Book Review: Two Little Boys by Duncan Sarkies

Book Review: Two Little Boys by Duncan Sarkies

Two Little Boys cover imageTwo Little Boys by Duncan Sarkies, ISBN9780143567882 , RRP$30, Available now.Two Little Boys… an apt name really because, seriously this story really only works if you imagine that the two protaganists are 9-year-old boys stuck in the bodies of 30-year-old (ish) men. And even then I’m thinking I’m being too harsh on 9-year-old boys. Maybe 13-year-old boys.

This new edition is a tie in for the film so I’m not going to waste too many words doing a plot recap. Nige kills a backpacker. Nige freaks out and goes to his ex-friend Deano for help. Deano turns out to be creepily, stupidly and implausibly mental. And also insanely jealous of Nige’s new friend, Gav. Hi-jinks and further criminal activities ensue.

The difficulty with black humour is it only works if the humour is really, really funny. Otherwise you’ve just got black chuckles, and they don’t work at all. Two Little Boys has this vein of really creepy “repressed homosexuality” combined with the aforementioned not-really-that-funny mentalness¹ that just makes it more unpleasant than anything else. Neither Nige or Deano are at all likeable characters and while Gav brings some much needed normal intelligence to the party, it’s all too little.

Women characters? Nah.

The Catlins deserves a better class of fiction, surely. Great cover image though!

¹And seriously, I’m not referring to mental illness here. This is a whole ‘nother kind of fictional mentalness that bears no resemblance to reality.

Book Review: Help! How to Become Slightly Happier and Get a Bit More Done by Oliver Burkeman

Book Review: Help! How to Become Slightly Happier and Get a Bit More Done by Oliver Burkeman


Help! How to Become Slightly Happier and Get a Bit More Done by Oliver Burkeman, , RRP $40, ISBN 9780857860255, Available now.There is something highly amusing about a book that sets out to puncture a few of the most cherished self-help myths, and simultaneously manages to be one of the best and potentially most useful self-help books you’ll probably read.

Help! is truly incredibly helpful. Oliver Burkeman (who you can and should find at) writes the column This Column Will Change Your Life at The Guardian and has consequently spent several years trolling, um, sorry, trawling the self-help beat, attempting to separate the dross from the drivel from the actually rather helpful. (BookieMonster. Not a fan of self-help.)

Help! is a collection of these columns, covering ways to be happier at home, love, work and with friends. The beauty of Burkeman is he’s managed to distil the actual useful information out of various “lifehacking” websites, productivity sites, self-help books and courses, and even serious psychological research.

Some of my favourite gems from Help!:

  • Oxytocin, the cuddle hormone. Seems to be associated with forming strong attachments. Yes, hugs really do help.
  • You know how you see your friends and they seem like they’re really popular and have heaps of friends (way more than you). Well, statistically that’s because they are. Yes, your friends have more friends than you. (This is one of my favourite insights).
  • The Secret is a load of self-serving bollocks. Burkeman is possibly more erudite on this subject than I.
  • Circumstances actually have very little effect on happiness.
  • We all think other people are fundamentally annoying/angry/rude people but we ourselves are only like that when we’re having a bad day. It’s called the fundamental attribution error.
  • Not being a specialist in your career is a positive, not a negative (thank god for me, a serial career-ist).

He’s also not afraid to be totally honest and bag what we all deep-down know is a load of old cobblers, but at the same time he’s also happy to highlight what actually might work, no matter how twee or ridiculous it may seem to cynical minds. Case in point – gratitude journals.

Gratitude journals are at the extreme end of the cheesiness continuum, but the studies are hard to refute.

In the end, the best thing about this book is the little snippets of true, unvarnished advice.

In The Happiness Trap, the psychologist Russ Harris suggests a simple yet powerful perspective-shift… Imagine you’re 80, then complete these sentences: “I spent too much time worrying about…”* and “I spent too little time doing things such as…”

For reasons which I am not going to elucidate for public consumption, your BookieMonster (me) has been suffering under some serious stress recently. Now, I wouldn’t claim to be the most happiest-go-lucky kinda gal at the best of times, but circumstances have all come together in the last few months to make some serious claims on my mental well-being. Help! actually made me feel better. Not on-of-the-world-everything’s-coming-up-roses better, but just a little better. And, as Help! tells it, even just a little better can be a serious victory.

*The fact that your intrepid BookieMonster’s answer to this was “everything” may indicate where I have issues. Sigh.

Trade Me Tips : Searching – How to find what you want

Trade Me Tips : Searching – How to find what you want

I am very happy to receive advance review copies of books to review on BookieMonster.

What do I read?

I thought I’d share a few TradeMe tips with readers from time to time (if you have any TradeMe questions you’d like answered please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll answer to the best of my ability!), so today here’s some tips on searching items for sale on TradeMe.

With well over 1 million items for sale at any one time it can be a bit of a mission finding what YOUwant to buy on TradeMe. But there are ways to make it easier for yourself:

How do I find my favourite seller?

Well, there are two easy ways.

If you know your seller’s username then put it into the Trade Me search bar, click the drop down menu to the left and choose Members (right at the bottom). There is only one drawback to this search and that is it needs to be exact. For example if you search “bookiemonster” you will bring up us! But if you search “bookie monster” (with a space), or any other variation on a username, you won’t find us (or the seller you are looking for). And that will make you sad. So another suggestion is…

If your seller is clever they will include their username somewhere in all their listings. What this means is that you can search for their username in all listings and it will also bring up their products for sale! It also can be very handy for narrowing down the number of results you get.

For example I know you have probably been wondering to yourself, Hmmm, I wonder what books BookieMonster has that are about Cats? So into the Search bar you type ‘bookiemonster’ and ‘cats’ – et voila! BookieMonster listings that have ‘cats’ in the listing. Alternatively you can navigate your way through the Books categories to Non-Fiction – Pets – Cats and then put ‘bookiemonster’ in the search bar – the search automatically works in the category you are in and brings up listings in that category with ‘bookiemonster’ in them – ats category on Trade Me” target=”_blank”>and these should be ours! (But feel free to have a giggle if they aren’t.)

Can I save my favourite sellers somewhere?

Yep! If you have a favourite seller you can save them as a Favourite Seller and have their listings emailed to you. Anytime you’re browsing a seller’s listings, at the top of the page, just under the categories for their listings you’ll see a grey Save This Search button. The seller will be saved to your My Favourites list and you can set the interval for being emailed their listings.

Save a Search

    • Now sometimes you might be a bit overwhelmed by the number of listings a seller has (for example we regularly have over 1000+ books listed for sale), so rather than having all their listings emailed to you perhaps you’d like just some of their listings, or a particular search phrase or just listings in a particular category.

Fortunately you can do all these things. Anytime you search or navigate to a category that has no sub-categories you will see a Save This Search button, or Save This Category button. As above clicking this button will save these to your My Favourites list, and email you new listings automatically.

Searching closed auctions

  • Did you know you can also search auctions that have closed in the last 45 days? To the right of the Search button on the Search bar there is a link that says More Options. If you click this link it will bring up the option to search Expired Listings. This is useful if you want to see who’s been selling a particular item, or if one has been recently up for sale.

Unfortunately Trade Me’s search engine is not the most sophisticated, so here’s a few more quick tips to help you find what you’re looking for.

  • Don’t use apostrophes. These cause problems for TradeMe’s search, which will hopefully be fixed soon. E.g. “Patrick O’Brian” will bring up no listings, but you will find several actually listed if you search for “Jack Aubrey” (a character in O’Brian’s books). So you have to be a bit creative with your keywords when searching for anything that has an apostrophe in it.
  • You can do an exact search by using quotation marks around a phrase, i.e. “alexander mccall smith” – just keep in mind the apostrophe problem from above.
  • You can narrow your search results by region also – New Zealand, or your home region, or click the Change Region dropdown menu. A wee trick for Australian users of Trade Me however – there is no distinction made for sellers based in Australia. They show under the New Zealand search. Crazy? Yes! Dumb? Um, yes, a little bit.
  • Your My Favourites list is found under your My Trade Me page.
  • Your Favourites emails expire after 35 days, so visit your My Favourites list to turn them on again if you still want to be emailed those results.

Hopefully these prove helpful to you, and if you have any Trade Me questions please leave a comment and I’ll try to answer them to the best of my knowledge!

Book Spotlight: Inside Little Britain by David Walliams, Matt Lucas and Boyd Hilton

Book Spotlight: Inside Little Britain by David Walliams, Matt Lucas and Boyd Hilton

Inside Little Britain

Inside Little Britain

Description: Written together with friend and journalist Boyd Hilton, this is a look at a year in the lives of Matt Lucas and David Walliams – the good, the bad, the mundane, and the monumental.

The year covered includes a mammoth nine-month Spinal Tap-esque tour where Little Britain goes in search of Great Britain. This milestone book offers an unrivaled close-up of a classic British comedy act, as it happens, at the height of its powers. But it is also a journey into their pasts, reflecting on how they achieved their success.

It covers their childhoods, family life, and early comedy performances as they found their feet; their complex friendship and working relationship; and the increasingly insane world they now inhabit.

Mixing memoir and travelogue to paint an engrossing portrait of fame and comic genius, Inside Little Britain is a candid look inside the celebrity bubble in all its glamour and awfulness.

BookieMonster Says: An absolute must-read for any Little Britain fan, or indeed any fan of British comedy. This is much more than just a background to the Little Britain tour, the autobiographical content is intriguing and adds more than a touch of pathos to the wonderful comedy of Walliams and Lucas.

This is also a moving portrait of what seems to be an almost necessary friendship between the two performers – the affection they feel for each other is palpable, and the reader can’t help but identify with the story of two extraordinarily talented blokes whose ordinary lives have suddenly become public knowledge through their extreme fame.

A very well-written book that defies any “cash-in” label. BookieMonster highly recommends!

What’s BookieMonster currently reading? The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams

What’s BookieMonster currently reading? The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams

Illustrated by Quentin Blake

The Boy in the Dress - front dustjacket

The Boy in the Dress – front dustjacket

Description:The sparkling debut children’s novel from David Walliams, co-creator and co-star of the multi-award-winning Little Britain. Dennis was different. Why was he different, you ask? Well, a small clue might be in the title of this book!

Charming, surprising and hilarious — The Boy in the Dress is everything you would expect from the co-creator of Little Britain. David Walliams’s beautiful first novel will touch the hearts (and funny bones) of children and adults alike.

BookieMonster says:

David Walliams is well-known for his comedy turn with Matt Lucas in the TV show Little Britain, in which he is renowned for not being at all averse to dressing up like a laaady. In my opinion one of the reasons why Little Britain was so popular was that despite its frequent forays to the lands of Ew, Oh God and I Can’t Believe They Did That, it always had a tone of affection and also sadness for its flawed characters. A touch of bathos, a touch of pathos and out came hilarity.

Walliams retains the hilarity and the tones of affection and sadness with his first book (for children), and what he’s produced is a total delight. It’s simple, it’s funny, it’s very gentle and it has a huge heart at the middle of it.

We start by meeting Dennis, a young boy with a skill and joy for football, who lives with his brother John and his Dad, and who no longer sees his mother because of an unpleasant divorce. I particularly admired the way Walliams handles the relationship between Dennis, John and Dad and portrays the family – he doesn’t shy away from the fact that they have had an incredibly sad thing happen to them, but at the same time he doesn’t overdo the mawkishness or tragicness of their situation. The reader always has the sense that (as in real life) time will help heal the wounds of basically good people caught in a sad and difficult situation.

And so the story moves on with Dennis playing football, going to school, meeting Lisa (the best looking girl in school), sharing a liking for fashion with Lisa and, one day, Lisa convinces him to try on one of her dresses. Dennis, needless to say, rather enjoys the experience.

David Walliams as Emily Howard - She's a lady!

David Walliams as Emily Howard – She’s a lady!

For adults there are plenty of humourous asides and small, gentle in-jokes and the best thing about these are that they are gentle enough to also be appreciated by those more aware kids reading the book, but not to patronise those who don’t get them. For all readers there is also the laughter that comes from good old shock value (He’s trying on the dress! He’s going outside!) and a healthy reminder that people are far more complicated than the easy stereotypes of popular thought and media – Dennis is just as attracted to Lisa as a person as he is to her dresses, makeup and fashion magazines, and he enjoys his football just as much as he enjoys trying on high heels. I’m guessing this is a deliberate parallel to the media treatment of David Walliams himself – a man who clearly enjoyed dress-ups, and just as clearly enjoyed the company of good-looking women, and so sadly for the tabloids didn’t quite fit the nice boxes they have for people (closeted gay man? sleazy Lothario? CHILDREN’S AUTHOR??!!).

I can’t continue without mentioning the always wonderful illustrations by Quentin Blake – best known as the long term illustrator of Roald Dahl books. The synchronicity here between Blake’s illustrations and Walliam’s text is absolutely perfect – and feels like a wonderful homage to Dahl (not because the book is Dahl-like, because it isn’t really, but because the text and pictures work so well together, just like Dahl and Blake). I hope this is the start of a beautiful collaboration. To tie off this present in a bow The Boy in the Dress has now been shortlisted for the Roald Dahl prize.

As you can probably tell by now, I highly recommend this title, for adults and children. Please don’t allow the supposedly “controversial” nature of the plot to put you off giving this to every child in your near vicinity – they will be all the better off for it.

I think I’ll introduce the BookieMonster Kitteh rating – the four paws! And this one definitely gets four furry paws up.

P.S. Adults who enjoy this will also find Inside Little Britain fascinating for its further insight into Walliams’ life and character. You can find a short BookieMonster review of that title here.

Getting in time with the digital world – trading binary options online

Getting in time with the digital world – trading binary options online

Trading binary options

In the ever-growing digital world, many people are finding more “modern” ways to earn a living, taking advantage of the opportunities that the internet provides. One such method is trading binary options.

Binary options trading isn’t actually “trading” at all. Rather, it is watching the prices of various assets that are traded in global markets – stocks, indices, commodities and currencies – and trying to predict if the prices will rise or fall in a given time frame. A correct prediction brings a typical return on investment (ROI) of anywhere between 70-85%.

Finding the best broker for your means and needs is very important to having a successful trading experience, and is one of the best sites that we have found to help you choose well.

What exactly is Top11BinaryOptions?

Top11BinaryOptions is a comparison site of online binary options brokers. It is an independent site, with no affiliation to any of the brokers that it ranks, compares and reviews. The analysts have done an initial survey on their own, and only include brokers that they deem as reliable brokers – which makes the job of the traders much easier when they are beginning to investigate online brokers and options.With what its analysts regard as the top online brokers, Top11BinaryOptions provides a comparative list of the brokers, showing you how that stack up against one another in terms of minimum requirements, potential payouts, regulation, and more.

Additionally, Top11BinaryOptions has detailed reviews written for each broker on its list, going through the advantages and disadvantages of each, as well as any special features that could make a specific broker a good match for you as the individual trader.

The site is constantly reviewing additional brokers, so even once you have gotten started trading binary options, you may well find additional brokers that you wish to trade with – either instead of your current broker or in addition to it.

The final word

All binary options traders, whether they have been doing it for several years or are only just beginning, can find a lot in Top11BinaryOptions to help enhance their trading experience.

It cannot be emphasized strongly enough – finding the right broker (or brokers) for your own individual style of trading, as well as for your personal means and needs, is one of the most critical decisions you will ever make as a binary options trader. Top11BinaryOptions can help you make the decision wisely.

How to write book reviews

How to write book reviews!

Book reviews!

In the previous article in this series devoted to literary criticism and blogs were talking about some basic aspects when analyzing a work, how to write a review. History, Plot, Character, Conflict, Obstacles and Climax are the tools that every story should include, so it is necessary to analyze them to talk about how good or bad it is a book. However, good literary criticism must not remain just that. In this, the last article in the series, we will see how to round our opinion on a literary work.

The first aspect to consider is the Point of View.

In a literary work, the narrative is made from a particular point of view, and that view is crucial for the story to acquire all the drama necessary. For example, the series of Game of Thrones, of G.R.R. Martin, has the peculiarity that has been designed using a multiple narrator; each of the stories of the different characters is told from the point of view of that character, but not the character in the first person. As a result, Martin achieves a perfect puzzle in which the fragmented information of each character completes the picture. Similarly, the same effect is not achieved in a whodunit if we count from the point of view of the investigator that if we do from the point of view of the criminal. It follows that the view considerably alter history that reaches the reader and how to understand it.

The second point to consider is the stage.

There are two basic aspects that must be considered in this section: time and place. Shares narrated need a relationship space specific time that is logical and consistent with history. There are many historical novels, to name one example, which can be seen anachronisms, these consistent errors in placing at a particular time something that could not happen. A famous example is potatoes of The Pillars of the Earth; You could not eat potatoes in the twelfth century in England because they simply would not reach Europe until after the voyages of Columbus in 1492, almost 300 years later.

Another issue to consider when doing a review is style.

The style is just the way he writes the author of the novel, which makes the choice of grammar, syntax, etc. In all forms of expression, whether written or spoken, there are three levels of communication: elocution, illocution and perlocution, which are aspects that show the spoken words, implicit in those words message, what is meant and what to be achieved. These three levels of communication depend entirely on the author’s style. It can also achieve greater or lesser fluidity based build many subordinate sentences or short, etc. All these elements are part of the style, which is achieved based on manipulating the connotative and denotative language and semantic levels and phrasal of a literary work.

We can not confuse style with language, which is the next point to analyze in a review.

The language depends on the articulation of the characters, setting, narrative point of view and the intent of the author. the same language can not be used in a scene in which a nuclear engineering professor is teaching another class in which two criminals from the slums prepare a crime. One of the great mistakes of the novels is to make all the characters speak the same, sound the same, same build their sentences and even talk the same way we do today.

Finally, a novel structure is crucial when doing literary criticism.

The author must organize the narrative somehow to make it reach the reader, and need not necessarily be linear. A book with a complex structure was a resounding success was The Eight Katherine Neville. So, the author is able to organize its history? Does introduces the reader to the best possible way, ensuring that interested in it?

Literary criticism is in question, it is true. Literary blogs can become a very viable alternative, but few succeed. What is the reason? For the fact that, in most cases, managers of blogs are dedicated only to give an opinion (liked it or not) without going to really analyze the reasons. It’s not easy, of course. Not everyone is able to do so. But if you want to get your blog is a feasible alternative, you would do well to take into account all the factors we have considered throughout this series of articles when writing reviews.

About BookieMonster

Welcome to BookieMonster – Book blog, book reviews and all things bookie!

The BookieMonster!We created BookieMonster in March 2007 to sell awesome new and secondhand books on Trade Me. We worked very hard to build our reputation for good books and good service and ended our selling with heavy hearts and 100% positive feedback!

In 2009 I started this BookieMonster site so I could write about the things I love the most – Mr (Dean) Monster, books, kittys and guinea pigs. Mostly I write about books, of course. Book reviews, book links, interesting books stuff, book festivals (particularly in New Zealand) and book-related interviews.

You can read our Review Policy

Want to contact me? Sure!

If you have any concerns over privacy when emailing or commenting on this site you can read our Privacy Policy here.

So who is BookieMonster?

BookieMonster. Now with added sparkle.

BookieMonster. Now with added sparkle.

That would be me (Ngaire). I’ve been a book lover from a young age. I have a diverse range of favourite authors from Terry Pratchett to Janet Frame to Margaret Atwood to Kazuo Ishiguro. I think Leader of the Pack” by The Shangri-Las is the best pop song ever written and The Empire Strikes Back is the best movie ever made. I firmly believe that everyone looks better in sepia and in the future I hope to become a crazy old cat lady.

My lovely other half (also known as Mr Monster) did all the operational side of our book selling. His particular book interest is in military non-fiction, and in his spare time he’s an avid model-maker.

Blimpy was the 1st Evah BookieMonster Kitteh. She was a grumpy, old, slightly senile kitteh with bad teeth who was living it rough on the streets until she found her forever home with the BookieMonsters. Sadly Blimpy passed away on the morning of March 30, 2010. You can read her story.

Kittie is BookieMonster Kitteh the 2nd. She is another rescue cat who was unexpectedly in need of a home and so came to us. Her likes are sleeping, catnip, eating, catnip, chasing lasers, catnip, fighting with mousie, catnip and not doing what she’s told. Her dislikes are doing what she’s told and going to rehab for her catnip problem.

Review Policy

I am very happy to receive advance review copies of books to review on BookieMonster.

What do I read?

What a hard question to answer! I read a wide range of fiction and non-fiction. I am more in the literary fiction camp, however I like to read anything that’s well written. This includes books for adults, books for young adults and books for children. I really like books that are a little bit quirky or outside the mainstream. I REALLY like New Zealand books.

There are a few genres where I’m probably not the best person for the job. These would be Christian publishing, romance, self-help, spirituality and new age and sport. As with anything there are always exceptions to these but I am trying to be a little bit more precise so as to be helpful! :)

A few things to note:

I try to post my reviews as close to the release date as possible, please let me know if you require a specific date to post.

I am happy to review future and recent releases – I often post reviews of older books that I have in secondhand copies.

I’m happy to receive e-books, preferably in a Kindle-suitable file format.

I am happy to review self-published books if they are within my (admittedly vague) preferred genres.

I’m also happy to receive media releases, publicity material and if authors are available for email interviews that’s always good to know! If it’s something I think will interest my visitors I will post it.

And lastly, I always review books honestly, no matter the source.

If you need our postal or delivery address, please email me!

Thank you :)

5 most amazing accessories that you can buy for your Jeep Wrangler


 Jeep Wrangler is one of the most popular cars among the car enthusiast where the owner enjoys to get muddy. This vehicle comes with a sturdy look and it is something that you will be flaunting because of its beast-like appearance. It is very convenient to take your jeep wrangler for hunting or any adventurous places. If you want to improve the overall appearance of your Jeep Wrangler to another level then you will need some extra accessories. These accessories will enhance your driving experience and will also keep the vehicle maintained for long years. So, here in this article the best Jeep Wrangler part and accessories that one can install in the Jeep Wrangler are discussed.


Front bumpers


If you are having the stock bumpers then its usefulness is limited and they are not much durable. So, one of the most important wise decisions will be to install front bumpers in a Wrangler that will sit in the front. These bumpers are constructed by using impact resistant metals and they also come with added motorized winch mounts. But make sure that the parts are fitting with the generator of the Jeep Wrangler.


Breathing in water


If you want to increase the life of the Jeep Wrangler then you will need fresh air that will keep the engines cool and help it to move more properly. Deepwater will try to slow down the movement. So if you install the snorkel attachments then it will raise the wrangler’s height and increase its capacity of the air intake. If you install this accessory then it will also prevent your wrangler from going through expensive hydro lock damage.




You just can’t sacrifice your fun when the sun is going down. So you will need to install the lighting accessories which are very popular and extremely useful. People and now using the LED Technologies and they are very popular. Every Jeep Wrangler owner should have proper lighting solutions. You can install the bumper lights for getting the ultimate brightness. Always pick the size that will fit properly and will provide you with the ample amount of light.


More Fenders


Jeep Wrangler which comes with a wide tire will indicate that it has wide fenders. Apart from the cosmetic upgrade, it is also known to be a guard and an updated version of mud tires. They can easily toss out the rock and muds which will come in contact with the vehicle.




Winches will help you to escape from sticky situations. Winches are categorized by their weight. Winches are available in the market with different kind of pull ratings.


These are the 5 most purchased accessories which every wrangler has. You can get them at every budget-friendly price if you visit the right place. These five things will also help the Jeep Wrangler to stay maintained for long years. You can also install several other accessories that will protect your Jeep Wrangler in every situation like the harsh weather. Jeep Wrangler is taken to places where people experience adventure so make sure your vehicle is ready enough to handle the adventures and the roads.