Friday 31 January 2020

#BookReview — From His Perspective by Lisa Keeble #Fantasy #Satire #Humour

From His Perspective
By Lisa Keeble

If it hadn’t been for an accident involving a stray biscuit crumb, a black hole and a size 7 tweed slipper, they could have stayed true to their original blueprints but, as it was, they got stuck with humanity, a complex and extremely irritating species.

As the humans blunder their way through history, trying to grapple with the myriad of emotions that were installed in the early developmental stages, Norbert and his Boss do what they can to help. Unfortunately, they frequently cause far more problems than they solve and are often hindered by the restraints placed on them by the Accounts Department, and the militant actions of Gavin who deals with Returns.

They watch as cavemen tackle woolly mammoths in order to fill their larders and provide next season’s wardrobe and quickly regret introducing them to fire. Rivers run red with blood and plagues of frogs are visited on the Egyptians which does nothing more than interrupt their laundry schedule and promote an increase in sales of sandal cleaner. The Boss has decades of sinus infections and soot covered sandals as Henry VIII and Bloody Mary take power, prompting him to create syphilis and pheromones which, in turn, cause their own problems. Wars, the industrial revolution, slavery and empire building - all it does for Norbert and his Boss is push up the overtime budget, create more paperwork and really, really get on their nerves. Not only that but the human's blatant disregard for their habitat means braving the really long ladders to make repairs to the ozone layer.

They are left doubting whether they will ever fully understand what drives mankind. More importantly, they wonder if they’re to blame. Did they add too much essence of sheep? Did Cyril make a mistake with his calculations when they decided to increase intelligence levels? Was it such a good idea to use different pigments for the humans just because it made life easier for Cedric in Tracking? Would their lives have been easier if they’d just stuck with amoebas and forgotten about human beings altogether?

In the end the Boss decides that the only way to really deal with the humans is to tell them why they were created.

“It wasn’t a piece of biscuit, just one crumb, that’s all, I promise. One tiny crumb fell into one of the black holes and then there was a bit of an explosion...”

In the beginning, there was darkness, and the Boss liked the darkness. He had spent years creating the darkness. He was very proud of the darkness. But, then Norbert sneezed while eating a biscuit and there was an incident with a size seven tweed slipper which catastrophically ended with a rather large and unexpected big bang. And the darkness was no more.

What was needed in such an unprecedented situation was tea and copious amounts of biscuits. Perhaps, after a digestive or two, they would, to their delight, discover that this happy accident was an opportunity to create something far greater than darkness, and far more significant than nothing.

Nevertheless, next time, they would stick to the approved blueprints. However, life, as the Boss and Norbert found out, had an awful habit of not staying true to its design. Suddenly, there were fish who wanted to live on the land, and a dinosaur who went around killing everything it met, and then, of course, there was man — the Boss’ most distinguished and regrettable invention.

From the beginning of time to the present day, From His Perspective by Lisa Keeble is the farcical retelling of a snack disaster that resulted in the origin and evolution of the universe, and life on earth.

From His Perspective is a book where I found myself laughing out loud, especially at Norbert and his many antics, on more than one occasion. From the first page, I felt like I was reading a book penned by Douglas Adams — it has the same comforting familiarity of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. There was the same ridiculousness in the story which was incredibly compelling and extremely amusing. From His Perspective is an easy read, and although it has a few mild sex references and equally mild bad language, I think it is a book that would highly appeal to a young adult 14+ audience. 

Keeble has cleverly crafted a caricature of the life of man. There are some notable historical figures mentioned during the course of this book — from Moses to Jesus, William the Conquerer to Henry VIII — all of which are painted with a satirical stroke of the quill. I don’t think Keeble was going for historical accuracy when she wrote about these characters but instead, she has depicted them with a rather big pinch of salt and a hefty helping of creative licence, but it does lead to some amusing anecdotes — Moses wandered in the wildness for four decades because he had no sense of direction, who knew?

With a satirical eye on creationism and religion, Keeble has penned a book that, despite all the humour, addresses some of the worst traits of humanity. The disregard for life, the selfishness, greed and corruption of the ruling classes over the course of human history from the beginning of time until now, is all carefully depicted. Throughout this book, Keeble has one eye on the message she wants to get across while having a novelists intuition about what makes a book hilariously funny.

When portraying the life of man, Keeble has also used political satire to great effect. Her depiction of the French Revolution is an example where Keeble has done this particularly well, and despite all the humour, this is a book that asks you to think. What is right? What is wrong? And why do we allow atrocities to occur, when we, the sheep, are far bigger in number than the shepherds who so-called look after our interests? There are some crucial questions in this book, that perhaps, on a philosophical level, Keeble wants her readers to think carefully about before answering.

The Boss is in want of a better word, a biscuit munching mad scientist, who is playing God, rather than actually being him. His side-kick is his wonderfully awkward and shy personal assistant who goes by the name of Norbert. There are no celestial beings in this book — this is not a book about God and nor does it pretend to be. The Boss, Norbert, and the other characters who live in this realm create the world that we live in and the creatures and flora that we know. They then sit back and watch as one would do a television show. We humble humans are the entertainment, and such entertainment is at times very difficult for the Boss to witness. He tries to intervene on occasions, and yet still, man does not seem to understand how to live in harmony and peace. The Boss really struggles with morality in this book. He looks down upon his experiment and wonders what went wrong? Like any benevolent parent, he questions if he is to blame — did he make man too sheeplike? Had he really needed to add hate to balance love? So many questions, and no answers. In the end, the Boss turns his back and spends several decades playing checkers, in the hope that by the time he returns, man would have caused their own extinction! Alas, they did not.

I was thoroughly amused by Lisa Keeble’s From His Perspective from start to finish. Fans of Douglas Adams, and Monty Python, will enjoy this book very much!

I Highly Recommend.

Review by Mary Anne Yarde
The Coffee Pot Book Club.

Pick up your copy of
From His Perspective

Lisa Keeble

Lisa Keeble was born in the UK many years ago and, from a tender age, she had aspirations to be a writer so, naturally, she grew up to be an accountant. When she realised that spreadsheets really weren't doing it for her any more, she packed her bags and headed off to the South of France. These days she can be found living by the sea where she happily taps away at her computer trying to join random thoughts into something readable.

Her debut novel, From His Perspective, was born from an idea that she had in the shower one morning. It started off life as a short story and then morphed into a book with very little involvement from the author.

Connect with Lisa: WebsiteGoodreads.

Thursday 30 January 2020

Join me in Conversation with #Historical Romance author, Sara Bennett #interview #amwriting @SaraBennett16

Join me in Conversation with 

Historical Romance author,
Sara Bennett

MA: Please give a warm Coffee Pot welcome to Historical Romance author, Sara Bennett. Hi, Sarah. Welcome to the blog.

SB: Thank you for inviting me to Coffee Pot Book Club. I am an Australian who lives in the state of Victoria, and I write under a number of pennames in a number of genres. It can get a bit confusing! Today I’m here wearing my historical romance writer Sara Bennett hat.
I started writing for the US publisher Avon in 2002 and by the time that career ended in 2014 I had written 15 books for them. They ranged from Medieval, Scottish, to the Victorian era.
Since then I’ve continued to write for traditional publishers and also to self publish. Last year I wrote four novellas in a Regency series called Mockingbird Square.

MA: Can you share with us the inspiration behind your fabulous Pendleton Manor trilogy?

SB: My most recent book is also a Regency romance, called Meant To Be. This is the first book in my Pendleton Manor trilogy. I still have a lot of Sara Bennett fans, and it seemed like a good idea to give them something new. Maybe something a little different too, because I need to entertain myself when I write.

MA: It sounds like a wonderful series, and I LOVE your covers! What kind of challenges did you face writing a series set in the Regency era?

SB:  The challenges of writing in the Regency era are more about the fact that it is such a popular area of romance rather than researching the people and the period. Because of that popularity my challenge was to make my stories different.

MA: There are many fabulous  Regency Romances out there. Can you share with us three things that set your books apart?

SB: Harry Baillieu, the hero in my book, doesn’t always behave in a way that traditional Regency fans would consider heroic. Although he loves Sophy with all his heart, he is a product of his upbringing—a domineering and sometimes brutal father—and his position in society. It takes him a while to become the hero he wants to be.

My books tend toward darker themes, so don’t expect light hearted fun. Sophy’s father goes to prison when Harry’s father tries to separate his son from the girl he loves. Sophy discovers Harry is engaged to another woman. Harry has to give up everything to win her back.

Reviewers have called Meant To Be an emotional rollercoaster and I think that’s true. If you want a story that really tugs at the heartstrings then this book is for you.

MA: Last questions… Can you share with us what you are currently working on?

SB: I am hoping to have Against All Reason, the second book in the Pendleton Manor trilogy, ready to publish in 2020. This is Harry’s brother Adam’s story, the black sheep of the Baillieu family.

MA: Thank you so much for stopping by and chatting with us. If you would like to find out more about Sara, you can find her: WebsiteFacebookTwitter.

Scroll down to find out more about Sarah’s fabulous trilogy.

Meant To Be
By Sara Bennett

Sophy and Harry were meant to be … until fate stepped in.
 Harry Baillieu is the heir to Pendleton Manor and his father has plans for him to wed a wealthy and titled woman. That’s not Sophy Harcourt, but Harry doesn’t care. He has known and loved her most of his life and intends to marry her. When things go wrong, and Sophy and her family are forced to leave Pendleton, Harry believes she has betrayed him. Determined to move on, he chooses a new wife. He tells himself that Lady Evelyn Rowe is perfect in every way, and they announce their engagement at a grand ball in Mayfair.
But on that very night, Sophy returns. 
Sophy has been in love with Harry all her life. She knows they are going to marry and live happily ever after, because Harry tells her so. When scandal forces her to leave Pendleton, Sophy goes to live with her disreputable grandmother in London. She waits for Harry, thinking he will come after her, but he doesn’t. Three years later she learns that Harry is to be a guest at a ball in Mayfair, and she tells herself he only has to see her to fall in love with her all over again.
But Harry is getting engaged to another woman.

Pick up your copy of

Meant To Be