Cover Image: Sofia and the Pornographic Penguin

Sofia and the Pornographic Penguin

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Member Reviews

Thank you for to Netgalley and the publisher for an advance reader copy of this book 

Clearly I do not have the right sense of human did this novel and it definitely did not appeal to me . I’m sure there’s an audience for this book.. out there .. somewhere...
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Sofia's husband has just inherited a handsome manor. Yesterday it needs a lot of work. But it definitely has potential. 
First they need a cook housekeeper. A notice is posted in town and soon lovely young Martha joins the household. 
Catastrophic information is soon at their doorstep in the form of a picture of their daughter in compromising positions. She is dressed in a catsuit being molested by a person in a huge penguin costume. They are being blackmailed. Sophia is caught up in saving her daughter's reputation, Martha being kidnapped by an ex-husband and her dawdling husband. 
Soon the manor is filled with willing helpers. No longer is it a vacant rundown place with two people. Will the mysteries be solved. The mysterious penguin man and blackmailer apprehended?
You'll have to read the silly, young in cheek, semi-erotic tale.
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I had a hard time getting past the first 2 chapters of this book as the relentlessly vulgar languages, sexist jokes and references were  seemingly on maximum speed without any sight of slowing down. But after reading all the rave reviews, I persevered and  finished reading it. It's a funny novel that is filled with colourful characters and a plot that gets comical absurd by the chapter. I am glad I didn't abandoned 'Sofia and the Pornographic Penguin'.

Thank you NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Sofia and the Pornographic Penguin has all the makings of a classic farce. An English manor home, a baffoon of a husband with a buxom wife, an inept handyman and a horny Vicar all come together in this zany story of scandal, jealousy, and blackmail.

Richard Harrington’s first volume in the Sofia and the Manor House Saga follows the improbable and silly goings on in the Twinklebottom household. As family and servants scramble to help and protect each other and maintain peace in their country estate, misunderstandings and raunchy comedy abound. If you are a fan of dry British humor or are just looking for something really different to read, Sofia and the Pornographic Penguin may be your cup of tea.
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If you're looking for a book filled with double entendres, strange characters and just plain weirdness then this is the book for you!

At points it made me laugh and I liked the bare bones of the story but some of it just didn't click for me and I usually like weirdness in my books. The eccentricities of some of the characters was a little jarring at times which took me out of the story a little as I wasn't THAT much of it.

*Huge thanks to Richard Harrington and NetGalley for this copy which I chose to read and all opinions are my own*
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A big, big warning: if you are a prude, or if dirty, crude language and talk about sex annoy/hurt/bother you, this is not the right book for you!

When I saw this book on NetGalley it caught my eyes, and yes, I had to request it because of its title. I know that this is not a good reason to want to read a book, but what can I do? I am shallow this way! A beautiful cover or an interesting title and the book is on my TBR or wish-list, just like that. It’s almost magic, right?
Anyway, I requested it and they approved my request. When I started it I didn’t have a single expectation because… well, the synopsis is not so detailed, I had not read other reviews so, yeah, I was going in blind. But the title was so catching that I was curious.
I would be honest with you, when I started it I thought about DNF it because, well, yes, the language. Crude and dirty, and all over the place. But I was also intrigued because it was unique and I was curious so I kept reading on. And I fell in love with it, slowly but inexorably.

On the surface is quite a simple book: we have a strange, really really strange, family, who is setting in a new house, a manor in the country. The husband is happy about it, the wife not so much. And with the house, they inherited the gardener, who is a sort of handyman. There are two daughters, but they don’t live with her parents, and one of them is the victims of a vile blackmail. Or better, she’s the victim of a vile act, but the victims of the blackmail are her parents. So they (or, better, the wife, because the husband is quite oblivious to all that happens around him) try to discover who is blackmailing them and to resolve the situation.

So, you see, the plot is all there. But we have so much more from this book, and that’s because of the writing, the characters and all the good feeling all around (well, sort of, at least). The only major takeback of this book is that you have to close an eye on the human part. One of the daughters is a victim of a vile act (or it’s all staged, I didn’t truly understand this part, but it may be because I was hoping for a staging and so I didn’t watch it so closely) but that’s just stated, because she’ s not the focus of the story, and we don’t see her, ever. So she’s a victim but she’s dismissed because she’s not in the story, really, And also, the solution of it all is quite… brutal, so if you have a soft heart, this may not be ideal for it. But I found it quite satisfying because it was harsh, really really harsh, but it was just. I don’t know if I made sense in this, but those things bugged me during the reading, they didn’t bug me so much that I couldn’t enjoy the reading, mind me. I adored this book, but they were there nonetheless.

But now I can start with the good. I loved this book, it was such a marvelous surprise and I enjoyed my reading so, so much. And now I fear I won’t do justice to it. And I am sorry, but I would try! First of all, we have a set of unique characters and all of them are so real, so well developed, that I felt like all of them were friends who I knew since forever. And I would love to go and visit for real, I’d love to visit their manor for a tea, or for a dinner. Sofia is the wife. She’s a beautiful woman, with a lot of character. And she knows what she wants. How she wants it. And when she wants it.
And then we have his husband. He lives in his own world, and he sees the world as a child can see it. He’s quite the useless man, to be honest, but the story would have not been the same without him. He’s sweet and absent-minded. I think he’s the portrait itself of absent-mindedness!
And then we have Sailor. He’s the handyman, the shady gardner, rough at the edges but with a big heart. And he’s resourceful, oh if he is!

All of them are unique, and I know that I am repeating myself here, but it cannot be helped. I loved them all, but they are not alone. Sofia is feeling alone in the big house, far away from the city and far away from her daughters, that now are grown up and have their own life. But the big manor won’t remain empty for long. They need people to get the things going in the house, and slowly the people they “hire” to help them out became part of the family. All the newcomers have problems. A lot of them. Like Martha, poor, innocent and naive girl, almost sold in a marriage from which she tries to escape. And she would find a new life here, with new people who love her truly, and who help her out. All of them, the family and the other new people around the house, would go out of their way to secure the happiness and the safeness of Martha. And this was really a sweet thing.

I won’t go on with the details and all the way in which every character would go out of his (or her) way to help the others out., because it would be a spoiler, but in this book, aside from a peculiar and crude language, we could see the birth of strong ties between all the characters, we can see the building of a family, based not on blood but on feeling. And this is the thing that I have appreciated the most. In this respect, I think this is one of the sweetest books I have ever read, even if during the reading all words can come to mind, but sweet. And, nonetheless, I found a sweetness all around in those pages, and an abundance of good feeling, that let my heart warmer. I appreciated it a lot.

And then, this book was fun as hell. I smiled a lot, and I mean a lot! But I laughed out loud too, and I think that the author was really brilliant. It’s not about the jokes, but it’s about the innocence of the children, the naivete of some moments, the pure absurdity of some scene. Because this book is hilarious and absurd and strange, and original, brilliant and fantastic. But mostly… yeah, strange, absurd and fun!

And the author has a way with his writing, with creating new way fo saying and has a marvelous and black humor that is present in every single page.

I really hope to have at least make you a little bit curious about this book, because I loved it and I hope that more people would give it a try! And, to be honest, I gave this book 5 solid stars, even if it’s not a 5 stars book. But it was such a surprising read, and I enjoyed it so much that, to me, it well deserves the 5 stars rating!
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Sofia and the Pornographic Penguin is a genre defying new release from Richard Harrington. Released 12 July 2018 by Amazon, it's 274 pages and available in paperback and ebook formats.

This is ostensibly the first novel in a series (Sofia and the Manor House Saga). There are some mystery elements but the author seems to mostly be aiming for farcical comedy. It struck me as a cross between a Benny Hill sketch and Steven Moffat's series 'Coupling' (anyone else remember that one?). I spent about 80% of my time reading this book rolling my eyes.

There are a number of problems with the narrative. The dialogue is often truly cringe-worthy. The characters are strictly two dimensional and largely cringe-worthy themselves. As an exercise, I started trying to edit this in my head as I was reading. I gave that up after a few pages, but it really convinced me that the book is in dire need of a major rewrite. The entire book is a sort of stream of consciousness fart and sex joke. The book seems to not have been rewritten or polished and suffers for it. There's a point at which *nudge nudge* *wink wink* stop being funny. Despite its modern slang connotations, the word "cum" is just Latin for "with". The author apparently found the entendre endlessly amusing and the first chapter reads as though he was being paid for every use of the word. Every possible double use of the words "cum, pussy, cock, balls", etc is thrust before the reader (*har har*). The characters spend most of their time screaming at one another and/or trying to have sex, or both at the same time.

I'm not offended by language or sexual content. For readers who want their narratives clean and tidy, move along. The book is absolutely full of raunchy double entendres and inappropriate language. There are many raunchy stand up comedians who leave me doubled over gasping from laughing. This book missed by a mile for me.

For me, two stars. Reading the reviews and ratings from other readers, I appear to be in the minority.
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I don’t know what genre this book fits into apart from humour, reading this feels like watching any comedy show I watched growing up...with bawdy jokes and dry humour in equal measure. It’s not a serious book and I’m glad for that, it was just fun which is exactly what I hoped for.
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What am I reading?  When I looked at this book on Goodreads, others had similar comments.  Also, like those other people, I am enjoying this so so much! I spent much of my 20's watching British comedies so this was so up my alley.  I have not totally finished this book, but I had to write about it.  I am not sure if there will be a plot to this story, but I honestly do not care.  It is just such fun to read.  If you are offended by a darker shade of humor, this book might not be for you, but if you are like me and so appreciate BritComs, dive in and enjoy.  Do not wonder what genre this book falls into, just read, laugh, wonder, and have a great time!  Thank you, NetGalley, Mr. Harrington, and publisher for a grand time!!! I am giving this a solid 4-star review!
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What did I just read? Initially I struggled with this book, it was annoying me but I persevered and I'm glad I did. 

This is the most random book I have ever read, I had "what the hell is going on?" moments and moments where I laughed out loud. It was bizarre but in a good way.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC of this book. It was different to anything I have read before!
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I DNF'd this at about 20%. I picked it up solely on the strength of the cover and title expecting a ribald romp, which in part it is. The writing style is too choppy. The narrative doesn't flow. The humor could have meshed with me, except the big underlying "jokes" pushing the book are "this woman was raped by a man in a penguin costume and now her family is being blackmailed" and domestic violence/abuse. ha. ha. ha. ha. ha.
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This is second rate Tom Sharpe
I Couldn’t finish it, as I had no investment in the characters or the situations., much as I enjoy a good comic novel.
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I really wanted to like this book, but it was just not my style.  I am sure it will do well with many folks, just not for me.
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To enjoy this book you have to have a sense of humor, so only check it out if you have one!  I loved it!  It was full of dry British humor.
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This is book is a  lot of fun, full of the dry British humour I liked.
It's very entertaining and enjoyable. Some editing with the style of writing could help.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC
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This book was very quirky and written with an absolute sense of humor. The family is so dysfunctional but yet somehow they manage to get through things together.
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When the Twinklebottom family moves into the Old Manor House, jealousy leads to blackmail.  Sofia, with the help of the servants, who all have their own drama, scrambles to find out who is blackmailing her.  At first, I didn't think I would finish this.  It was not in line with my sense of humor, ribald and almost campy, to the point of feeling forced, but once I looked past that to the actual story, I began to enjoy it more.  The story itself was amusing, farcical and humorous, and I think I'd have enjoyed it a lot more if not for how the writing seemed to be trying to hard to be funny rather than just being funny.  So 3.5 stars because I didn't much care for the actual writing, rounding up to 4 for a fun, if sometimes silly, story.
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I really enjoyed the writing and sometimes it reminded me of Monty Python.

This book is a hilarious British dark comedy, there's colorful language all around. If you love farts and penises jokes, this is a gem for you.
Welcome to a crazy family, and enjoy the wild ride.
As I read I could shake the feeling that this would be a good theatrical play.

It was not my cup of tea but I would recommend it to someone who enjoys, debauchery and easy jokes with a British accent.

ps:  This book was in an ACSM file with really small letters, what made it difficult for me to read on my mobile. It was not even in pdf so I couldn't open with Adobe, real fail!  Next time, please put it on epub format.
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I really enjoyed this book - I think you like Tom Sharpe or Jasper Fforde then you will too.

The characters are thought theough and consistent - although I felt the ‘Lord of the Manor’ was irritating in his speech pattern and that detracted from me developing an empathy with him - a shame because I liked the character.

The plot is amusing and there are a few laugh out loud moments that came quite regularly in the story.

I would buy this book and would quite happily read other books by the author.
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