Anita's Haven

books, thoughts, stories, poetry, interviews, writing

MONTY & ME by Louisa Bennet – my review no.26

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Pure joy to read! Intense, insightful and fun!

Monty and Me took me by surprise, not only because of the fact that it is a crime story told from the perspective of a dog (how cool is that, all you dog fans out there;)?), but by its wonderfully positive humour and charming style. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this ARC which I received in exchange for an honest review.

By page 18 I had already realized that I had smiled, giggled and even laughed more than 10 times. Anyone who loves either reading or writing knows full well it is not an easy task to get laughs out of printed pages. Louisa Bennet does humour naturally, her wit is unforced and clever, her tone so easy to follow that reading goes quite easy and you simply breeze through the text.

Monty, the accidental detective, is not just a dog, but a fully-fledged character, and one you will grow to like from his initial accounts of his duck and food addiction, through his interpretation of human behaviour, to his emotional description of his owner’s murder, and on and on. I am trying to avoid spoilers as best I can, but cannot, so let me just mention a few I instantly fell in love with – Monty and Betty chatting, the interpretation of the nickname Legless, Mr Google, Monty’s account of his rapport with his new owner, his judgment of Rose’s mentor and his sexist attitude, Dante the intellectual magpie being seduced by a… stopping now, before I spill the beans.

To those who take a stern view to an adult mystery being told with humour and through the eyes of an animal, either give it a chance and have some open-minded fun, or stop taking things too seriously, or avoid this book. To those of you who love animals and mystery, you will enjoy this book for more reasons than one. Although to some it may seem like two books blended together (one more child-like with animals talking and one an adult mystery), for me it is not. I love the blend.

Normally, I love an author who shows the story appealing to all of the readers’ senses. As should be expected, this author does all that,  but puts particular emphasis on scents, which works out splendidly, because Monty uses them not only to interpret situations, but people’s character, past and present. The scent descriptions attached to feelings such as fear and sadness are simply amazing! But it is not only a book with animals in it, don’t get me wrong. The bounty and complexity of human characters, their behaviour and inter-relations only gain in expresiveness and impact by adding the animal view on things. The author weaves her tapestry very cleverly. Human relationships are completely convincing – Leach and his stern, yet fair, attitude towards Rose, an interesting rapport between Rose and Varma, not to mention Rose’s romantic crush and her family history. I especially enjoyed the very illustrative and intriguing description of teenager Finn from the very first time we meet him.

As more animals get involved in the investigation, the reader becomes more curious about how the murder mystery will be solved, how Monty will communicate his findings to Rose, or even who finds the killer first – humans or animals. The murder case being linked to the possible extinction of bees is quite up to date, and might even interest Morgan Freeman;), and as the initial crime escalates more and more, the reader comes to a nail biting finale! I would not sleep till I finished the last 70 or so pages, written in an excellent pace, more and more intense by the end. Then there’s the calm before the storm and then… Bang!
If you are looking for sex and gore in your mystery, you might not find all that here. If you like dogs, you will love this. If you like intense mysteries, you will love this. If you like clever books which mix genres, you will love Monty and Me. If you like fluency and wit in writing, you will love this book. I for one am looking forward to the next mystery solved by Rose and Monty!

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Monty and Me on Amazon

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Pen & Paper

Just started writing into the second notebook, working on one of my current novels. It feels good to write the old-fashioned way – pen, hand and paper…

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Average Daydreamer

Been writing one of my several current works in progress a lot lately. A chapter a day. Funny thing is – it feels relaxing. Perhaps it’s just because it is a light summer read, not a fantasy/drama, horror or crime like my other novels in progress. Or it is just the summer holidays approaching.
Anyway, here’s a glimpse into the theme…

Average Daydreamer – working on a novel

There is something so plain and simple about travelling by train, about commuting… Something so common and average about all the people you share that tiny space with, each worrying their own problems, dreaming about all their desires, counting the minutes to and from work. The scents, the heat, the stuffiness, the crowd, the conducters, the delays…

All so average, and yet… Who knows what goes on in all those people’s heads, as your eyes gaze out the window, in semi-stupour or completely uninterested! Perhaps the travellers are just as funny, witty, lonely as… you are.

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There is something so simple about bakeries, too. Your everyday stop for a snack, your dose of the smell of freshly baked bread which gives you the boost you need to drag yourself to work each and every morning, although staying in would be such a wonderfully lazy option…

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There is something homely, strong, comforting in watching a baker’s hands mix and press the dough. Such an honest day’s work! No fuss, no talk of corruption or big bucks, just hard work and the feeling of usefulness. No needless, cold, impersonal paperwork you have to go through at work. Have you ever stopped and watched a baker’s hands go through their dedicated routine, making bread with slow, rhythmical movements, firm yet gentle. So soothing!

Until you start daydreaming. And you imagine your skin below those fingers… Mmmmmhhhmmm…. yummy…

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Soothing, unless the dough/skin daydream happens within a day train, filled with commuters. And you miss your stop. On the way to work! You fall off your seat, face flat into the remnants of dried chewing gum and a jungle of human feet.

Well, my character, Priscilla, tends to do that. Sometimes!

Funny girl, though. Kind, hard-working, a bit lonely. But she talks the whole time! Incessant jabbering! I wonder if she will make it through the whole novel, or get lost in a daydream… She’s managed to pull through 9 chapters already! We shall see:)!

PS: She may be prolific, but she will hate editing, I know it! Well, at least we have that in common;)!

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CATCHING UP

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In case you don’t know, this heavenly thing here is called a Decadent Chocolate Cheesecake, and it is here for a special reason and a special person, not to share the recipe (you can find that on Pinterest where I drooled over this picture). I could lie and say it is for my fantastic followers (so good to have you around), but it isn’t!

This cake is for Priscilla, the lunatic chatterbox of a character who’s been talking my head off for the last 7 days. And talked out 7 chapters in 7 days! Gotta love her eagerness! Word count? No idea whatsoever! Writing by hand and loving every single old-fashioned minute of it!

Going off to my real job now, as she stuffs her face in this delicious, well-deserved slice (which might shut her up a bit). A sneak peek, you say? Hmmm… well, seeing as you didn’t get any of the cake, here it is..

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New talker in town;)

There’s this new female character in my latest work in progress who just won’t shut up. She’s made me write it in first person. ‘Well, it is ALL about me, isn’t it?!?’ she said, quite annoyed, with a self-explanatory shrug and eyelashes batting diva-style. I do love her to bits, the crazy girl. Can’t stay longer! She’s pulling my pen already. Ta-ta!

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Yo-ho-ho! The Good Pirate is active!

Yipppeeeeee and yo-ho-ho and oooooooh my! Big news! Just self-published another children’s book!

A good man goes pirate to marry the girl he loves;) – a positive book for kids! Extra activities added! (Paperbook coming soon!)
The Good Pirate e-book
(Other purchase sites by summertime)

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Guess the story?

After spending quite a long, but successful day working to improve my teaching and teacher training skills, I made a little something to soothe my other creative side. I created a little puzzle from my illustrations for a children’s story I am polishing to publish.

Can you guess what the story is about?

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THE FOREST OF TREES

To celebrate Planet Earth Day, here’s a tiny sneak peek into my current work in progress, novel The Forest of Trees. Just a glimpse into the first chapter…

The Forest became quieter than ever, as most trees stopped speaking to each other, and only the occasional snapping and murmur would buzz through the leaves. It seemed like an unfinished drawing of a forest, with only a silent, ghostly skeleton of the ground and the treetrunks.

And then, one lovely autumn day, something quite extraordinary happened.

The grumpy murmur of leaves, in its magical rhythmical pattern, was suddenly disturbed by some unusual sounds. First there was a rustling of dry leaves on the ground which sounded almost… well – happy, actually!

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QUICK SNEAK PEEK

For my friends and readers, just some quick info. My latest novel (oh yes, full length this time, after 4 years working on it) is being read by my beta readers, so by midsummer, I should have the first opinions and comments. And then comes the heavy lifting – editing and getting it published.
The photo below is just a teaser;) for the book…. or is it;)?

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