Saturday, 31 March 2018

"Brilliantly written, character driven, laugh out loud funny….. Steven Scaffardi makes writing comedy look easy!" - Chat About Books reviews The Flood

The Flood, Steven Scaffardi, Chick Lit, Lad Lit, Funny Books, Comedy Novel,
This book review was originally posted on Chat About Books on Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Having read The Drought (Sex, Love and Dating disasters, Book 1) not so long ago (You can find my review here – The Drought) I just had to read The Flood as soon as I possibly could.

These books are just hilarious!! If you fancy a laugh, give them a go, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

I have thoroughly enjoyed catching up with Dan, Rob, Ollie and Jack (amongst others) again, but especially Dan. I definitely have a soft spot for him. He really needs to chill out and go with the flow a bit more. He tries far too hard, in an attempt to impress the ladies, and in doing so gets himself into all sorts of awkward situations!! (The men’s toilet scene with Dan and Ronnie! LOL!!!!!! One of many hilarious moments.)

In contrast to The Drought, where Dan fails to get his leg over for what seems like an eternity, The Flood sees him trying to juggle four different women and not at all successfully, bless him. It makes for a highly amusing read though. I loved it!

Brilliantly written, character driven, laugh out loud funny….. Steven Scaffardi makes writing comedy look easy!

I can’t wait for Book 3!

Friday, 30 March 2018

Amy's Bookish Life gives The Flood a four-star book review!

The Flood, Steven Scaffardi
This book review was originally posted on Amy's Bookish Life on Tuesday, May 10, 2016 as part of the #LadLitBlogTour

4/5 Stars
After reading The Drought and absolutely loving it, I had really high hopes for The Flood. I was really looking forward to getting stuck in and following the adventures of Dan Hilles once more.

After his eight month 'drought' Dan Hilles is ready to put his dating disasters behind him and get back in the driving seat, if only things were that simple. After a drunken afternoon, Dan bets his three friends that he can juggle multiple women at the same time within eight weeks. Sure enough, this isn't plain sailing as Dan soon finds out how hard it is to date four different women without them all finding out about each other. Things soon come to ahead in comical circumstances.

The Flood, like it's predecessor was absolutely hilarious, in a hurt your ribs laughing kind of way. I feel that in this book Dan got himself into more awkward situations than he did in The Drought. Some of them involving pub toilets, giant dogs, a strange flatmate, unfortunate train situations and fights. It was certainly humour at it's best. Like with The Drought it was so hard to stop myself from laughing when reading it in public and I certainly did get a few strange looks, which I couldn't care less about.

All the same characters that I'd grown to love in The Drought were back for The Flood such as Rob, Jack and Ollie and there were also new characters introduced which I found myself loving such as Ieuan and Steph. I found it quite endearing how Jack took Ieuan under his wing and called him 'Iron'. It was little things like that that made the book what it was. I found Dan in The Flood to be somewhat of a lovable prat. I found myself rolling my eyes and the lies he told and the predicaments he got himself into, but at the end of the day I couldn't stop myself from liking him. I think I liked him more in this, than I did in The Drought which I was quite shocked about to be honest.

What I also enjoyed about The Flood was the fact that yes we got the male perspective of things which we had in The Drought, but we also got to see a female perspective as well. In The Drought we didn't really find out a lot about the girls Dan was perusing, however in The Flood we got to find out a lot more about them. I found it rather interesting how my perception of Denise, Dan's 'stalker' changed after finding out some rather shocking things about her. I just found it to be a great thing to have the women in the story more of central thing in this book.

I found The Flood to be a great follow up to The Drought. It was full of the typical British lad humour that I'd come to expect and I couldn't stop myself from laughing. I love how the story ended on a cliffhanger leaving us wanting more and I for one cannot wait to read the next book in the series.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

"I am just going to come right out and say it, this book was friggin' hilarious!" Amy's Bookish Life reviews The Drought

The Drought, Steven Scaffardi, Lad Lit
This book review was originally posted on Amy's Bookish Life on Tuesday, May 10, 2016 as part of the #LadLitBlogTour

4/5 Stars
I'm a big fan of Chick Lit and I love immersing myself in it. However, I'd never heard of Lad Lit until Steven Scaffardi contacted me. The genre itself intrigued me and I knew I had to know more and delve into it with an open mind. The Drought was my first look into the world of Lad Lit and I must admit I was pleasantly surprised.

Dan Hilles is an average lad who after breaking up with his long-term girlfriend, Stacey, finds himself single and available. Having been out of the dating game for a long while, he is understandably a bit rusty. We go on a journey with Dan as he, alongside his friends Rob, Jack and Ollie attempt to end his drought and get back into the saddle. It isn't without its downsides though as we experience how hard it really is for Dan to talk to women, date women and get out of this Drought he has found himself in.

I am just going to come right out and say it, this book was friggin' hilarious! I found myself laughing at almost every single page. I was reading it in public at times and it was so hard too stifle my laughs. I couldn't believe some of the predicaments that Dan got himself into at times, and it just made the humour even funnier. The bit that got me the most was a moment between Dan, some condoms and a dog, it literally had me in tears of laughter. The dynamic between Dan and his friends Rob, Jack and Ollie reminded me of The Inbetweeners in a way. They had that sort of dynamic and I could somewhat imagine the four of them having their own show about their escapades. I know I'd watch it!

As this is Lad Lit, like Chick Lit it obviously had sexual scenes within it. I know some people may have a problem with that, but for me I found it perfectly reasonable for the genre. I feel like the scenes were handled well, and especially with this book they were also pretty laughable. I don't think anyone would really have a problem with them and if they do, then that's their own choice. I think many twenty-something lads would relate with Dan as a character. He is easily relatable and I'm sure many lads will have experienced some of the same things as he experienced throughout the book. He is, in my opinion a very real character, unlike so many others you get nowadays.

For my first look into Lad Lit, I admit I absolutely loved The Drought! It was funny, it kept me hooked and I found myself become rather immersed in the story. It was also great how typically British it was and I did love the fact that it was set in London. If you are looking into giving Lad Lit a go, definitely start off by reading The Drought. You will honestly love it!

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

The Top Five Things That Will Make You Read Lad Lit

The Top Five Things That Will Make You Read Lad Lit
This guest post was originally posted on Man of la Book on Monday, May 9, 2016 as part of the #LadLitBlogTour

The Lad Lit Blog Tour has been going strong for three weeks now, and I think it is fair to say I’ve managed to convert a good few people on both sides of the Atlantic to dip their toe in the lad lit pond, and the ripple effect of laughter has helped convince a few more along the way!

Still, the questions keep coming in from those who have not really heard of the genre before. What is lad lit? Will I enjoy it? To help answer those questions, I have put together a top five list of things that will make you want to choose lad lit as your next read.

1. Lad Lit is not perfect
Never has the average Joe been made to feel so image conscious. We live in a society where men are constantly told how we should strive to look like David Beckham, whether it’s on the pages on glossy magazines or TV adverts ramming it down our throats. But never fear, lad lit is here! Lad lit speaks the truth – it lives in the real world, not that plastic fantasy land where families like The Kardashians live. It paints the picture of what it’s like to really like to be a man, embracing all of our insecurities and imperfections. So screw you David Beckham and your good looks!

2. It brings balance to the world created by chick lit
This is not a dig at chick lit, far from it. But chick lit has a habit of creating wonderful mirages of how a man should act in a relationship, when the reality is that 9 times out of 10, men are hopeless at romance rather than hopeless romantics. But that’s okay, we are who we are, and lad lit paints that picture. My favourite analogy when comparing chick lit with lad lit is that if book genres were diets, then lad lit would be the rather dishevelled ‘before’ picture and chick lit would be the happy ever after ‘after’ image.

3. You will laugh. Lots.
I did stand-up comedy for a year back in 2011, and the one thing I learned is that people laugh the most at the stuff they can relate to. Lad lit is that awful first date you went on years ago that you still laugh about with your mates down the pub. I find that most lad lit is based on real life experiences of the author and/or his friends, so chances are you will read more than one story in a lad lit book and think: “Oh my God, I remember doing that!”

4. You’ve seen the films, now read the book!
Lad lit comes in many forms, so whether you are a fan of comedy movies like American Pie or charming coming-of-age tales like Stand By Me, chances are you’ll be a huge fan of lad lit. My very own debut novel The Drought has been compared to hit British TV series (and now two films) The Inbetweeners. These films are successful because at the heart of all the fun and charm, this is what men are really like, which is why we love them so much.

5. You are probably a fan of lad lit without even knowing it
Just because the term ‘lad lit’ is not very well-known, the authors who write within the genre are. Think of Nick Hornby (High Fidelity), Jonathan Tropper (This is Where I Leave You), Tony Parsons (Man and Boy), or Mike Gayle (My Legendary Girlfriend). There is a fairly comprehensive list of lad lit authors you have probably at least heard of before, if not already read one of their books. Check any of these guys out on Amazon or Goodreads and you will see a large number of 4 and 5 star reviews. If you don’t want to take my word for it, then trust the reading community at large. Steven Scaffardi is the author of the Sex, Love and Dating Disaster series. His first novel, The Drought, is the laugh-out-loud tale of one man’s quest to overcome the throes of a sexual drought. After the stormy break-up with his girlfriend of three years, Dan Hilles is faced with the daunting task of throwing himself back into the life of a single man. With the help of his three best pals, Dan is desperate and determined to get his leg-over with hilarious consequences!

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Chat About Books interviews author Steven Scaffardi

The Flood, Steven Scaffardi, Chick Lit, Lad Lit, Funny Book, Comedy Novel,
This interview was originally posted on Chat About Books on Sunday, April 24, 2016 as part of the #LadLitBlogTour

For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your books please?
Hi Kerry, I certainly can, and thank you for having me on your blog by the way. I’m a fairly standard thirty-something bloke (38 in case you really want to know – thirty-something just sounds a lot better than two years off 40!); a husband, father and ex-journalist. Oh and I used to do a bit of stand-up comedy as well.

I’ve written two books – both part of the Sex, Love & Dating Disasters series, which has often been called lad lit or chick lit for men. To be honest, as long as people laugh at my books, you can call it whatever you like!

The Drought was my first novel, chronicling the trials and tribulations of Dan Hilles as he attempts to re-enter the dating game after breaking up with his girlfriend of three years. The title of the book is a bit of a clue to how things turn out for poor Dan as he struggles to adjust back into the life of a single man.

The second novel is a follow-up to The Drought called The Flood. This time Dan finds himself with the opposite problem – having to juggle multiple women all at once after making a drunken bet with his friends that he could date four girls all at the same time. It doesn’t quite go according to plan for poor old Dan.

If I was to try and explain to someone what my books are like I would say The Inbetweeners meets Bridget Jones.

Where did/do you get your ideas from?
Sometimes I take personal experiences or those told to me by friends and exaggerate them for comedy value. Sometimes I unfortunately don’t have to exaggerate those experiences because my group of friends and I seem to have got ourselves into some fairly ridiculous scrapes over the years, although those days are all over now of course. We’re responsible adults now. Most of the time.

Other ideas just pop into my head at random times. I could be sitting on the train or out jogging and I’ll just see something or think of something and my mind takes over. I also find listening to music helps as different songs will remind me of certain things. I often create a playlist for the book I’m writing in the same way a movie has a soundtrack. I find that can really help fire up the one or two creative brain cells I have.

Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
Yes, they are. The four main characters are based on friends or combinations of friends, although they have taken on a life of their own now. It helped at the start to base them on people I knew because I would immediately know how they would react in certain situations.

Maybe that’s why I’m so fond of the four main characters, because I know them so well, and they’re the main reason I wrote a follow-up and decided to create a series. I never set out to write a series but I love these characters so much that I just wanted to write about adventures about them.

How do you pick your character’s names?
I go through the same process a parent goes through when trying to name their unborn child. I just keep throwing names out there until one sticks.

Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
I tend to cram it in where I can! My day job keeps me very busy and I have to travel around the world quite a lot, so I tend to take advantage of any long flights I might have to get lots of writing done. Other than that it’s maybe a couple of hours in the evening or on the weekends, although the arrival of my daughter 11 months ago has somewhat thrown a spanner in the works, because when the choice is between seeing that little smile and tapping away at the keypad, she has already got her daddy wrapped around her little finger.

Do you have a favourite author?
That’s a tough one. I’m a fan of other lad lit authors like Nick Hornby, Danny Wallace, Mike Gayle and Nick Spalding. I would pretty much pick up anything written by Ben Mezrich or Jeff Abbott, but right now I have a book crush on the anonymous author of The Bourbon Kid series. I love Quentin Tarantino films and this author is pretty much the Tarantino of the literary world. If you like that sort of thing, then go pick up a copy of The Book With No Name. You won’t be disappointed.

Were you a big reader as a child?
I wasn’t really, unless you count the Beano which I read religiously! I was too interested in going outside and playing. The funny thing is I loved to write stories as a kid. I remember when I was about seven I wrote a short story in class called The Time Machine with my own illustrations. My teacher thought it was so good she got the local library to put it in the children’s section. But it wasn’t until my late teens that I really discovered a love for reading and since then nothing has really changed.

When did you start to write?
As I mentioned, I enjoyed writing at school. Eventually I ended up studying journalism at university and I worked as a journalist for three years. But the writing bug never left me and like a lot of people, I always thought I had that one book inside me.

Five years ago that book came out of me, not literally, obviously, like a baby. That would be weird. But after always ‘thinking’ about it, I finally got around to just bloody ‘doing’ it and after three months The Drought was born.

Brilliant, I somehow made it sound like giving birth again.

What are you working on right now?
I have just finished my second novel The Flood. It is with the proofreader as we speak and as long as everything goes to plan, the eBook will be available on April 30 and the paperback will be published on May 19. You can actually pre-order the eBook now on Amazon for just 99p!

When can we look forward to a new release?
I’d love to say that I’ll have the third instalment of the Sex, Love & Dating Disasters series out by the end of the year, but that gorgeous little girl with the cutest little smile I mentioned earlier might just have a thing or two to say about that.

But the good news is I already have the outline for the third book planned. The working title is The Pact and sees the boys travel to Latvia where they bump into a number of unsavoury characters including a mafia don, a sleazy hotel boss and his strange wife, a pimp who works with two drag queens, a stripper, two corrupt cops and a henchman who calls himself Ray the Local. It’s a little bit different to the first two books, but it’s still lad lit and is (hopefully) going to be very funny.

How can readers keep in touch with you?
I normally arrange a little get together at mine the last Thursday of every month. All of my biggest fans turn up; Gary from number 32, old lad Linda, one-leg Dev, little Jimmy two-shoes, Big Babs and Tony the postman.

I’m kidding of course. Tony the postman hasn’t been over since the incident with the donkey. I told him it wasn’t my fault the donkey ended up in the shower with him, but he wouldn’t listen. Anyway, you or your good readers probably don’t want to hear about that.

Instead readers can keep in touch via my blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, Amazon and on Goodreads. All the usual suspects really. I try to keep myself active on social media as much as possible, but not on the new ones all the kids are using these days like Snapchat. I finally realised that I’m getting old when the younger people in my office tell me about these social media platforms I’ve never heard of before. I’d only just got the hang of blogging and then vlogging was the new thing. I can’t keep up – just email me, it’s much easier!

Monday, 26 March 2018

Four-star book review for The Drought (taken from Man of la Book)

The Drought, Steven Scaffardi, Lad Lit, Chick Lit, Books For Men, Funny, Comedy, eBook, Kindle Unlimited bestseller,
This book review was originally posted on Man of la Book in August 2013 as part of the judging process for the Shirley You Jest book awards

4/5 Stars
The Drought by Steven Scafardi is a novel which follows an unfortunate man trying to get laid. The title refers to the period the protagonist goes through between having sex. The book is being marketed as a genre called “lad lit” which, to me, seems appropriate.

Thoughts:
The Drought by Steven Scafardi is a funny book which takes place in England. The narrative flows smoothly and, while the situations are somewhat predictable, they are still funny and clever.

I really enjoyed the humor in this book, it was sometimes raunchy, but mostly sarcastic and worked as the guys kept on busting one another. There is a bunch of English slang in the book, which was fine and helped the narrative feel authentic. There were sports references galore and lude, crude men talk.

While this book is funny, it is also a bit sad and cynical because…hold on to your hats… it mostly rings true. Granted, we don’t all get into a humiliating situation every date, guys do stupid things in order to impress women (it’s in our genes) and we constantly think about sex (mostly during a “drought”).

And no, we didn’t learn a damn thing in the process. But don’t worry Dan, as everyone knows after a Drought… there is a flood.

Synopsis:
Dan Hilles broke up with Stacey, his long time girlfriend. Dan has been out of the dating game for so long he has no idea on how to proceed, talk to girls or even behave as a single man.

But Dan has his friends, Ollie, Jack and Rob who are there to help and also trip him for their own amusement. After all, what are friends for?

Dis­claimer: 
I got this book for free from Shirley You Jest! Book Awards.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

"If you want a book to make your eyes water, make your stomach hurt and cheer you up immensely you can't go far wrong with this one." BCB & More reviews The Flood

The Flood, Steven Scaffardi, Lad Lit, Funny Book, Comedy, Hilarious, Laugh Out Loud, eBook, Kindle, Chick Lit, Kindle Unlimited
This book review was originally posted on BCB & More on Sunday, May 8, 2016 as part of the #LadLitBlogTour

I came across Steven Scaffardi back in 2011 and his novel The Drought. This book has had a massively lasting impact on me and was (and still is) one of the funniest books I had read in a long time. It's a book that seems suited to most people and I think fits the bill in terms of women and men and I know that it was a massive success among my own circle of friends. Since then I have stayed in touch with Steven and been constantly hassling him as to when book 2 was out. It seemed that Steven's real life took precedence (how dare he) but now he has got around to releasing book 2 and it was definitely worth the wait. If you haven't read him before do yourself a favour and buy Book The Flood as well as the follow up, his latest release, The Flood (Book 2).

4/5 Stars
So finally I could delve back into the life of Dan Hiles and his equally crazy friends. Dan Hiles is again allowing himself to be led into stupid bets, and book 2 proves that when he takes a bet. Four girls, eight weeks and multiple dates. Dan's friends Jack, Rob and Ollie are largely responsible for the booze fuelled night where Dan accepts the bet but these three characters are also a must have staple for these books. Although Dan takes centre stage as we see his ridiculous attempts to complete the bet, his friends are there for the journey which makes the book even more funny.

MANY people reading this will be able to empathise with friends like Dan's. As we travel along with Dan things seem to take a more and more ridiculous turn with every bad decision he makes. For me the fact that Dan is a walking disaster makes the book even funnier. Now for some they may read the synopsis and think it's not up to much. The truth is, if you have a wicked sense of humour I cannot see anything you would find as a negative with this book.

It covers all types of situations, the sexist, the ridiculous and the outlandish. However add to that mix a bunch of brilliantly written characters both male and female, along with some excellent scenes that will have you belly laughing and you're on to a winner. Some people may wonder why I am praising this the hilt and then only give it 4 stars? Well the truth is the first book was SO funny that I accidentally spat my tea out while laughing really hard and managed to annoy the commuter in front of me. For me that initial book will always be my favourite and this one didn't quite match it. Other than that, there is nothing negative I can say about this book. I'm astounded a publisher doesn't demand to sign a deal with him as he has all the skill and talent of other Published male authors such as Mike Gayle and Matt Dunn.

If you want a book to make your eyes water, make your stomach hurt and cheer you up immensely you can't go far wrong with this one. I for one am waiting with baited breath for the next instalment which I have a sneaking suspicion will be even better!

Saturday, 24 March 2018

"This book is comedy genius!" - Chat About Books reviews The Drought by Steven Scaffardi

The Drought, Steven Scaffardi, Lad Lit, Chick Lit, Comedy Book, Comedy Novel, Funny Book
This book review was originally posted on Chat About Books on Sunday, April 30, 2016

The Drought has been patiently waiting on my kindle for a whole year!! I know!! My apologies, Steven, but better late than never. I’m working my way through my review list slowly, but surely.

I took part in Steven’s blog tour last year. You can find my post here: #LadLitBlogTour – Q&A with author, Steven Scaffardi

Anyway, if you haven’t already read this book you really should as it is hilarious! Reading it in bed, next to a sleeping husband, trying not to laugh out loud has been quite a challenge!

The main character, Dan Hilles, is struggling to get his leg over since splitting up with his long term girlfriend and The Drought follows his story as he counts the hours, days and weeks since the last time he had sex, and his failing attempts with the ladies. His three best friends, Jack, Rob and Ollie are all very different characters, but all likeable in their own way and together they are so funny. The banter between them is brilliant! Ollie cracked me up, Rob is quite the ladies man and Jack, well, I’m not quite sure what to say about Jack! I liked Dan and couldn’t help but feel sorry for him as he seems like a genuinely nice bloke. Some of the situations he gets himself into though……. and his Mum’s reaction to some of those situations!! LOL! I loved his Mum.

This book is comedy genius! I loved it and hope it isn’t too long before I get the chance to read the sequel, The Flood.

Friday, 23 March 2018

How My Legendary Girlfriend changed my life (…the book by Mike Gayle, not an actual girlfriend!)

Mike Gayle
This guest post was originally posted on Rather Fond of Books on Saturday, May 7, 2016 as prt of the #LadLitBlogTour

Today is my turn on Steven Scaffardi’s Lad Lit blog tour and I have a fab guest post by Steven to share with you. I was really happy when Steven suggested writing about how Mike Gayle’s My Legendary Girlfriend changed his life, as I remember reading that book soon after it was published and I loved it. It was something different that I hadn’t read before, so it’s very interesting to read how this book inspired Steven.

How My Legendary Girlfriend changed my life (…the book by Mike Gayle, not an actual girlfriend!)

Travelling up and down the country in the #LadLitBlogTour bus has given me plenty of time to research other great articles on lad lit, hidden in and around that big world wide web called the internet.

Earlier this week, I found this great piece on lad lit author Matt Dunn with Novelicious.com titled The Book That Changed My Life. Matt explains that it was Nick Hornby’s masterpiece High Fidelity that inspired him to write his first novel Best Man, which led to securing him a publishing deal.

It got me thinking – what was the book that inspired me to write lad lit? A lot of people have asked me on this blog tour why I write lad lit, and often my response has been because I was inspired by my own experiences and those stories told to me by friends. But the more I think about it, the more I start to realise how important My Legendary Girlfriend by Mike Gayle was to me writing The Drought.

In the summer of 2005 I moved out of my parents’ house and into my own flat in south London with a good friend of mine. After a game of paper, scissors, rock, to determine who got the bigger room, I found myself cramped into the box room wondering where the hell I was going to put all of my stuff.

I wandered into my flatmates bedroom to see if he had any space he could afford to lend me (he didn’t of course, I’d have to make do with shoving stuff under my bed), but I was drawn to his bookcase. I was looking for a new book to read, and after flicking through a couple of books that didn’t really take my interest, I picked up My Legendary Girlfriend.

It was one of four or five Mike Gayle books he had on his shelf. After reading the blurb, my flatmate told me what a great book it was, but being a man who had mainly read crime novels and other macho books like that, I turned my nose up at the thought of reading a book about relationships. “That was for girls,” I told him.

Still, it had secretly piqued my interest, and later on that night I found myself sneaking into my flatmates room to steal the copy off his bookshelf. Granted it was a bit awkward when he woke up at 2am and saw me in my boxer shorts hovering around his bed, but after time we got over the incident. Actually, we just don’t bring it up anymore…

But..! The next morning I found myself engrossed in Mike’s words as he articulated the male mind on the pages of a book like I’d never seen (or read) before. I was hooked – Will Kelly was a real bloke, who viewed the world, women, dating and love like a guy did. Not like one of those perfect specimens who appeared in the chick lit novels my then-girlfriend would read; the type of guy who made it virtually impossible for all other men to stand up against in the real world.

Instead Mike captured all of the quirks and insecurities that the everyday man goes through in matters of the heart. And you know what – it was funny too. Hilarious even! The best comedy is always the type of comedy you can relate to, and before you knew it I was sneaking into a flatmates room on a regular basis to pick up another Mike Gayle book. Looking back, it probably would have been better if I had just asked him if I could borrow the books. The least I could do is wear something other than just my boxer shorts every time I paid him an impromptu late night visit.

And years later, I’m still a fan of Mike Gayle, and like Matt Dunn admits to doing with High Fidelity, I often find myself referring back to one of Mike’s books when I get stuck or I am looking for inspiration. It has served me well, and one of the biggest compliments I got after publishing The Drought was TV presenter Ortis Deley saying: “A pleasantly darker alternative to the offerings of Mike Gayle. All hail the arrival of Steven Scaffardi.”

It was high praise indeed, and if I can be half as good a writer as Mike Gayle, then I’ll be a very happy man!

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Four-star book review for The Flood (taken from Hey Said Renee)

The Flood, Steven Scaffardi, Lad Lit, Comedy, Funny, Novel, eBook, Kindle Unlimited, Chick Lit
This book review was originally posted on Hey Said Renee on Friday, May 6, 2016 as part of the #LadLitBlogTour

This story of the nice guy trying to be a bad boy had me laughing out loud on several occasions. This is the second book in the series and although I really enjoyed it without reading the first book, I think The Flood would have been even better if I'd read The Drought.

The style of writing reminded me of the self depreciating humour of a stand up comedian (probably because, as it turns out, the author is a stand up comedian). I enjoyed the insight into the inner workings of a man's mind. The eclectic collection of women he was attempting to date at the same time had me hurling advice Dan's way, then the ridiculous situations he ended up in had me saying "I told you so".

If you're looking for some fun escapism, grab both these books, then wait with bated breath for the next one. Please tell me there will be a next one!

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

An Interview with Dan Hilles – Leading Man! (taken from Linda's Book Bag)

This character interview was originally posted on Linda's Book Bag on Friday, April 22, 2016 as part of the #LadLitBlogTour

Character Interview: Dan Hilles from the Sex, Love & Dating Disasters series

This week I am delighted to be joined by Dan Hilles – star of the Sex, Love and Dating Disaster series of lad lit novels by Steven Scaffardi. Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Dan. Please tell our readers a little bit about yourself.
Thanks Linda, it’s great to be here. What can I tell you about myself? I’m a pretty regular kind of guy – regular job, regular bunch of mates, regular male aversion to shopping. I appear in both The Drought and The Flood in lead roles, which isn’t as good as it sounds.

Indeed. Let’s start with your escapades – or lack of escapades I should say – in The Drought. The story starts off with you breaking up with your girlfriend, Stacey, of three years in what can only be explained as a rather terrifying ordeal. What do you remember about that day?
It was New Year’s Day. I’d had another pointless argument with Stacey the night before and woke up to 47 rather irate messages from her. It was the final straw. Some relationships just run their course, but I wanted to do the right thing so I went around to Stacey’s flat to talk to her. However, Stacey being Stacey didn’t quite see eye to eye with me on a few things, and before you knew it things get out of control and then her best friend Sophie appears out of nowhere and all hell breaks loose! I ended up having to leg it home before Sophie could do any real damage to. That girl has a screw loose!

So after three years you find yourself single again. How did that work out for you?
Not great. After being in a relationship for three years I had completely forgotten the rules of the dating game. It wasn’t too bad to begin with; I just thought I needed to get back into the swing of things. But as the days rolled into weeks and the weeks rolled into months I started to get anxious. It was as though every girl I met knew I was on this sexual drought, like I was giving off some sort of awful scent. Women like Obsession by Calvin Klein, but Desperation by Dan Hilles makes them run a mile.

You certainly suffered your fair share of dating disasters in The Drought. Can you share any of those stories without giving anything away to anyone who has yet to read the book?
It’s not something I look back fondly on. Put it this way – I learned a lot about what not to do! For example, don’t get steaming drunk on a first date and attempt to dance in an RnB club. White men can’t dance very well at the best of times, but throw in copious amounts of alcohol and some Usher, and before you know it you’ll end up like I did. Waving your arms around on the dancefloor like an octopus that only has two tentacles and is trying to compensate for the missing six is not a good look.

Sounds like you had it pretty tough. Luckily you had your friends and their male pearls of wisdom to help you get through it then?
If that’s what you call it! On one hand you have my best friend Rob who is so good looking that he only needs to look at a girl to get her excited, so trying to take on his techniques was a non-starter. Ollie is a nice guy, but I was hardly going to take advice from a man who thinks Kama Sutra was a foreign exchange student we went to school with. And don’t even get me started on Jack. That little idiot said he was going to help me improve what he called my ‘man moves’ and the less said about that, the better! You can read the book if you want to find out what happened because I can’t even bring myself to talk about anymore.

Oh dear, well let’s move on to a different subject then. Tell me about the new book The Flood. This time you find yourself with the opposite problem of having too many girls. How did this happen?
Everything was going brilliantly. I had a new job, I had just moved into a new place in Clapham and I’d been doing okay with the ladies. Life was good. Until we went to the pub one Sunday afternoon and the boys started to tease me; telling me I was too nice a guy to be able to juggle more than one girl once. Well, after one beer too many I’d had enough of their goading and I made a rather stupid bet that I could date four girls at the same time over the course of eight weeks. Big mistake. It complicated my life worse than the drought did!

Sounds like you let yourself in for a spot of bother! That pretty much brings our interview to a close. Thank you for joining me Dan. I’ll let you have the last word. Why should people read about your life in The Drought and The Flood?
Honestly, I’d rather they didn’t! But if they do want to read the books, then at least men will be able to find out what not to do when it comes to the opposite sex, and women can find out what really goes on in the male mind.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

An Interview With a Lad Lit Fan

This interview was olriginally posted on Hey Said Renee on Friday, May 6, 2016 as part of the #LadLitBlogTour

G’day fellow book lovers! It’s day 18 of the Lad Lit Blog Tour and I’m here in sunny Australia with Hey Said Renee. For the past two and half weeks I have been busy promoting my books and championing lad lit, but I’m worried people might be getting bored of hearing from me. So to change things up a bit, I interviewed chick lit fan and book reviewer Kell Smurthwaite, to get her take on lad lit…

Hi Kell, thank you for joining me for this interview to discuss everything lad lit as part of the Lad Lit Blog Tour. For readers who have never read lad lit before, how would you describe it?
That's a tough one, because Lad-Lit is such a wide-ranging genre that can incorporate anything from sci-fi to historical fiction to action, and everything in between. One thing that I do see recurring most often, though, is a darker sense of humour than Chick-Lit, which I love. I've also never really been a fan of romances, as I tend to find them a bit namby-pamby and very unrealistic, whereas, if there happens to be a bit of love interest in a Lad-Lit novel, there is that ever-present undercurrent of humour, and a little more realism, rather than idealism.

As a fan of both chick lit and lad lit, what do you think are the biggest differences and similarities between the two genres?
I think the way romantic encounters are portrayed are probably the biggest difference. As I mentioned before, there's that element of poking fun at the protagonist, and a more realistic approach to the foibles of the partners in Lad-Lit, whereas Chick-Lit often puts a soft focus on those scenes, painting a picture of the perfect man for the heroine. I live in an imperfect world, and I don't want an impossibly perfect image of a man – it kind of sets the standards too high for real life relationships, if you get what I mean! Lad-Lit definitely has the edge for me there. I guess I'd say the biggest similarity between the genres is the imperfection of the lead character. In Chick-Lit, you'll often have a ditzy girl who can't get her life together till she meets the right guy (I know, right? Since when was life made easier by love?), and Lad-Lit will often have a similarly clueless guy in the lead, often a bit of a Jack-the-lad, although, he doesn't always settle down when he finds the right girl. In fact, he usually screws it up in some way. I guess I prefer the complications involved there – far more realistic!

Who is your favourite lad lit author and why?
I love Nick Hornby! I recognise an awful lot of his leading men as being very like guys I know and have known in the past. I usually find them rather endearing, often because of, rather than in spite of, their idiosyncrasies.

What is the best lad lit book you've ever read?
I know it's probably a little clichéd to say it, but High Fidelity by Nick Hornby is one of my favourites. I think partially because of my own love of music, but largely because of how raw the emotions of Rob and Laura are portrayed. Their reactions to their relationship problems and life in general are very real and very, well, human. It's just a great book, full stop. Everyone should read it, male or female!

In your opinion, why has lad lit never hit the heights of chick lit?
The only reason I can think of could possibly be that reading has largely been seen as a more feminine pastime – although I know plenty of men who do read, I know far more women who do, and the reading men in my circle are heavily outnumbered by the non-readers. I love it when I see a guy reading. A man with a book in his hands is instantly infinitely more attractive to me – it shows he can engage his mind in a way to which I can personally relate. And let's face it, who doesn't love talking about their favourite books with other people?

If you had 20 seconds to convince someone why they should read lad lit what would you say?
People should just read, full stop! Seriously, pick up a book and start reading. It doesn't matter what genre, just read! And if you don't like the book you're reading, put it down and try a different one. There are so many great books out there, and if you don't enjoy reading, it's just because you haven't found the right book to light that fire in you that makes you want to keep going and read more. Find that book, and you'll never look back!

Monday, 19 March 2018

What is lad lit?

The Flood by Steven Scaffardi
This guest post was originally published on Linda's Book Bag on Sunday, March 27, 2016 as part of the #LadLitBlogTour

Talking lad lit with Steven Scaffardi...
Lad lit is a bit like the literary black sheep of the family. It’s made a few mistakes in the past and it is still paying for it now. It’s not like it hasn’t tried making amends, but it just seems that people don’t want to listen. If only they’d give it a second chance.

Even Wikipedia, that bastion of internet information, seems to be so upset that if you type ‘lad lit’ into their search box, it can’t even bring itself to refer to it by its rightful name in the first line of its description of the genre:

“Fratire” is a type of 21st-century fiction literature written for and marketed to young men in a politically incorrect and overtly masculine fashion.

Fratire? What the hell is fratire?! The sentence ‘a type of 21st-century fiction literature’ implies it’s not willing to attribute the fact that it is a real genre. It’s as good as calling it ‘a so-called fiction literature’ with as much contempt as you can muster. And what’s with the patronising inverted commas, used I’m sure in the same way like one of those annoying people who insist on holding their two fingers in the air and bending them down at the precise moment they utter a word that is unworthy of being part of the sentence leaving their mouth?

There is no doubt about it – Wikipedia does not like lad lit, and when the biggest encyclopedia in the world has an issue with you, what chance have you got?

Oh, you think I’m being over the top or too sensitive? Okay, let’s type ‘chick lit’ into the Wikipedia search box and see what it has to say about lad lit’s older, more respected sibling:

Chick lit or Chick literature is genre fiction which addresses issues of modern womanhood, often humorously and lightheartedly.

Hmmm, no inverted commas, the correct use of their name, no disdain pouring out from every syllable, just a pleasant and respectful description that makes you want to read a bit more, which is more than we can say about that awful little oik of brother of yours.

So what did lad lit actually do? Well, it uses the word ‘lad’ for a start; a word normally found loitering around in low-brow environments such as lads mags.

But what if lad lit was given a clean slate? What if the next time you saw those two little words you decided to give it a chance rather than dismiss it out of hand immediately? You’d be pleasantly surprised.

That’s why I started #LadLitSunday; a social media initiative to highlight the great work being written by lad lit authors. When you start to compile a list of authors leading the way in the genre, it’s hugely impressive.

Tony Parsons, Mike Gayle, Nick Spalding, Matt Dunn, Danny Wallace, Jon Rance.

Nick Hornby.

Just last month the undisputed king of lad lit was rubbing shoulders with Hollywood’s elite as he was nominated for a Best Screenplay award for a second time, hot on the heels of his Bafta win just a week before.

It was another accolade for the man who brought to life the Arsenal 1989 title winning season in a more romantic way than Michael Thomas’ winning goal itself, not to mention the brilliant Rob Fleming in High Fidelity. Fleming epitomised everything you have been told to hate about lad lit characters. As Wordspy.com, lad lit is: A literary genre that features books written by men and focusing on young, male characters, particularly those who are selfish, insensitive, and afraid of commitment.

Well you know what? Fleming was selfish, insensitive, and afraid of commitment, but it was for all of those reasons that Hornby’s book became such a huge success; transformed into a big screen adaption and musical.

Lad lit might not always conform to the chick lit rule of HEA, but it pays it a huge compliment by being the prelude to the HEA. If book genres were a diet then lad lit would be the ‘before’ picture and chick lit would be the ‘after’ image.

In my Sex, Love and Dating Disasters series I love exploring the hilarious situations people can relate to before they find that perfect partner. Lad lit is that awkward first date you still tell your friends about 10 years later. It’s the boyfriend you will forever wonder what was I thinking when I got with him? It’s what puts the com in romcom!

I recently interviewed Matt Dunn, best-selling author of The Ex-Boyfriends Handbook, and asked him to explain how male writers tackle a similar genre to our female counterparts differently. He said: “Personally, I think we just tell it how it is from our point of view. Or rather, how we see it. Which is kind of how it is, if you believe all that ‘perception is reality’ bollocks. Which I do, obviously.”

And that, in a nutshell, best sums up what lad lit is really about – a story told from a different perspective; not necessarily politically incorrect or overtly masculine fashion, and it certainly doesn’t always feature characters who are selfish, insensitive, and afraid of commitment.

So in the true fashion of those of you who love reading or are about to embark on a new book challenge, next time you happen to be sitting around one Sunday afternoon looking for that next book, promise me you’ll check out the hashtag #LadLitSunday and you might just find that alternative HEA you have been looking for.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

The Drought by Steven Scaffardi book review (taken from Bookaholic Confessions)

This book review was originally posted on Bookaholic Confessions on Friday, April 29, 2016 as part of the #LadLitBlogTour

4 Stars
When Dan Hilles breaks up with his long-term girlfriend something very odd seems to happen to him. He suddenly becomes tongue-tied around the opposite sex and appears unable to even strike up a (normal) conversation with a girl, let alone ask one out on a date… This results in Dan finding himself in what he refers to as a ‘Drought’. The longer the Drought goes on, the harder Dan tries to find himself a date, leading to some very awkward, unusual and down-right hilarious consequences. Why has it suddenly become so impossible for Dan to land himself a date? After all, he’s a ‘seven-out-of-ten’ kinda’ guy and his bunch of quirky yet loveable friends seem to have no trouble attracting the ladies. Will ‘The Drought’ ever end or is Dan destined to stay date-less for ever (gulp)?

‘Lad-Lit’ is a genre that I have grown to love over recent years. It seems to be something which is becoming more and more prominent and its unique-selling-point seems to be that it’s one of those rare types of novel which appeal to both men and women. I would class ‘lad-lit’ as Mike Dunn, Nick Spalding, Jon Rance (a selection of authors who I absolutely love!)…And I can now firmly add Steven Scaffardi to that list because if lad-lit is your thing then The Drought is a must-read. I think the main reason novels such as The Drought appeal to both male and female readers is because of two reasons. Firstly, for male readers, they will undoubtedly be able to relate to this story. It could be written about them and their group of friends. It’s funny, realistic and has a narrator talks total sense (to them at least…!) and is also incredibly likeable. From the female perspective, this novel is almost like an insight into the workings of the male mind. It’s amazing to read about the thoughts and ideas that run through Dan’s head (and it’s also extremely funny at times…And kind of scary, actually.)

Bearing in mind that this is a novel based around the lives of a group of four young men, there is the usual selection of banter, boobs and bottoms. Although I think you’d assume that this might be the case from the get-go so don’t be outraged if it’s not your cup of tea.

As a female reader I completely warmed to Dan. Ok, there might have been times when he did/said/believed the silliest of things but that’s all part of his charm. His heart is in the right place and I was totally on his side throughout. It was brilliant when he would do something seemingly innocent only for it to totally backfire on him. Your heart will go out to him whilst you’re quietly chuckling to yourself. Admittedly it’s usually his friends who get him into these cringe-worthy situations and for this reason they are a cracking set of characters. Their friendship group is both hilarious yet realistic and they certainly made me chortle when they got together. My favourite moments include their outing to Brighton (exotic dancers, anyone!?) and when Rob, Ollie and Jack individually coach Dan to get him ‘back in the game’; this involves overhauling his style, fitness levels and teaching him other, erm, things of vital importance. I liked Rob the best (You’ve got to love a guy who knows his fashion, am I right?) I also really liked the relationship between Dan and his work colleague, Kelly. They have great chemistry and I am SO pinching their game of ‘Office Dare’!

Lots of books are described as being ‘laugh-out-loud’ funny, but The Drought genuinely will have you sniggering. In fact, more than sniggering…Try a great, big, good old belly laugh. I love books like this – books that can completely take my mind off everything else and make me smile. This novel really was a brilliantly funny, well constructed, light, fun-filled read.

There are so many stories centred around dating from the female-perspective that it made a refreshing change to read a novel from a male point of view. Not necessarily one for the faint hearted, but if you’re a fan of humour and cheekiness then you’ll love Dan’s misadventures.

I personally am really looking forward to the follow-up, The Flood. I miss blundering-yet-loveable Dan and his coin-purse…

Steven Scaffardi Author Interview (taken from Bookaholic Confessions)

The Flood by Steven Scaffardi
This interview was originbally posted on Bookaholic Confessions on Friday, April 29, 2016 as part of the #LadLitBlogTour

Hi Steven, welcome to Bookaholic Confessions! Thank you so much for participating in this interview. Would you like to start by introducing yourself…?
Hi Holly, thanks for having me! Well as you know my name is Steven and I am the author of The Drought and The Flood; two comedy books about relationships from a man’s point of view, and both part of the Sex, Love & Dating Disasters series.

Can you tell us a bit about your debut novel The Drought (Sex, Love and Dating Disasters)?
I sure can! The Drought is the laugh-out-loud tale of one man’s quest to overcome the throes of a sexual drought. After the stormy break-up with his girlfriend of three years, Dan Hilles is faced with the daunting task of throwing himself back into the life of a single man. With the help of his three best pals, Dan is desperate and determined to get his leg-over with hilarious consequences!

…And also about your follow-up to The Drought, The Flood (released April 2016)?
The Flood picks up where The Drought left off, although it’s written in a way that you don’t have to have read the first book to pick up the second. This time round Dan makes the mistake of making a bet with his best friends that he can juggle more than one girl at the same time, and a series of comical situations ensue as Dan buckles under the pressure of dating his ex-girlfriend, a stalker, the office ice queen, and the one that got away. It is available now to pre-order for just 99p (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flood-Love-Dating-Disasters-Book-ebook/dp/B01D1U7Z0I/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8). It will be released as an eBook on April 30 and the paperback will be available on May 19.

I am really looking forward to reading both books; they sound brilliant! I have to ask – are there elements of yourself in your lead character Dan Hilles or is he entirely fictional?
Unfortunately yes! The Drought is loosely based on a period in my life in my early 20s. I had just come out of a long-term relationship and had basically forgotten how to talk to girls and struggled getting myself into the dating game! Both books take stories from personal experiences or those of friends, and I sprinkle a large dose of exaggeration on top for comedy effect. It’s funny watching my wife read the books and then turn to me and say: “Please tell me this bit didn’t happen to you!”

Chick Lit Plus described your debut novel as ‘Chick Lit for Men’ I think chick lit novels written from a male perspective are such a great idea, but what’s it like writing for a genre that is dominated by female authors?
It’s hard in that you are going against the norm. Chick lit is normally written from the female point of view so (most of) the readers can relate. Plus they all tend to have a HEA ending. But lad lit is more like the frowned upon little brother of its more successful chick lit sibling. I think the biggest problem is that most readers are simply not familiar with lad lit or it has a bit of a stigma attached to it. But I’ve had lots of readers – male and female – read my books who have never picked up a lad lit novel before and told me how much they enjoyed it. As the series name suggests, it’s about the fun side of dating that doesn’t always go right, yet most people will admit they are the stories they remember the most.

The Drought (Sex, Love & Dating Disasters, #1)As well as being a writer you are also a stand-up comedian. Is it a profession that is as terrifying as you might imagine?
I haven’t actually done any stand-up comedy since 2012 – the day job took over I’m afraid, but when I used to do stand-up I can honestly say it was the best buzz I’ve ever had. Yes, the first time it was terrifying but once you start to find your rhythm and have a few jokes in your back pocket that will guarantee an odd laugh or two, it becomes less daunting. The nerves are always still there (the prospect of dying on stage is never far from your mind) but it becomes like a drug. The better you get at it, the more you look forward to getting up on stage. I miss it, but I had to find a way of paying the bills and unfortunately I wasn’t that funny so I had to stick with the 9-to-5.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I have always enjoyed being a storyteller and like most people I always thought I had a book in me, but it wasn’t until I was around 24 or 25 that I thought about it seriously. I studied journalism at university, wrote for a few magazines before becoming sports editor for a local paper. I quit journalism when I was around 27 because the money wasn’t great, but that love of writing and storytelling never went away.

What’s the best thing about writing comedies?
I think it’s the same thing as being a stand-up comedian – it’s being able to make people laugh. Seeing somebody laugh out loud because something you have said or written is hugely satisfying. I think it’s an incredibly difficult art that probably doesn’t get the credit it deserves. I have huge respect for stand-up comedians who go on stage and make people laugh for an hour. The longest set I ever did was 15 minutes and trying to come up with enough material to last 15 minutes was challenging enough let alone a whole hour. It is the same with writing a comedy novel. Writing 300+ pages of funny situations has its challenges, but so far, so good.

Who are your favourite authors and which type of books do you enjoy reading?
I like anything from my fellow lad lit authors to thriller and crime novels. My favourite authors at the moment are Danny Wallace, Jeff Abbott and Ben Mezrich, but my favourite book in recent times is the Bourbon Kid series. I can’t tell you the authors name because he is anonymous, but his novels are just brilliant. Imagine Quentin Tarantino in a supernatural world full of wonderful movie clichés. They are such good fun to read.

And finally – can you tell us a bit about what you’re up to at the moment?
I have only recently finished writing The Flood so I am busy trying to promote that at the moment, but I am already work on the framework for my third book. This is a bit of an exclusive for you as I haven’t told anyone else this yet. At the moment the working title is called The Pact and it is the third book in the Sex, Love & Dating Disasters series. This time round, Dan and his pals travel to Latvia and get themselves into all sorts of trouble with a bunch of gangsters, drag queens, pimps, cops and lots more. It’s a little bit different to the first two books, but I love writing about these characters so much that I’m hoping other people and fans of the series will like it too.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

The 10 Lad Lit Books Every Chick Lit Fan Should Read

Lad Lit, Chick Lit,  High Fidelity, Nick Hornby, Man and Boy, Tony Parsons, My Legendary Girlfriend, Mike Gayle, The Ex-Boyfriend’s Handbook, Matt Dunn, Love… From Both Sides, Nick Spalding, Charlotte Street, Danny Wallace, This Thirtysomething Life, Jon Rance, This is Where I Leave You, Jonathan Tropper, Starter for Ten, David Nicholls, The Drought, Steven Scaffardi,
This guest post was orioginally posted on For The Love of Chick Lit on Wednesday, May 4, 2016 as part of the #LadLitBlogTour

From the moment I published my debut novel, The Drought, five years ago I have been on a mission to fly the flag for lit. For me, in terms of contemporary fiction, lad lit is up there with the very best, yet it doesn’t necessarily get the recognition it deserves.

Lad lit is best known as the male equivalent of chick-lit, primarily written by men exploring relationships, emotions and day-to-day life experiences from the perspective of a male protagonist. Often told with humour, charm and wit, lad lit leaves many readers laughing out loud at the scenarios men get into.

Since 2011, I have spoken to and engaged with a number of people – authors, bloggers and readers – who were already fans of lad lit or were new to the genre but fell in love instantly, and a lot of them were both women and chick lit fans.

This list is created from those numerous conversations, ratings on sites such as Amazon and Goodreads, and reviews on book blogger sites. I hope you enjoy and maybe discover a new love for lad lit…

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
In boxing terms, there are two major heavyweights in this genre. One is Nick Hornby and the other is Tony Parsons, and for me Hornby just edges it by split decision. High Fidelity is probably his most well-known work. It explores the world of break-ups, make-ups and what it is to be in love.

Man and Boy by Tony Parsons
It is rumoured Parsons wrote this tale of a man who has the perfect life and throws it all away, based on his own personal experience. The British author pens a wonderfully crafted story about how one bad choice can flip your whole life upside down.

My Legendary Girlfriend by Mike Gayle
Mike Gayle’s books are the perfect example why lad lit is often referred to as ‘chick lit for men’. Over the past two decades, arguably no other author in the genre has been as consistent as Gayle at producing hit after hit. My Legendary Girlfriend was his debut novel and still stands the test of time.

The Ex-Boyfriend’s Handbook by Matt Dunn
The Ed and Dan trilogy (The Ex-Boyfriends Handbook/Ex-Girlfriends United/Accidental Proposal) is to lad lit what Back to the Future is to movies – a bloody good threesome! Dunn admits that Dan is probably his most popular character, and it’s easy to see why as he attempts to help his friend Ed get back on track after being unceremoniously dumped by his girlfriend for letting himself go a little bit!

Love… From Both Sides by Nick Spalding
Anything Matt Dunn can do, Nick Spalding can do one more! His Love… series has now spanned four novels. Love… From Both Sides used the clever concept of switching between the male and female lead characters every other chapter so the reader go both sides of the story (hence the name).

Charlotte Street by Danny Wallace
‘Danny Wallace is a man, but he is still learning some of life’s hardest lessons.’ That’s how Danny is described in his award-winning Shortlist magazine column, and that same wit and humour comes through in his first foray into fiction with this brilliantly clever story about a man trying to track down a woman by using the pictures he has developed from the disposable camera she left behind.

This Thirtysomething Life by Jon Rance
Similar to Nick Spalding, Jon Rance is another lad lit author who made the successful transition from self-published author to the big time following the huge success of the Amazon best-seller This Thirtysomething Life. This book beautifully captures the insecurities of men who are afraid to grow up.

This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
Another lad lit success that was transformed to the big screen (High Fidelity being the other), This is Where I Leave You is the hilarious and heartbreaking story of Judd Foxman who is facing divorce and unemployment while coming to terms with the death of his father. Written by diversely talented Jonathan Tropper, the man behind HBO crime thriller, Banshee.

Starter for Ten by David Nicholls
Most chick lit fans will probably know David Nicholls for One Day, but it is his debut novel Starter for Ten is probably more popular in lad lit circles. The story of Brain Jackson trying to win the affections of his university quiz teammate is nostalgic, funny and heart-warming.

The Drought by Steven Scaffardi
I know what you’re thinking – I’ve written this list and added my own book! But don’t take my word for it – here is what Chick Lit Plus had to say about The Drought: “Being a female, I sometimes have difficulty relating to the main characters, but not with this one. Steven Scaffardi’s first novel is absolutely hilarious and will leave every reader, male or female, laughing out loud.”

The Flood by Steven Scaffardi book review (taken from My Book File)

The Flood by Steven Scaffardi book review
This book review was originally posted on My Book File on Sunday, March 6, 2016

4/5 Stars
Dan Hilles is ready to spice up his love life after eight months of drought. After spending the afternoon in the pub with his three best friends, he makes a bet. He has to date four women simultaneously in eight weeks, without them finding out about each other, just to prove a point. Dan is more than ready for the Flood to come his way. What could possibly go wrong?

I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

“The text alert pierced my ear drums like someone has just plunged a needle into the side of my head. Blinking hard, my eyes momentarily struggled to recognise my own bedroom.”

Meet Dan Hilles. A great guy living in London, a nice guy… with a hangover and no idea what has happened, only to discover that during the night he somehow ended up in the same bed with two of his friends. From that point onwards it seems like the unimaginable happens to Dan. He gets his very own stalker, his new roommate is somewhat mental, he gets another chance with the girl who’s got away, he gets a chance to make the ultimate man-dream come true and he can make some money by winning a bet. But is anything ever easy when a woman is involved? And Dan has not just one but four women to worry about at the same time, because that is part of the bet. Will he pull it off or will he fall into a death-trap?

I confess that I was nearly dying of laughter most of the time while reading this book. First of all I think it’s great that this book gives mostly a man’s perspective of things but also a woman’s perspective on some occasions. Secondly I loved the use of language in this book. I can imagine that some people might find it a little to direct sometimes but I had no problem with that whatsoever and I loved the way Scaffardi put thing down in such a matter-of-fact-way that even the most bizarre events seem completely logical. Some of the stuff that happens to Dan seems so surreal but at the same time he and all that he goes through are so relatable. I mean let’s be honest we all have, or some of us are in fact, that somewhat unlucky friend. Here’s a small example of what I mean with the above:

“I carefully tried to navigate the phone out of my pocket without inappropriately touching any of the people who were cramped around me, but of course all I succeeded in doing was brushing my hand down the back of the bald guy in a completely unintentionally seductive way.”

This small passage comes from a scene where Dan is train. There are loads of people there and I guess that most of us have been in this situation once or twice (or maybe more often). It’s so relatable, I loved it, I really did. There are so many of these small things in life that have been put in this book, it’s just a great touch to the whole. Then there are the characters. The interaction between the characters are just great and the situations they get themselves into… well what can I say it’s just hilarious. What I liked about most characters is that they were well formed, they were not just portraying one sort emotion or any one-dimensional trait but they changed during the book. The minor characters are not just there either! Some of them are able to make a specific scene, like the bald guy in the train.

So in short:
I think this was great and I had fun reading it. Dan is a nice protagonist, the use of language suits the story and the characters will take you from one crazy situation into another. Overall I think it was just a great romance/comedy/chicklit kind of novel and I’m really looking forward to the next one, though I think that may take a while :’)

The Drought by Steven Scaffardi book review (taken from My Book File)

This book review was originally posted on My Book File on March 14, 2016. 

4/5 Stars 
Dan Hilles is just a normal guy with a job, a small group of friends and a long-term girlfriend, but not for long. Things start to change for Dan when he breaks-up with his girlfriend Stacey and he finds himself single again for the first time in three years. Unfortunately for him things don’t change in his favour and he enters a period of drought. With some near death experiences, more than a couple of awkward dates and some really embarrassing situations, things are getting real complicated. But Dan has a goal and he will not stop until he ends the drought.

I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

“We sang it loud. We sang it proud. We sang it with passion. We sang it completely tone deaf. But it didn’t matter. It was the perfect end to the evening.”

Dan has been with Stacey for three years now but she has changed a lot since he met her at university. It all goes wrong at new years even when they get into another fight and Dan decides to spend the night with his friends instead of with her. After the nearly fifty messages she left him that night alone, he decides to put an end to it. But things don’t really go as planned and instead of breaking up kind of ‘peacefully’ he gets kicked out of the house by Stacey best friend Sophie who wants to kill him with a baseball bat. From that point on things change, but not for the better. Time and again Dan gets himself into the must stupid and surreal situations, even his friends are unable to help him break the drought and as it goes on Dan is getting more desperate. Rob, Ollie and Jack try to help him as best as they can but even their knowledge combined can’t save Dan from making a complete fool of himself. He even manages to get on the television twice! (not under the best circumstances but heej there is no such thing as bad publicity right?)

So yes I did read the sequel first but that doesn’t matter because this book is just as awesome, funny and amusing ^_^ Why you ask? Well here is why:

This book is everything I hoped it would be. There are the familiar yet unimaginable situations he is able to get into. He does it all on his own and I have to say that is very impressive. I’ve got more than one favourite scene is this book but I think that this one is the one I loved the most:

“‘I bumped into Simon Peterson yesterday.’ Rob said. ‘He lives on Mantilla Road.’
‘So what?’ I sneered.
‘He happened to mention that he saw you on his road on Wednesday night,’ Rob announced. ‘He was working on his car. He would have said hello, but you sprinted past him at a ferocious pace with a dog chasing you.’
‘Was it a poodle?’ Ollie questioned.
‘No it wasn’t a poodle,’ I said. ‘It was a big horrible, snarling beast.’
‘Simon said it was a sausage dog.’ Rob said and they all started laughing again.

This is a scene where Dan is having a drink with his friends and yes they’re making fun of him again. Now what happened before this is quite hilarious because it has to do with a date that would have stopped Dan’s drought. Dan got a second chance with Grace and just as they were going to take it one step further, he discovers that he doesn’t have any condoms with him. Getting dressed to get some at a store nearby, he runs out of Grace’s house but by the time he has to get back he finds out that he has no idea how to get back at all. That is when, after walking some time, he encounters a big horrible snarling beast… that turned out to be a sausage dog.

This book was so much fun to read and even though I read the second book first it didn’t affect me at all because everything that happened was just as unexpected. The amazing characters combined with the easy use of language, the everyday scenes and hilarious situations made for a great book. Again this book brings the whole dating-scenario from a totally different perspective. Not from the female point of view but from a man’s and that makes it all the more fun to read. It is that I am a woman myself but by reading this I understand that most man don’t understand women at all, sometimes even I don’t understand women (or myself for that matter) at all. Some of the language and scenes might be a little too harsh or descriptive for some people but that just made it better in my opinion.

Overall I think the book was great and it was so much fun to read. I would recommend this book to everyone who loves romance/comedy/chicklit kind of novels. I give this book four stars because me really likey.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Steven Scaffardi Author Interview (taken from My Book File)

The Drought by Steven Scaffardi
This interview was originally posted on My Book File on Wednesday, April 20, 2016 as part of the #LadLitBlogTour

Hi Steven, thank you for joining me today as part of The Lad Lit Blog Tour. Before asking you questions about the lad lit genre and your series, however, I want to ask you something else. After discovering that you studied journalism, I wondered… what did you do after your studies? And most importantly: why did you want to become an author?

Hi Cindy, thank you for having me! After finishing university I freelanced for a while at lads mags and sports magazines. Eventually I ended up working as the sports editor for a local newspaper and did that for about three years. It was great fun but as most journalists will tell you, the money is not great! Eventually I changed career paths, but I still work in a similar industry. I had always enjoyed writing stories from a young age, but I’d never really thought about becoming an author until a few years ago. I was like a lot of people and always thought I had a good book in me, and eventually it came out!

I must admit that I am guilty of not knowing about ladlit before I started to read your series of Sex, Love & Dating Disasters. I have read some novels by Mike Gayle, but I never actually gave the genre much thought (except for the fact that is looked like chicklit but it wasn’t quite the same). Can you tell me the full and honest truth about what the genre ladlit is actually all about?

Not many people have really heard of lad lit, which is why I thought this blog tour would be a great idea! Like you, lots of people have probably read books by what I’d consider to be lad lit authors, but because the genre doesn’t really get a lot of press, you don’t realise it! Lad lit is basically the male equivalent of chick lit, often called chick lit for men. Lad lit will feature a male protagonist or a group of guys, and will often explore themes such as relationships, dating, love, but all told from the male perspective. I often use the analogy that if book genres were diets then lad lit would be the ‘before’ picture and chick lit would be the ‘after’ image! As most women know, men are pretty hopeless at the best of times when it comes to romance even though we think we know it all, so lad lit opens up the reader’s mind to what men really think. A few weeks ago I wrote a couple of guest blogs in an attempt to try and answer the question as to what lad lit is and you can check them out at By The Letter Book Reviews and Linda’s Book Bag, or follow the hashtag #LadLitBlogTour on Twitter and hopefully it will all start to make a bit more sense!

What moved you to write The Drought and The Flood in the ladlit genre?

I didn’t specifically set out to write in the lad lit genre (to be honest I wasn’t even aware of lad lit until a reviewer read The Drought and called it lad lit!). I wanted to write a comedy about dating and relationships but from the point of view of the man. My wife is a huge romcom fan and I’ve sat through countless films with her where I end up shouting at the TV ‘But a man wouldn’t say that!’ At the time I was also performing stand-up comedy, and a lot of what I would talk about on stage would be about dating and relationships. A lot of my jokes came from my own experiences or stories friends would tell me about, especially those about dating and girls, so I had lots of material and decided one day just to put it all down on paper and The Drought was born.

The situations in your series appear to me as unimaginable. Every time I read about poor Dan Hilles and his misfortune I have to choose between laughing or feeling sorry for the man (to be honest, I usually just laugh). Are the books based on your own experiences or did you make it all up?

Unfortunately yes, they are! Especially the story in The Drought. That is loosely based on a period in my life in my twenties when I had just come out of a long-term relationship and had completely forgotten the rules of the dating game. Most of the stories in that book are true (either my own experiences or those of friends), with a huge dose of exaggeration sprinkled on top. The Flood probably has less real life experiences, but you always hear stories about the ridiculous things guys say or do when they’re trying to impress a girl, so I try to wrap that all up in the story. Dan Hilles, Sex Love and Dating Disasters, The Drought, Characters, Characters from books, images of characters from books, Lad Lit, Dick Lit, Fratire, Chick Lit, Lad Lit characters, Chick Lit characters, Funny book, Comedy book, eBook, Kindle, Novel, Paperback, Dating, Dating Disasters, Relationships, Rom Com, RomCom, Steven Scaffardi,

I discovered, after some snooping around on your blog, that you actually have Characters Bios! As a reader, I think that it is really awesome that you took the time to actually have the characters and their personalities all worked out. What gave you the idea to write out and create the characters this extensively? And do you sometimes consult the bios yourself as well when you are writing?

Thanks! It’s something I believe is really important for a writer. I want to know as much about my characters as possible – whether they happen to appear in one chapter or all of the chapters. The more you know about a character, the easier it is to write about how they would react in certain situations. I got a really talented guy called Jamie Sale at Toonjam Studios to create cartoon characters for all the characters in both books. For me it is just a nice touch for the reader. Whenever I read a really good book I always want a little bit more. I want to know what happened to the characters, what they really look like. That is the main reason why I wrote The Flood as a follow-up. I fell in the love with the characters I had created and I wanted to know what they got up to next. I never set out to write a series, but now I’m hoping that the Sex, Love and Dating Disasters series will have another three or four books to come.

If you could take any of the women from The Drought and The Flood out on a date, who would you pick and why?

That is a great question! Probably the best question I have ever been asked about my books. It’s a tough choice because as you’ll know (without giving anything away) the girls in my books are not always the type of girls you would want to spend a lot of time with! I have always had a soft spot for Grace, but in terms of going out on a date that you’d never forget it has to be Denise (Dan’s stalker from The Flood). You couldn’t date Denise for very long but there’d be no shortage of fun with her. She would probably drive you to a nervous breakdown in the process, not to mention her ex-boyfriend Ronnie always lurking around, but what a thrill ride it would be! You’d certainly have some great stories to tell you friends down the pub.

The Flood will be released the 30th of April. Which scene did you love to write the most and why?

Hmmm, there is one scene I really like but I can’t really say too much about it without giving something away to someone who hasn’t read the book before. With that in mind, there are two other scenes I really enjoyed writing. The first is when the boys end up in a pub in Nottingham and all hell breaks loose and they find themselves in a massive pub brawl. One reviewer said of that scene: “Funniest bar fight scene in the history of literature. I laughed so hard I woke up my snoring girlfriend.” I’m a big Quentin Tarrantino fan and I think that scene is the closest any of my books would get to his world, in a funny way of course. The other scene involves Dan’s journey to work on the train. I love observational comedy and I think lots of people relate to and laugh at the things we all do every day. For example, every guy who travels to work on public transport will have at least once in their life experienced the moment when they are sitting down on a packed train and they see a woman and think: “Is she pregnant?” In my own experience getting the answer to that question wrong can be very awkward if you offer you seat to a woman who is not pregnant!

Since I have already had the pleasure of reading The Flood, here is my final question for you: What can we expect from you next?

I am already planning the third instalment of Sex, Love and Dating Disasters. The working title is The Pact and sees Dan and his mates head over to Latvia in search for a girl who dated one of Dan’s friends. It’s a little bit different to the first two books, and is a bit of a tribute to one of my favourite books, The Book With No Name, in that the reader will meet a whole host of weird, wonderful and whacky calendars including a Russian mafia don, two drag queens, two karaoke singing cops who love Wham, a pimp who thinks he is living in the 70s, a sleazy hotel boss and his strange wife, and a henchman called Ray the Local.

Steven, thank you so much for your honesty and for the opportunity for this amazing interview! I had a great time and, to be honest, you’ve made my week ^_^ Enjoy the rest of the tour and I’m looking forward to reading The Pact!

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Lad Lit - who'd have thought....

The Drought by Steve Scaffardi
This post was originally posted on Boon's Bookcase on Tuesday, April 19, 2016 as part of the #LadLitBlogTour

Lad Lit - who'd have thought....
I must admit, when Steven Scaffardi contacted me to ask if I would like to be a part of his Lad Lit Blog Tour, I didn't know what he meant, but if you can have chick lit, then why not lad lit!!

Join me for the first date of this massive Blog Tour and I hope you enjoy maybe your first taste of "Lad Lit"! and you can download a free e-book as well.

Guest Post
One month, 39 blogs, five countries, three continents and a whole host of interviews, character Q&A’s, guest blogs, book reviews and the odd giveaway – I am taking lad lit global. From London to California, Bradford to Texas, Ipswich to Montana; the #LadLitBlogTour bus will be globetrotting from as far afield as Australia then back into Europe across Scotland and The Netherlands, and it all starts here in Kent, England at Boon’s Bookcase…

“And why are you doing this?!” I hear you scream from your favourite reading armchair. Because I believe lad lit has not been given the exposure it deserves. It’s almost like a nonentity! Pop into any high street bookstore or online book retailer and you’ll find categories for horror, suspense, thriller, religion, history – there is even a bloody pets section! That means that Fido the bunny rabbit who lives in your garden even has his own reading section.

But what about Nick Hornby? Or Mike Gayle? And let’s not forget the likes of Danny Wallace, Matt Dunn, Nick Spalding and Jon Rance. I could go on!

Where do all these great writers live? Comedy maybe. Chick lit possibly. Self-help perhaps (in the cases of some men!).

No, I’ll tell you where they live – in fiction. That’s right, fiction. The place where everyone lives! Stephen King drops by when he is not staying at his luxurious holiday home in horror. Sophie Kinsella lives there while her chick lit mansion is being renovated. JK Rowling stays over whilst her Fantasy castle is being relocated to Monaco. And as all these wonderful authors come and go as they please, poor old Hornby and co can do nothing but look enviously on, knowing full well that they have a perfectly good genre that bookshelves everywhere choose to ignore. Being confined to fiction is a bit like still living with your parents – you have no independence.

Sure, I’m being a little dramatic, so let me put it another way. After you have read a Helen Fielding novel and want to read something similar, you go and check out some of her chick lit peers and read an Adele Parks book. The same when you read Robert Ludlum and progress to Jeff Abbott, or when you pick up James Herbert after reading Dean Koontz.

But where do you go after reading Matt Dunn? Did you know that there a new kid on the block called Ben Adams who has been having some pretty decent success with his first two novels? Or after zipping through Mike Gayle’s awesome collection of books, would you automatically think about picking up something by Jon Rance?

That is why I’m doing this Lad Lit Blog Tour. Lad lit is funny, it’s endearing, it’s nostalgic, it’s emotional, it’s relatable; it’s everything you could want from a good contemporary novel. And despite the name, lad lit is for both men and women. When Chick Lit Plus reviewed my debut novel The Drought they said: “Steven Scaffardi's first novel is absolutely hilarious and will leave every reader, male or female, laughing out loud.”

The frustrating thing is that most readers have not heard of lad lit. In fact, most of the book bloggers who have kindly agreed to host me on this Lad Lit Blog Tour tell me they are not familiar with the genre, yet you only need to pop along to Goodreads to see that the majority of people who have read one of my novels respond with something along the lines of ‘laugh out loud’ funny, although you will find one reviewer that called The Drought imbecilic, but you can’t please everyone all the time. Besides, it is a story about a guy trying to break his dry patch endless streak. I guess that is a little imbecilic!

But back to the point in hand! Lad lit can’t simply keep sleeping on chick lit’s couch. We have gate-crashed that party for long enough, and even though it’s a relationship that makes sense, they both need a bit of space from each other to do their own thing.

So over the next 30 days, please join me as I attempt to fly the flag for lad lit (and of course do a little bit of promotion for my Sex, Love and Dating Disasters series) and if by the end of the tour, a few more people have picked up a lad lit novel and given it a read, then my mission is complete.

Thank you for having me Julie, you’ve been a wonderful host, but just like the littlest hobo it’s time for me to keep moving on. Maybe tomorrow I’ll want to settle down – and you can find out by joining me at My Book File.

Steven Scaffardi is the author of the Sex, Love and Dating Disaster series. His first novel, The Drought, is the laugh-out-loud tale of one man's quest to overcome the throes of a sexual drought. After the stormy break-up with his girlfriend of three years, Dan Hilles is faced with the daunting task of throwing himself back into the life of a single man. With the help of his three best pals, Dan is desperate and determined to get his leg-over with hilarious consequences!