Monday, 22 October 2018

The Snow Foresters

The Snow Foresters are a set of 20 new ghost stories from the pen of David Phelps, who is a traditional storyteller.

They are all set in the Welsh Marches and, although newly written, the stories are all based on ancient folk stories from the area.

There are the deathly cold Snow Foresters, a problem with some unwanted guests and what happened when the Goddess Sekhmet became involved in the life of a somewhat prideful Methodist minister.

There's the dreadful story of what happens when a body is not treated with respect, the luck (bad or good) that comes with the discovery of a lost golden sovereign, the correct method of dealing with ghosts.

Plus there is the tale of the sin-eater and the Cwn Annwn, the spectral hounds of Annwn and what happened to a boy named Posthumous when he meets them when he was stealing firewood from a Lord's own forest.

It is perfectly clear that David Phelps has a deep understanding and an even deeper love of the folk tales of the Welsh Marches and the peoples thereof.

Each story is perfectly illustrated with a well-chosen line drawing from Veronique Avon.

The book is published by Matador at £7.50.

It's an ideal Christmas present for lovers of traditional folktales.

You can learn more about David Phelps at
and about Veronique Avon at


Galleon is a debut steampunk novel from Ruby Smith.

It takes place in Gallow which is in a word called Eera. The populous is facing a time of great change.

No more so than in the capital city of Cerrano. Cerrano is an amazing place, peopled largely by immigrants and inventors.

There are some people there who do not have any magical abilities and they are starting to wonder about their lowly status in society. They are beginning to question the fairness of their situation.

Ruby examines the situation by using the lens of three key protagonists, Lara Key who as a Greycoat cadet has been trained all of her life to be a perfect officer, but finds that, after all, perhaps that's not what she wants.

There's Watterson Teach, who is the joint leader of the highly influential Steam Syndicate who is the father to Evie a liberationist agitator. Teach finds himself facing difficulties after the death of his business partner.

There is Ridley Ripley who is a Shadow, a member of a very distinct and intriguing race of people from the far north of the planet.

It's a novel of soaring themes, of love, of hatred and of loss.

I believe Ruby Smith is a name we will be hearing more of in the future.

It's published by Matador at £7.99.

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Human Resource Alignment

In his book Human Resource Alignment human resources guru Stephen M Flynn offers his readers a highly useful, practical advice on how to configure a more commercially viable HR strategy.

Nearly two decades ago when he was first appointed to work as an HR director, Stephen M Flynn was faced by a challenge. He had to devise a completely new Human Resources strategy for his employer which would work with and support the organisation's business plans.

All he needed to do, he thought, was to find the books that would help him by telling him what he needed to do. Unfortunately he discovered that, 18 years ago, there was no practical guidebooks on the market that would be able to help him.

But that was then, this is now. And now, based on Stephen's 18 years of hard-won personal and practical experience,  such a book now exists.

Stephen has noticed that many organisation's strategies are expressed solely in marketing or financial terms. In some cases, they don't even have a strategy. This means that there are problems with translating this into the plan of the HR department.

This books offers practical advice to HR practitioners and professionals to assist them in creating a HR plan that meshes in with the organisation's business strategy.

He offers several new concepts, including that of "organisational maturity" by which means the HR department and the organisation can translate the strategy of the business inot HR practice.

Readers will be shown how they can identify their organisation's current level of maturity from the pattern of work practices that are evident in their own organisation.

Readers are then guided in various techniques of  how to choose suitable PR practices that align with what Stephen describes as: "the organisation's maturity level."

At the end of the book readers will learn how to structure their HR department in such a way as they will be able to deliver the newly-minted HR plan/

This is a highly practical HR guide book by a 36 year veteran in the field, the last two decades at Senior HR Director level.

The book is published by Matador at £14.99.


After finishing work early for once, a young lady leaves her central London workplace as she heads home for a lovely evening with her family.

Only she never made it. Three hooded figures attack her and soon she is lying dead as thje attackers make good their escape into the rush hour traffic.

The case is presented to DCI Colm Elliot. He realises that he knew the murder victim from a previous case that he worked on.

That case had been something of a puzzler as it had set off a series of bewildering events that had threatened the lives of many people.

So, are the two cases related? And if so, how?

With people confessing to murders that they thought they'd committed (and probably had) and a whole range of various acts of violence, betrayal, revenge and death, this is not going to be an easy case for the softly-spoken Ulsterman to solve. If he can!

This book is published by The Book Guild at £9.99.

Unauthorised Action

Unauthorised Action is the final instalment in the thriller series from Alan Hunt.

In the aftermath of devastating terror attacks in London the Foreign Office is shaken to the core by the murder of Kate Thomas, an attractive young diplomat.

Adam White, a fellow diplomat, is immediately suspected of the murder. But his fiancee, Alison, firmly believes in his innocence and sets out to find the proof to clear his name.

But Adam discovers an apparently impenetrable wall of secrecy from Foreign Office officials who are, apparently,  enmeshed in a highly secret covert operation.

Acting on his own in direct defiance of his bosses, Adam follows a lead to Madrid. And he is certain that he knows the identity of the man who he believes killed Kate.

Then other people start to fall victim to the killer as he makes preparations for a truly outrageous hit in London.

Can Adam work out who the intended target it? Can he save the victim before they are assassinated? But who, exactly, can Adam trust? Is their a traitor at the very heart of the British establishment? And if there is, can Adam thwart the killer and the traitor?

This book is published by Matador at £7.99.

Red Snow

Red Snow is a debut mystery novel from Larraine Susan Harrison for young readers which also touches on contemporary issues.

Megan is 12 years of age. She was convinced that she had all the details of what caused the death of her mother. But Megan was wrong. Very wrong indeed. There was a great deal about the death of her mother that she did not know.

She finds herself facing a veritable spider's web of lies, obfuscation and outright deceit from the very people who she should have been able to trust. Her own family.

She finds herself excluded by her classmates at school and so she decides to befriend her new neighbour, Ryan.

But is Ryan all that he appears to be? Because Ryan is hiding something, something that is potentially a dangerous secret within the local woods. He has discovered some blood on the snow besides an old watchtower. And Megan begins to be drawn into a situation that she'd rather not be a part of.

The two are rescued from danger by a woman called Irene who seems interesting and mysterious to Megan. Her father, who she is the carer for, slips even deeper into depression and forbids her from seeing Irene again. But why? What is happening? Can Megan get to the bottom of the mystery?

After a burglary attempt that failed and an intruder in the garden of Ryan's house, truths suddenly start to bubble to the surface.

But what does it all mean to Megan? Will she find out the truth of what happened to her mother?

This book is published by Matador at £7.99.

The Cats of Butterwick Sands

In Gabriella Thomas' The Cats of Butterwick Sands readers will meet with the cats of Butterwick Sands.

The cats are lead by a very special cat called Percy. Percy is very clever, very dignified and also very popular in the small seaside resort town of Butterwick Sands.

Sadly, Butterwick Sands had seen better days and it is now a little bit tired and in need of some Tender Loving Care or TLC as it is also known.

You'll meet a whole range of cats in this book. Some are brave, some not very brave, some nice, some who are not as nice as they mother would have liked, some are funny, some a bit more serious.

You'll meet the cats in a series of stories which all culminate in all of the cats, under the leadership of Percy, working together to restore the town's caravan park and its once bustling funfair.

The stories are all illustrated with charming line drawings from Ena Hodzic.

These stories are ideal for children and parents or grandparents to read together. And will make a super Christmas present.

It is published by The Book Guild at £7.99.