to books that offer me something different and unusual, and this one definitely fits the bill. It tells the story of Lenny, a quirky college professor who is helping his friend document the almost-dead language of the Skalwegian people. While this may not sound like a delightful premise for a novel, I can assure you that it truly is.

Lenny is the perfect character to headline the story. I loved every single peek into the inner workings of his mind that that author shared with us. His backstory is interesting, and I felt that it helped me understand the man Lenny has become by the start of the book. His development during the course of the story is interesting, and I was pleased with where he ended up. I adored Lenny so much that I’d happily read a sequel, even if nothing much happens in it. I just want to learn more about Lenny and his linguistics projects, present and future.

Other characters, particularly Daniella, Charlie, and Henri, add humor and life to the story. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention The Widow Bahr and Angel Warrior/Warbler…this pair were both hilarious and (ultimately) quite useful. Of course, there were also the “love to hate” characters like Dean Sheepslappe, Luther, and Elspeth. Without them, there wouldn’t have been a story, and each brought their own special brand of dislike-ability to the table.

The story itself was wonderful. Although I would happily read about Lenny and Company in any scenario, I very much enjoyed the Skalwegian plotline, along with the question of Charlie’s inheritance and the various dangers that come into play for the characters. By the last few chapters, I knew I wouldn’t be able to put the book down until I knew how everything ended up. Thankfully, the author gave us a solid conclusion that left me feeling happy for everyone, but sad that the story was over.

I also enjoyed Mr. Gardner’s clever naming of certain characters, which called to mind the genius that is Jasper Fforde. Throw in some Forrest-Gump-ish moments where things happen around our hero to which he is mostly oblivious, and perhaps you can begin to understand why I was so delighted to have had the chance to read this book.

Five out of five chunks of the most perfect sharp Cheddar!

Book Review: The Matinee Murders by Jeannette de Beauvoir

I have to start this review by saying that this is one of my favorite cozy mystery series. I don’t say that for every book, in every review, either. I have three favorite series, and this is one of them.

A huge part of what makes this series so great is main character Sydney Riley. She has an interesting job as an event planner at a local inn, and also manages to get herself involved in solving crimes on a regular basis. But the best part about Sydney is that she is HILARIOUS! While she usually manages to remain professional and appropriate with others, her snarky inner dialog is funny enough to make me laugh out loud. Sydney is not your typical sweet, soft-spoken cozy heroine, politely looking for clues. She dives into everything head first, and will make you laugh along with her.

Another fabulous aspect of this book is the underlying theme of diversity and inclusiveness. This particular book featured a wedding with two grooms (one of them VERY famous), and as Sydney (and the reader) get to know the less-famous man and learn his story, he becomes a compelling character in his own right. Important to note: the diversity themes NEVER come across as preachy or heavy-handed. The book just happens to be set in a place that embraces everyone, and I love reading about it.

The mystery itself was intriguing. I had several theories along the way, including one I was very happy to be wrong about, as I really liked the character I suspected. I enjoyed unraveling the many clues (and being side-tracked by red herrings) along with Sydney. I figured out the actual solution about the same time she did, which means right at the end. Of course, everything was explained and made perfect sense at that point.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention Sydney’s friend Mirela. If you’re a returning reader, you’ll be surprised with some of the developments with her. To avoid spoilers, let’s just say that I’m looking forward to the next book every bit as much to see what the future looks like for Mirela as to find out what happens in Sydney’s life. I think the two of them will have quite the time going forward! (If you’re new to the series, you’ll quickly find a new literary friend in Mirela, I promise.)

Five out of five giants chunks of yummy Pepper Jack cheese!

Book Review: What We Found in the Corn Maze and How It Saved a Dragon by Henry Clark

“What We Found in the Corn Maze and How It Saved a Dragon” by Henry Clark is an absolutely wonderful book! I’ll admit upfront that I am a good bit older than the target demographic, but I enjoyed it every bit as much as my son. We actually made quite a game of stealing it back and forth from each other to read the next part!

What I Loved:
1. The plot! It was lots of fun, with quirky magic, entertaining characters, and great world-building, both in the regular world and in the parallel magical one.

2. The characters! The main characters were well-drawn and believable. It’s nice to see middle-school-aged kids portrayed as clever, loyal, and caring. In real life, most of them are, and it’s nice to see something other than the complete brats that usually populate books and tv shows. Modesty’s quirky family (who are mostly off-screen) are described well enough to provide plenty of laughter for the reader. A spin-off book along the lines of “Modesty and Her Sisters Shop at the Mall” could be hilarious! Regardless, kudos to the author for getting middle school kids just right!

3. The subtle humor! Yes, there was plenty of not-so-subtle humor, which I also enjoyed. But how can you NOT love a magical world in which people enjoy reading about “Mary Potter, Girl Scientist”?

4. The positive messaging! In a real world full of doom and gloom, it’s nice to see a book that shows kids using their brains, working together, and actually making a difference. I loved how they made the “Magical Minutes” work for them, despite the apparent uselessness of some of the spells. The “take-care-of-the-environment” and “stand-up-to-bullies-even-if-they’re-the-ones-in-charge” messages were also timely and age-appropriate.

Overall, I 100% loved this book. I recommend it to everyone, regardless of age or ability to enjoy stories about magical-doorways-in-refrigerators.

Five out of five extra-large chunks of Monterey Jack!