Saturday, 30 January 2016

Diamonds for Rice

Diamonds for Rice is a biography that tells the remarkable yet entirely true story of Eric Evans.

Eric survived a terrorist bomb, a civil war and cancer of the blood. Two of his bone marrow transplants came fro the same young donor.

 Eric was standing directly next to the terrorist who bombed Orley Airport, in France.

He survived being interrogated several times in war-ravaged Liberia and was able to buy his way out of the civil wear in that country by the use of a bag of rice.

Eventually, Eric was lying in a hospital bed, pondering his life. In six decades he had seen a great deal and lived through a lot. Including blood cancer.

He knew that he must now finish off writing the story of his extraordinary life.

The result is his book Diamonds for Rice, which skilfully interweaves the various aspects of his incredible journey through the North Sea oil boom, his first Million Pounds by age 28 and his adventures and escape from Liberia and his battle with blood cancer aided and abetted by many people, but most especially by Axel, his double marrow donor.

This is a truly remarkable book as not only does it relate Eric's amazing story it also promotes the campaigns to help beat blood cancer.

The book is published by Matador at £10.99 and is, of course, available through the That's Books book shop which you will find on the right hand side of this review.

For details of how to help the campaign you can visit  http://www.deletebloodcancer.org.uk/en

Judith Wants to be Your Friend

Judith Wants to be Your Friend is the début novel by Annie Weir.

Judith Dillon is 36. Somehow, she has yet to work out what she wants to do with her life.

She has failed to find her own way in the world, and can't quite work out what her place in society is.

She has problems in establishing relationships and can't seem to maintain them. She seems to have special difficulties with relationships with women.

And then Judith becomes attracted to Joanna.

Judith decides to follow Joanna, she tracks her down, learns more about her and her family and, eventually, manages to work her way into Joanna's family.

Judith attaches herself to Joanna and her family over one Christmas period.

All seems to be going well, until Joanna's mother takes a little more drink than might be wise for her and starts asking questions of Judith. Questions that are about her past life, questions that might prove to be somewhat awkward to answer.

Eventually Judith's past life begins to catch up with her.

This is an edgy, mysterious novel. It is published by Matador at £8.99 and is available from the That's Books Book Shop, which is to the right hand side of this review.

The Silent Children

The Silent Children is a book by Amna K. Boheim.

It is a modern-day ghost story set in Vienna.

It has a multitude of themes covering secrets and horrors that beset Austria in the 1930s,

It is 1938. Annabel Albrecht notices that things are not quite right within her once happy and stable home.

First, there is the mysterious disappearance of Eva, her favourite maid.

Then her good friend Oskar also vanishes

But those events are a mere drop in the ocean, when compared to the dreadful event that occur next, when her beloved brother is murdered.

In a horrendous continuation of these evil events, her mother is taken away from her and Annabel is left to, somehow, fends for herself.

Nearly 70 years later Max, who is Annabel's son, decides to dig into his mother's mysterious past and is able, with persistence, to disinter the secrets of his mother's vanished friends.

Now that his estranged mother is dead, all he has is a photograph of his mother and of Oskar, taken in 1938.

But something appears to be amiss. Are the missing completely silent?

The ghosts of the past are haunting Max.

The house in the photograph. There seems to be something wrong with it. Something amiss.

Can Max learn what it is? Can he help the ghosts of the past?

This is a highly evocative first novel by Amna K. Boheim.

It is published by Matador at £8.99. It can be bought from the That's Books bookshop, just to the right of this book review.


A Time of My Life

A Time of My Life is a remarkable book penned by nurse Mo Ruddling.

Back in the 1960s a young and qualified nurse, Mo Rudling, decided to take up a two year posting (no holidays allowed!) as a nurse on the island of Taraway (now called Kiribati) with the British Colonial Service.

She had the opportunity to work with the peoples of the atolls of the central Pacific Ocean tending to their medical needs, during the last days of the British Empire, close to the Equator.

The natives of the islands are bedevilled by a range of problematic conditions. Infant mortality, poverty and general medical necessities, which Mo does her best to help alleviate.

Based on Tarawa, Mo had to be transported by boat to the other neighbouring islands, wading ashore through the shallow seas to tend to the requirements and needs of her far flung patients.

She had to tend to a variety of medical needs, including those who were in a a leprosarium, where some 20 people who were suffering from chronic leprosy were living out their lives.

Medical supplies, were, Mo realised, in scant supply.

As well as providing medical care Mo was responsible for organising and overseeing the training programme to ensure that there would be a constant supply of locally-born nurses who would, eventually, be able to tend to the needs of the people on the islands.

This is a charming book and will be of great interest to lovers of books on  travel and medicine.

It is published by Matador and costs £15.99. It is available via the That's Books book shop, which you will find to the right of this review.


Enchanted Realms

Enchanted Realms is a new fantasy novel. Or perhaps it is a true story?

The author of Enchanted Realms, Valan Peters, is a intriguing character.

Middlesex-born, a riding instructor who eventually re-trained as a therapist using the complimentary medicine paradigm, and, ultimately, a teacher.

Valan saw a horse who was at death's door, a victim of tetanus. But the expected did not happen.

As a recipient of distance healing, the horse made a miraculous recovery from the dreadful disease.

Which brings us to the book that Valan Peters has written.

Soon after the Battle of Hastings two men were allotted their rewards for their bravery.

They were gifted two large areas of lands that were quite close to the Kingdom of Wales.

On their journey toward Wales, they met a powerful wizard.

He was able to make a prophesy about the births of their two two children.

The two would, at birth, betrothed to each other. And, so it was, when the two children, named David and Gwendolyn, were born, they were, indeed, betrothed.

And the other prophecies he made. Would they, could they come to fruition, also?

This is an extremely well-written story which melds fact, fiction and fantasy into a seamless tale that is guaranteed to beguile the reader.

It is published by Matador at £9.99 and is available via the That's Books Book Shop, which is to be found to the right-hand side of this book review.

Bruce Dickinson Insights


Bruce Dickinson  Insights is a stunningly original book by Brigitte Schon.

It is subtitled An Interpretation of his Solo Albums.

Known for his great musicianship, his lyrics, hisability as a TV presenter, a pilot a fencer a record producer,  and his specialist real ales (Just try his Trooper real ale. It'll be a real revelation to you!)  Bruce Dickinson is a sort of modern day renaissance man. Or a polymath.

This book helps the reader explore Bruce Dickinson through the interpretation of his lyrics from his solo albums.

Unfortunately the powers that be behind Iron Maiden decided that it would be wise to refuse Brigitte permission to reprint the lyrics. Which, one might argue, would somewhat risk devaluing the whole thrust of the book.

The problem is with the powers that be of this type is that although they know the cost of everything, they know the value of nothing.

However, despite the attempt to hobble this book Brigitte is able to use her considerable skills as a researcher and a writer to throw some illumination onto the lyrics of Bruce Dickinson.

Brigitte manages to use snatches from the lyrics and interviews with Bruce and others to offer a sensitive and heartfelt  analysis of the lyrics that  Bruce has created and sent out to the world.

This is a truly amazing book and of you Bruce Dickinson  Insights a fan of Bruce's  music,  you really do need to buy this book.

It costs £9.99 and is worth every penny.

The Parrot Tree

The Parrot Tree is a romantic fictional novel by Barbara Kastelin.

It tells the story of Vivien. And of Karl.

Vivien is a talented young woman who lives in suburbia in the 1980s.

She feels stultified and suffocated in a marriage that she feels is loveless. It has damped her creativity so she, in effect, runs away from home and finds her way to Madison Avenue where she fully intends to discover professional and romantic fulfilment.

Karl is a genius (of the type often described as "tormented or tortured") who, as a young boy, had to flee from the Nazis by making a daring run for freedom in the sewerage system that was below the city of Bratislava.

He became a gardener (to an Austrian Barron, no less!). fathered a daughter (out of wedlock) and decided to emigrate to America in the 1950s.

Eventually, Karl found fame and fortune in the world of advertising and eventually was able to launch his own highly successful advertising agency on Madison Avenue.

Karl has become involved in a project to help save the Amazon rainforest.

His assistant hires Vivien to work with them on the location shooting, down their in the Amazon.

And so off they go, heading for the headwaters of the Amazon.

After all, what on earth could possibly go wrong? Or right, even?

This novel is published by Matador at £7.99 and is available via the That's Books book shop, on the right hand side of this review.

Far, Far the Mountain Peak

Far, Far the Mountain Peak is the début novel by Arthur Clifford, graduate of Rugby School and Newcastle University, school teacher, explorer and mountaineer of some renown.

It tells the story of John Denby, conceived in a church(!) to parents that might have cruelly been referred to in the Sun or the Daily Mail as "rent-a-protest tin-pot socialist revolutionaries" and, once born, he was rejected by these self-regarding and self-styled revolutionaries and parcelled off from the working class north (though his parents were anything but working class) to his wealthy grandparents in the south of England.

His grandparents doted on him and he was a well-loved child. He was pampered at home, sent to one of the best private schools that their money could buy and he lived a happy, contented life in the London suburb where he created his own idyllic little life filled with model railways (steam, of course!) and the teachings and promises of eternal salvation of the Scripture Union.

But a sudden tragedy destroys all that his grandparents and he had carefully constructed for John.

And he must return to the north of England, a north of England that he had never known.

His parents are just as cold and indifferent to him as they ever had been, and he is made to attend a bizarre and somewhat weird "experimental" state school, partially because this is a school that his father was instrumental in helping to create and launch.

John just does not fit in. Well, with the rejection of his parents and being reared by his wealthy grandparents in an entirely different society hundreds of miles away, how could he have ever had any hope of fitting in?

But John is far from being stupid and pretty quickly he realises that, in order to survive, let alone thrive, he will have to develop the ability to become two entirely different people. A posh and sensitive boy and also a devil may care hard boy. One of the lads.

As he grows up in this strange and somewhat alien environment, John Denby has to try to make sense of it all and to work out what he really wants in life and also how he is to attain it.

This is a very moving first novel and is well worth reading as it takes us from the confused, self-regarding protest generation to their children who still had to try to make sense of the real world.

It is published by The Book Guild at £12.99 and is available from the That's Books book shop, which you will find to the right hand side of this book review.

Zweck

Zweck, in which musician and well-published musical composer Stephen Deutsch (he of well over 40 scores for concert works, films/movies and the theatre plus a couple of scripts for television dramas) explores the world of modern musical composers.

Zweck is set in 1972. Bernard Robbins is a typical American in London. He is a mixture of innocence, arrogance and has a certain lack of knowledge about many of the things in life that matter.

He is in London to further his career as a concert pianist, a conductor and also as a composer of music.

By utter chance Bernard meets the only other member of his family who lives in London, his great uncle, Hermann Heinrich Zweck.

Now into his 90s, Zweck once had it all, he was an eminent composer. But now? Well, not so much eminence as there has been a somewhat dramatic slipping away of any public recognition of his once highly esteemed works.

Now Zweck is a one man force fighting a sort of guerilla war against what he sees as cowardice. laziness, ineptitude and stupidity of the entire world.

How can Bernard cope with the eccentricities and the rages -often capricious- of his older relative?

For some reason Zweck is excessively enraged by the hapless and less than offensive English musicologist Charles Forsythe. And he seems to have it in for Bernard, too!

But why? What motivates and drives Zweck and his rages?

Is it wine, women and song? Or perhaps just the latter two?

The book is subtitled "A novel and mostly reliable musical history."

The book is a delightful tale, which wanders off into all sorts of odd and somewhat arcane areas of musical history. For example, did you know of the link between Chief Sitting Bull and Rachmaninoff?

This is an interesting and marvellously mischievous novel and at £9.99 from Matador is available via the That's books Book Shop, available on the right hand side of this book review.

Ripped Apart

Ripped Apart is a novel by Geoffrey Arnold.

It is a science fiction novel that tells the story of the twins.

Geoffrey Arnold relates that the story is based on what the twins told him, and that this process started, not very far from the Midlands city of Birmingham, one Saturday afternoon, when he took a notepad and a pen and began to transcribe the story (a true story, they assured him) of what had happened to them.

The book is a part of a four part series based on their recollections, "Quantum Twins -Adventures of Two Worlds."

Somehow thrust out of their own, very different, dimension, a boy and a girl (the twins) find themselves separated for the very first time ever at age 15, with the whole of planet Earth between them.

Even their telepathic link is severed. Which must have been devastating for them, as this was the first time they were not only alone from others of their kind, but of each other, too.

They revealed to Geoffrey that they were not the first of their people to visit the Earth. That others of their people had arrived here 75,000 previously. And were, in fact, the ancestors of the human race that populates the Earth.

The twins, coming from a place that is harmonious and at peace, are shocked and horrified at the situation that they find on Earth.

The twins were desperate to be reunited and they required the help of the humans of Earth if this reunification of the twins was to happen.

They also needed to avoid detection and capture and to, eventually, return to their own home.

True or the work of an exceptionally active imagination?  It doesn't matter, because Geoffrey Coldfield tells a good story.

It's £8.97 in paperback and is, of course, available from the That's Books bookshop, to the right hand side of this review.

A Passionate Spirit

A Passionate Spirit, a paranormal thriller, written by S C Skillman, tells the story of Zoe who, at 35, looks like she has it all.

She is young, attractive, is married to a priest who is less than conventional and together they have a beautiful baby daughter and they move to what should be a delightful new home in the idyllic Cotswold hills.

So, given that set of circumstances, what on earth could possibly go wrong?

Well... there's the dreams, you see? The recurring nightmare dream in which Zoe dreams of a young woman who is fleeing, fleeing for her life.

Zoe is disturbed by these dreams and she also has a darkening sense of foreboding. For somehow, Zoe knows that the life of her precious baby is at risk. As is her own life.

At which point, things become more sinister, as two totally unexpected guests arrive at their home. James and Natasha.

But there's nothing wrong with James and Natasha, surely?

However, Zoe's friend Alice wouldn't agree. For some reason she cannot quite trust the new couple. Even more so, Natasha.

But only Zoe agrees with Alice. Everyone else seems to trust them.

Natasha soon sets to work proving her abilities as a very talented healer. A very talented healer, indeed. In fact some say her healings are nothing short of miraculous and that Natasha is a miracle worker.

But the sense of dis-ease and foreboding will not leave Zoe.

But Zoe knows that she must challenge Natasha. But can she be prepared for the forces that she is suddenly confronted with? The sheer, stark terror that she will face?

Will she and her stalwart, true friend Alice be able to prevail against the malevolent forces that are suddenly directed toward them?

If you like your thrillers with more than a touch of the paranormal, then this is the ideal book for you. It is published by Matador and costs £8.99 in paperback and is available from the That's Books book shop which you will find to the right hand side of this book review.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Every Shade of Blue


Every Shade of Blue is a new novel by Linzi Drew-Honey.

It tells the story of what happens when Suzanne Perry-Jackson is cruelly dumped by her husband of two decades when he trades her in for a much younger woman.

Suzanne's life as she knew it, an easeful, comfortable, relatively simplistic world, is suddenly smashed to bits.

Within a couple of months of the break-up, Suzanne meets Angelo Azzurro. He is a stranger with the ability to capture her heart.

He senses that she is hurting and vulnerable and he lures her into a world of a sadomasochistic sex.

She decides that this event, a liberating, though painful, encounter will be a one off event. A moment of lunacy.

She later meets with the man of her dreams, a stunningly handsome orthopaedic surgeon,  Sebastian Black.

But Angelo is not a man to be thwarted. He is dangerous and is not used to people saying "no" to him.

So he kidnaps her and keeps her entrapped.

When Suzanne vanishes, Sebastian is frantic. He is fully aware that Angelo is behind the disappearance of his beloved Suzanne.

Will he find her? Can he save her from Angelo?

This novel is published by Troubadour in paperback at £8.99.

It will be available through the That's Books and Entertainment online bookshop, just to the right-hand side of this book review.

(EDITOR: This is a very raunchy book, so not for the faint of heart. In fact one description of it is: "Every Shade of Blue makes 50 Shades of Grey read like a brochure for a chandlery shop!")

Monday, 11 January 2016

The Price of Love by Deanna Maclaren

The Price of Love by Deanna Maclaren takes the reader straight into the global heart of Romance, Paris.

Helen, the protagonist of The Price of Love is living in London.

She seems to be trapped in a dead-end job, with no hope of doing very much, to be honest.

But that is where her story really, truly begins.

For her new found French lover, Jean-Paul, encourages her to leave London and her career (such as it is!) to go to Paris to spend Christmas there.

But then, from Jean-Paul's perspective, things start to go awry.

He is infuriated when Helen decides to take up a job as a cleaner and perhaps understandably enraged when she begins to have an affair with an attractive bad boy, Alexis.

Via the contacts of Alexis, Helen become au fait with the swinging scene of Paris and also the sister of Alexis, a so-called wild child, Malveen.

Then to add to the chaos (or le chaos as the French would put it) Jean-Paul dies without any real warning.

Marc, the adult son of Jean-Paul, does his best to offer his comfort to Helen.

Then, Malveen's marriage instantly takes a turn for the worst and Malveen is locked in a dungeon by her husband.

Malveen, not surprisingly, takes this marital decision by her husband rather badly (what with that and the horribly messy business with the nourriture pour chien) and manages to orchestrate her own escape from her espousal entrapment.

Unfortunately after she is able to effect her escape she  murders the employer of Helen. (As if Helen's life is not already complicated enough!)

Marc becomes beside himself and Helen takes the sensible step of fleeing Paris (indeed, fleeing France its entirety) and returning to the relative sanity and safety of life with her family in Southwold, Suffolk.

But Marc is made of sterner stuff and he tracks her down to England. And if you want to know how it all plays out, the book will cost you £9.99, from Matador.

You will be enchanted by the witty, breathless writing style of Deanna Maclaren. This is her tenth book.

The book is also available from the That's Books and Entertainment bookshop which you will find on the right hand side of this site. Also whilst there, search for Deanna's other novels.

That's Food and Drink: Enjoy Liquid poetry with Lord Byron's personal sin...

That's Food and Drink: Enjoy Liquid poetry with Lord Byron's personal sin...: Lord Byron was one of the world's best-loved and most influential poets of the Romantic period of world literature. Now you can shar...

Friday, 8 January 2016

Publishers! We will review books you publish at no cost to you

And at no cost to your authors.

Why do we do this? Because we feel that it is important that fellow writers get the chance to get details of their books out to the reading public, the people who read book reviews on That's Books and Entertainment.

How do you get your books reviewed for free? Please just send your details to us via Thatsbooks@mail.com.

And we will take it from there.

Tookey's Turkeys is a book we previously reviewed. It is a book on the most annoying films from the last 25 years, Arts Reviewer of the Year for 2013, Christopher Tookey.

You can read the review at
http://thatsbooks.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/tookeys-turkeys-most-annoying-144-films.html.

Also a reminder that you can buy this book and all other books that we have reviewed on That's Books and Entertainment at the That's Books and Entertainment book shop, which you will find to the right hand side of this article.