Stairlift to Heaven by Terry Ravenscroft

LIFT
Stairlift to Heaven by Terry Ravenscroft
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Non-Fiction, Humor, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (127 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Stairlift to Heaven (The journal of an OAP.) Although this book is written by an old age pensioner, non-coffin dodgers should not be put off. Everyone will be old someday, and there are valuable lessons in coping with old age to be learned here. Written by Terry Ravenscroft, former scriptwriter to Les Dawson, The Two Ronnies, Morecambe and Wise. Stairlift to Heaven has been likened by one reviewer to be ‘Like Last of the Summer Wine on cocaine’ Review by Pauline R for Readers Favorite. Stairlift to Heaven is an irreverent, hilarious look about one man’s life after retirement. He pokes fun at everything, no one and nothing is spared including how to silence the neighbour’s barking dog, telephone salespeople and Christmas carolers. His long suffering wife, known as ‘The Trouble’, provides a perfect foil of sanity against the mad antics of the author and his friend Atkins. Like a grumpy old man on funny pills Terry punctures the ridiculousness of life. A particular favorite is a visit to a faith healer and an examination of the concept of a Nuclear Free Zone. There is enough in “Stairlift to Heaven” to keep the whole world laughing.

Bodies fall apart when people get old. Eventually they stop working altogether. You can’t stop it, but you sure can laugh while it’s happening!

Mr. Ravenscroft has a incredibly dry, British sense of humour that relies heavily on irony and sarcasm to get his point across. This works particularly well when he’s discussing all of the body parts that have betrayed him over the past few years and what he’s done to attempt to fix them. What I liked most about his take on the world is that he is just as likely to make fun of himself as he was to use other people as ammunition for his anecdotes.

There were a few times when I thought that the author went too far in his descriptions of certain conversations with his wife. Most of their interactions were really funny, but some of his comments about her appearance came across as unnecessarily snide to me. I suspect that I would have had a far different reaction to these scenes had they been part of a stand-up routine or some other form of comedy that also relies on tone of voice and body language. After all, the exact same string of words can be affectionate or snarky depending on how they’re delivered!

By far the best part of this book for me was the discussion about how everyone magically becomes a wonderful person as soon as they die. In this scene Terry attends the funeral of someone who was known to be incorrigibly mean-spirited and prejudiced when he was alive, but who was made out to be a saint at his burial. There is a lot of truth to this observation, and it was thought-provoking and funny to wonder why people do this.

Stairlift to Heaven kept me grinning from beginning to end. I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoy British humor.

Dear Coca-Cola by Terry Ravenscroft

COLA
Dear Coca-Cola by Terry Ravenscroft
Publisher: A Razzamatazz Publication
Genre: Non-Fiction, Humor
Length: Full Length (210 pgs)
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Stephanotis

Putting pen to paper with hilarious results, in Dear Coca-Cola Terry Ravenscroft homes in on the Food & Drink industry. Household names such as Heinz, Ryvita, Tesco, Cadburys and of course the Coca-Cola Company are the targets for his entertaining epistles, resulting in a laugh-out-loud letters book with a difference. And you don’t want to know what he asks Jacob’s Biscuits for! But you will when you’ve read his letters to them.

You will never look at the contents of your fridge or kitchen cupboards in the same way again.

Sometimes finding a good non-fiction book to read isn’t always the easiest task. Even if it’s a subject I enjoy, oftentimes they end up being too dry for my liking. That wasn’t the case with Dear Coca-Cola. It was funny all the way through. One word of warning; if you read while other people are around you’ll get some strange looks because you will laugh out loud at some of the author’s antics because that’s what happened to me.

The idea behind the book is the author wanted to include his letters to various companies, either complimenting or complaining about their products, and their replies back to him.

Some of them begin quite seriously as to what he didn’t like about something but as the two exchanged more letters, the author’s ones got funnier with more extreme requests and suggestions.

Most of the letters back to him were also funny. You could tell they were trying to be as polite and helpful as they could even when Mr. Ravenscroft had made that an almost impossible task. As I was reading this book I thought how much fun it would have been to see the people’s faces as they read his letters and wondered just how to handle the situation. I’m sure some had a good laugh too.

Some of the letters that stand out for me are the first one and hence the title of the book, to Coca-Cola. His son wanting to eat fish food instead of breakfast cereal, and his letter asking if it was safe. A trip to a brewery with one member who had a peg leg. And a couple of them, complimenting the company for their products boosting his sex life.

The author is from the UK, so if you’re a fan of British comedies this will definitely be a book you’ll enjoy.

After reading Dear Coca-Cola I’ll be checking out some of Mr. Ravenscroft’s other titles and hopefully they’ll make me laugh just as much.

Lost in Transplantation: Memoir of an Unconventional Organ Donor by Eldonna Edwards

LOST
Lost in Transplantation: Memoir of an Unconventional Organ Donor by Eldonna Edwards
Publisher: Whole Heart Publications
Genre: Autobiography, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (249 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

One Gently Used Kidney, Free to a Good Home.

When 48 year-old single mother, massage therapist and returning student Ellie meets a young woman with kidney disease, she decides to make it her mission to save the girl. Unfortunately, outdated rules made it difficult for altruistic donors, and besides, the woman doesn’t want a savior. Does this stop Ellie from her quest to “be the change” one seeks in the world? Not a chance.

Told with humor and self-reflection, this inspirational memoir of courage and compassion is interwoven with anecdotal stories that help the reader identify what kind of person commits the selfless act of organ donation. Ellie,a self-described devout agnostic, is kind but often irreverent. She is generous, but she is no saint. Ultimately, becoming a kidney donor has given her a renewed sense of purpose and fulfillment. Lost in Transplantation asserts that we are all capable of altering a human being’s life for the better, including our own.

How much would you risk to save the life of someone you’ve never met? It’s easy to talk about altruism as an abstract term, but it’s much more difficult to live in out in such a personal manner.

Ms. Edwards decision fascinates me, but it is her honest, wry sense of humour that made this story so enjoyable for this reader. She has the uncanny ability to find the light side of even the most serious topics. Nowhere is this more evident than in the beginning of her journey when she realizes that a classmate has kidney disease. Her spontaneous offer to give her classmate one of her kidneys gave me an early glimpse into the author’s character as well as provided some of the funniest moments in this tale.

As interesting as it was to read about everything else that was going on in the author’s life while she was in the process of donating her kidney, all of these subplots bog down the gist of her memoir. This is especially true when it came to all of the information I learned about her childhood and young adulthood. The tales were interesting, but some of them were off-topic for this particular book.

With that being said, Ms. Edwards descriptions of the donation and recovery processes are absolutely fascinating. By far my favorite sections focused on all of physical and mental health tests one must pass in order to be considered as a candidate. I wish more time had been spent discussing this part of the donation process because, at least for me, the risks weigh heavily on my mind when I think about the possibility of being a live donor. While the vast majority of donors recover without any complications, there is always a chance of developing an infection or having a bad reaction to the anesthesia with any surgical procedure.

Lost in Transplantation: Memoir of an Unconventional Organ Donor is a thought-provoking look at one woman’s unorthodox decision to save a stranger’s life. I’d recommend it to anyone who has even the slightest whiff of curiosity about this subject.

2013 Best Book of the Year Poll

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The Secret Life of A Submissive: A True Story by Sarah K.

LIFE

The Secret Life of A Submissive: A True Story by Sarah K.
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Inc.
Genre: Contemporary Biography
Length: Full Length (196 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Anal Play, Forced Seduction, Fetish, Toys, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Thistledown

When Max comes into Sarah′s life — charming, handsome and deliciously brooding – she can′t stop herself. Before long she has surrendered to him in every way: becoming his submissive, yielding her body to his every desire, powerless to fight his sensual temptations.

As Sarah pushes her mind and body to its limits, she begins to realise that she′s in too deep. Pleasure and pain have become her world. She′s addicted — to the adrenalin, to the sensation, to Max himself.

Now she′s in serious danger of giving in to the ultimate temptation: falling in love…

Daring, evocative and thrilling, but told with wit and honesty, this is the explosive true story of life as a submissive, and of a secret world in which only a few dare to play.

Erotica author Sarah K. is newly divorced and finds herself longing for the BDSM relationships she writes about in her novels. In this journey of self-discovery, we enter a world that is not for the faint of heart.

Dating sucks. Sarah K. can tell you that. After being married to a man without any motivation whatsoever, she wants to be careful who she hooks up with. Her select group of friends help her surf the local pool, but Sarah decides she wants something more. Something out of one of her racy novels. She has written about BDSM for years and wants to find a Dom to get her started. Dating websites that focus on BDSM are a mixed bag of tricks. You have to kiss a lot of frogs with strange fetishes before you find that special someone. And find him she does. Enter Max.

Max is the epitome of the quintessential Dom. Elegant, secretive, demanding and he helps Sarah awaken into the reality of becoming a submissive. No underwear, not speaking and using Sir at the end of every phrase are a challenge for her, but she slowly begins to adjust. When the punishments begin, she has to really decide whether this life is really for her. Is Max? Should she stay vanilla and let it go?

The journey within this book is heartfelt and has highs and lows. There is so much more than what I have written in this review, plot wise. Intrigue, family relationships, introductions to friends and whether to tell them what you have really been up to…Yes. Real life gets in the way of the romance and there are hard choices that have to be made. It isn’t even really a plot. It is her life. Sarah K. writes a stellar book. So much so that I can easily see this as a movie. She is a vulnerable person, but never gives up on her goals and doesn’t let tragedy swamp her.

Written with a quirky voice and an almost fiction like quality, this book is one of the best reads of the season. If you liked 50 Shades or are a fan of BDSM novels, The Secret Life of a Submissive needs to be next on your TBR list.