Creature Comforts by Trisha Ashley

Trisha Ashley is a British author of humorous romantic fiction.  She has published more than 15 novels, a number of which have been top sellers, and she has also been nominated for numerous awards.

CreatureComfortsCreature Comforts follows the main character Izzy as she breaks off her engagement to her fiancé and moves back to her childhood home.  Izzy has had a difficult life, her parents are deceased so she was brought up by an aunt, and when she was 15 she was involved in a fatal car crash.  As her childhood home is also a small village, the repercussions of the accident were widespread and by moving home Izzy has to come to terms with the crash that was nearly 20 years ago.  Whilst trying to settle back home and confront her past, her life is also turned upside down with the arrival of a mysterious man.

I have to admit, I struggled writing this review, mainly because I struggled with the book itself.  I found it a slow storyline, and it seemed to be rather dragged out in the beginning.  I also didn’t really relate or like any of the characters until I was over half way through the book.

There seemed to be lots of irrelevant storylines in the background, which detracted from the main plot, and it appeared that every character had to be extraordinary in some way rather than a ‘normal’ character who you would meet in real life, which made it even more difficult to find believable.

I persevered and over half way through the book the characters seemed more likeable (maybe because Ashley has explained their background more and we can understand why they are the way they are?) and relatable. I did find myself enjoying the last half, even though I didn’t feel any suspense as it was obvious what happened in the crash, but watching it all unfold was rather interesting.

This is not a book that I would recommend to family or friends, however I am hopeful that this is simply a bad book for a new reader of the author to start with. Ashley does have a good fan base with readers who eagerly wait for her next novel, so I will look to see which of her releases is most popular and try that.

(Thank you to Harper Collins and NetGalley for my copy of the book)

Police, Crime & 999 by John Donoghue

John Donoghue has had a variety of jobs in the past including sailor and soldier, and is currently working as a policeman (and obviously an author). (I will admit that I have found myself wondering if he is starting up his own ‘Village People’ tribute band, is construction worker his next job of choice?)

PoliceCrime999Police, Crime & 999 is Donoghue’s second book (the first being Shakespeare My Butt), but his first about being a police officer. It runs through a number of incidents and events that occurred during his first year at ‘Sandford’. There are an increasing number of nonfiction books out there that are based on the jobs people have where they have to deal with the public, from people who have worked in the police, to paramedics, and GPs. With the other books out there, why decide to read this one? The simple answer? Because it’s brilliant.

I feel that I should at this point advise, strongly, that you not read this book in public (most definitely not in a library), or anywhere you would rather not draw attention to yourself or you need to be quiet. It is extremely likely that you will laugh, chuckle, and groan loudly – a lot. I know I did.

Donoghue has a great way of writing, he has a very conversational style with regular tangents that are actually quite informative and educational. Whilst reading this book you feel like you’re sat having coffee with a friend as they fill you in on the happenings of the week – and there has been a lot happening!

Right from the introduction, as Donoghue recounts the story he was told that made him realise joining the police was the best way to escape a boring job, you start to realise how bizarre situations and people really can be.

From the neighbourhood dog mess inspector, to Donoghue’s very different approach to attempting to talk someone off a ledge, and then the strangest 999 calls, this book gives you an insight into what it’s like to work for the police, deal with the public, and put up with the office politics.

‘Sandford’ could really be any town – I recognised a number of the ‘characters’ Donoghue wrote about, from places I have lived – both past and present. You could despair about society when reading this, but I think that the fact that there are people like Donoghue dealing with it should give you some hope… maybe… Just don’t let him near a snowman. And you should probably ask him to take off his shoes before inviting him into your home and offering him a cup of tea.

To sum up, if you want to read a book that makes you laugh (and appreciate your job a lot more) you can’t go wrong with Police, Crime & 999. This is one person who is grateful to have been gifted a paperback book last Christmas, and it’s not even because I have a wobbly table!