Category: Humor

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 Love Hex (or Nicest Flings in Mexico) by Mike Meier

I can honestly say that I LOVED “The Love Hex (or Nicest Flings in Mexico)”. It was a delightful mix of historical fiction, romance, magical realism, and comedy. Add in a healthy does of plain good storytelling, and you have a book I’d highly recommend to anyone.

The book mainly focuses on Rose, an American woman who visits Mexico in 1929 in search of a hot springs cure for some medical issues. She brings along her best friend Alice, who is trying to cope with her husband’s death. The pair quickly meet some attractive young men, and romance (as well as hilarity) ensues. I won’t spoil the ending, but suffice it to say that everyone winds up where he or she belongs in the end. Rose and Miguel, as the lead characters, are very well-drawn and detailed. The reader learns a great deal about their personal histories, dreams, and goals. The more I got to know these characters, the more I was eager to see what happened next for them, and to find out where they ended up.

I’d be remiss not to mention a couple of side characters who added a great deal to the story:

  1. Maria, Miguel’s younger sister. This young lady has a lot going on in her life, and she is absolutely in charge! She added a special spark to the overall story, and I’d be thrilled to see a spin-off book following her character as she grows up (and quite possibly takes over the world).
  2. The curandera, or local medicine woman/witch. A typical scam artist…or is she? She absolutely steals all the scenes she’s in.
  3. Diego, Ramiro’s dog with unique markings. Or possibly his brother. Maybe both? Regardless, I especially enjoyed any scene in which Diego made an appearance.

Black and white drawings are interspersed throughout the book. I enjoyed these, and found they added greatly to my mental pictures of the characters and places.

As usual, author Mike Meier has created a unique, fabulously enjoyable book that grabbed my attention from the beginning and kept it until the last page.

Five out of five extra-large chunks of ultra-peppery Pepper Jack!