Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Humorous Books by Bev Spicer

Colourful, Fun, and Full of Joie de Vivre!

There are three books in the humorous Bev and Carol series:

One Summer in France (just 99p for your kindle and £6.49 in paperback) is the first adventure, which takes place, you guessed it, in the South of France, and is based on the author's experiences during a study break from university.  I wanted to write a humorous memoir about the wonderful sense of freedom and possibility we all feel when we are just starting out in life as independent people.  It's true that I had some very strange experiences but I had a lot of fun too.  What's more, I learned a great deal about France, its language and its culture.
Although Carol is an entirely fictitious character, the friendship we share in the book is real.  We don't always agree on everything, and like to get the better of one another from time to time.  Bev and Carol are certainly very different characters.  They see the world in very different ways.
One Summer in France has received many positive reviews from readers who perhaps remember a similar time in their lives, when they took so many things for granted that, in adult life, seem to have all but disappeared.
You can download a free sample to your kindle by following the link below.  Why not relax for a while in the company of Bev and Carol in One Summer in France (two girls in a tent).  I hope it puts a smile on your face and takes you back to a less complicated, more spontaneous time:

Bunny on a Bike is the second in the Bev and Carol series. This time, the author recounts her real life experiences as a Playboy croupier in London in the 80s.  Bev and Carol are eager to stick together after university and find the prospect of the graduate jobs available too dull to contemplate.  They see an advertisement in the newspaper for blackjack dealers and apply.
I think you will be surprised at some of the realities of the less than glamorous lives they lead, always looking on the bright side even when faced with landlords from hell and stringent training schedules at Victor Lownes' mansion in Tring.
Bunny on a Bike has the same light touch as One Summer in France.  It's a humorous memoir which follows the lives of two girls thrown into 80s London, and gives an impression of what happened behind the doors of the Playboy casino.
Again, you can download a free sample by following the link below, where the Bev and Carol adventure continues:

Stranded in the Seychelles is the third and most recently published volume in the Bev and Carol series, although I do have plans for a further book at some point.
Our intrepid heroines have had a few years apart after leaving Playboy and have met up once more for a new adventure, this time in the Seychelles as teachers.
Stranded in the Seychelles is based once more on the author's real life experiences as a teacher on the tiny island of Ste. Anne in the middle of the Indian Ocean, and includes lots of local colour and cultural insights along the way.  Bev and Carol are older, but not particularly wiser.  They savour this new opportunity to duck out of the lives they are leading in England and jet off to somewhere altogether more exotic.  Of course it's not all plain sailing and, as usual, the girls have to cope with the unexpected, such things as giant spiders, insect infested cornflakes, heart-stopping bus rides and accident prone cleaners.  But they enjoy their experiences and learn a lot about expat society.
Stranded in the Seychelles will make you laugh just as much as One Summer in France and Bunny on a Bike, but this time, Bev and Carol are faced with rather more sobering choices from time to time, in between the absurd and the hilarious.
Follow the link below to download a free sample and find out what they get up to this time:

So, that's it for my humorous books.  If you would like to look at my other books, please go back to my home page and select Novels by B A Spicer.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Free on 30th October - One Day Promotion

What would you do if you woke up in a dark cellar, tied and silenced, with no memory of how you got there and no clue why?

...and, after your mind had calmed, you became aware that, on the other side of the door, someone was watching you?

What readers say:

"LOCKED AWAY provides an engrossing reading experience." 

"Absolute must read.  Loved how the chapters were short and full of twists and turns."

"For anyone wanting a quick, tense read about abduction and mind games, then I strongly recommend Locked Away."

Click here to view on Amazon

(Also available in paperback.)

Thursday, 25 October 2018

I Get It

Reading through some of the one-star reviews of this book I was interested to note that a lot of people, twelve percent in fact, left comments like: 'ramblings of a teenage drunk', 'pile of rubbish', and my personal favourite: ' a blasphemy to the beauty of the English language'.  It was variously described as dull, tedious, repetitive, and lacking any kind of plot.  But the most frequent complaint was that it was disappointing.

When a book is described as a classic it's difficult not to expect something great.  Something that will perhaps change your perspective on the world.  If you read it, looking for this something and fail to find it, then, yes, it will surely disappoint.

It's happened to me and it's happened to you (I'm assuming).  We've all been disappointed by classic reads at some time or other.

The Catcher in the Rye is just one of those books.  You love it or hate it.  You find treasure or you don't.  You get it, or you don't get it.

This one, I got.

Now I have to say what it is that I 'got'.  To the best of my ability.  Which, I can tell you, is a daunting prospect.  It really is.

If you've read J D's classic, you'll notice the style of the last paragraph - a poor mimic, I'll admit.  But the style of writing is what first strikes the reader.  Here we have a seventeen-year-old boy telling us in 1950s teenage language, about his situation - he's at a prestigious boarding school, about to be kicked out after 'flunking' his exams.  And he's talking directly to us, first person, up close and personal.

I could describe the plot, but if you want an excellent summary you can visit Wikipedia.  I'd recommend it, especially after you've read the book, for all the snippets of peripheral information about the author.

What I want to say, to try to say, is why this book is one of my all-time best reads.

It's true that Holden Cauldfield (I love the strangeness of his name) is lazy, reactive, immature...but he is also hanging on to what he sees as 'real', what is not 'phony'.  His thoughts and interactions with other people are often superficial, his conversations repetitive, but mixed in amongst the simmering chaos of his life there are moments of astounding beauty.  It's like walking through a field of mud and finding something precious.  I don't mean something like a diamond or a wallet.  Rather consider coming across a baby bird, injured and near death.  Holden would pick it up, carry it away, make it well, if he could. 

Now, I've made the book sound soppy, but it's not.  True, it's nostalgic.  It takes you back.  Makes you remember feelings you had as a child growing up.  Holden Cauldfield reminds you that in a world of  fixed pathways through education, to a career and happiness, there are stop-offs along the way that blow any plan out of the water.  For him, it's where the duck go when the pond freezes over, the essay he wrote about his dead brother's baseball glove, the record he bought (and accidentally broke) for his sister Phoebe, or the trips to the Museum of Natural History when he was younger (he notices small changes and wishes things had stayed exactly the same).  These moments stand out amongst the mud and daily grind to nowhere like a beating heart.

As he gravitates towards home and his beloved younger sister, Phoebe, he follows a young boy walking carelessly in the gutter along a busy street.  He feels the boy's parents are unaware of the danger he is in.  Then, the boy begins to sing:

"If a body catch a body coming through the rye,"

which strikes Holden with its simple joy.  It also leads him to formulate a plan - a plan based on his understanding of the above line, which is a misquote from Burn's poem.  Holden sees himself standing at the edge of a field of rye where children are playing and shouting near a cliff edge.  As they run and play, unaware of the danger, Holden will stand guard and catch them when they fall.

I must admit, as I came to the final pages I wondered how on earth there could be a satisfying ending to a book that covers a three-day period in the life of a moody teenager.  The final paragraph, for me, is genius.  See what you think.

Whether or not you get the punch to the stomach and the shock to brain from these moments of insight, of clarity and simplicity, is probably down to how you are wired.  I don't want to sound smug or superior - there's plenty I don't get about a whole plethora of things.  I just can't help being amazed by this particular book and grateful to J D for writing it.

Here's the link if you want to give it a try:  Catcher in the Rye