Sunday, 17 December 2017

Stargazey World

This is a new novel from published author Christine Dawe. It's something of a departure for Christine Dawe, an author of a number of popular social history books, Stargazey World is a novel aimed at readers who are aged 9 to 11 years of age.

It's a brilliant fantasy novel which is illuminated with flashes of brilliant good humour.

It tells the story of Sheena Robinson who is described as a feisty Scouser. Sheena's a good girl, though she does wish she could concentrate a bit better at school, plus there was the problem with her very wayward green hair. however, Sheena didn't suffer bullies gladly and she employed her ready with to put one over on them.

But then Sheena has to travel to Cornwall for her cousin's wedding. She stays at a cottage where she shares a bedroom with Carys, who is a little bit of a tomboy. And she also shares the bedroom with a whole host of talking animals who live in or on the wallpaper of the bedroom.

The animals take the two girls on an amazing adventure to Stargazey World, a world that is influenced by the amazing imagination and muddled up thinking of Sheena.

However, all is not well in Stargazey World and Sheena and Carys eventually find themselves facing injustice and wickedness when they are attacked by a group of weird beings. Including a nasty leather wearing rockstar who goes by the name of Thunder and his crazed and very dangerous sister, Lightning.

They also have to face a hoard of other equally bizarre and evil creatures, as they attempt to thwart them with the assistance of the wallpaper animals.

It's a must buy Christmas gift for every girl out there. It's published by Matador at £7.99 and can be bought here


Disruption is a very interesting novel from the pen of prolific author Mary Withall.

It's an extremely well-written account of  the time in the early 1840s when there was the Disruption in the Church of Scotland, when a large number of dissident clergyman were dismissed from their roles as clergymen.

One such personage is James Bantrie who, in common with many fellow dissenters, found themselves thrown out of their comfortable lifestyle and forced to seek alternative employment.

Bantrie and his family journey to a tiny parish on the Isle of Orchy, which is off the Argyll coast. The chief occupation of the islanders is the slate quarrying.

Doctor Alexander Beaton also turns up in the village of Eisdalsa. But he is not a newcomer, he is returning home, fully expecting to inherit his father's medical practice and to seek the hand in marriage of his childhood sweetheart.

However, he is heartbroken to discover that, in his absence, not only has his older brother managed to secure the ownership of their father's medical practice for himself, he has also taken Alexander's sweetheart for his own bride.

With nothing in Eisdalsa for him he replies to an advertisement for settlers at the recently established colony of Otago in New Zealand's South Island.

However, when the new settlers arrive after an eventful sea voyage, they find that they are less than welcome in the newly established town of Dunedin, as, despite what the advertisement promised,  it is far from ready to receive any new settlers. 

The novel is based on detailed research undertaken by archivist and author Mary Withall. This included the detailed letter books of the doctor who had been appointed to the Easedale quarries in the 1890s.

It's a warm and compelling account of the trials and tribulations of the Scotish people who, in the 1840s, were instrumental in the settlement of New Zealand. Although, points out Mary Withall, this is not a period of Scottish history that has been well covered.

The book is published by Matador and is a great Christmas gift for lovers of well-written historical fiction. 

It can be bought here


Quick and Quirky

Quick and Quirky is a quick and quirky collection of humorous short stories and quips from the pen of debut author Fred Onymouse.

It's illustrated, though not by Fred, the illustrations (as quirky as the writing, it has to be said) were drawn by Ann Onymouse.

There is the story of the extra special buttons of Elsie and Doris and the gang of button thieves who attempted to steal their extra special buttons.

Then there are the tit for tat gardeners, the narrow victory when Wilmot Walmesly beat Jogger Jaggersnout by one vote to win the election to become a member of the council.

The true story of the elephants who were on holiday in Devon one Christmas season. (It's a true story, because Fred tells us that it is true.)

There are tales of deranged teapot collectors, vanishing horses called Daisy, Harry and his unbreakable bottle a mysterious suitcase and more besides.

An ideal book for a post Christmas dinner snooze, it's published by Matador at £7.99 and it can be obtained here

The Human Ape

The Human ape, subtitled "A Magnificently Minute Moment" is a debut collection of poetry from poet Mark Cox.

The poems cover a wide range of subjects and topics which are, by-and-large, informed by the philosophical view of Cox.

Sleeplessness, homeless children, the exact meaning of the term atheist, the philosophical basis for keeping pets, natural phenomena such as rivers, sunsets and a speck of dust, children, evolution, recycling and even more besides.

The style is sparse, yet compelling and the thoughts behind the poems are lucid and clear.

It's an interesting debut for a poet. Let's hope that this is merely the harbinger for much more poetical outputs from Mark Cox.   

It's published by The Book Guild at £7.99 and will make a great Christmas present for the poetry reader in your life.

You can purchase it here

Coach Yourself First

Coach Yourself First is a new and invaluable book for coaches and supervisors in a business setting by Mark Bisson, who earned an MA in applied coaching and who is accredited by the International Coaching Federation.

The point behind this book is that every coach must first coach themselves. The sub-title of the book is "A Coach's Guide to Self-Reflection".

The book is an invaluable resource for all coaches and workplace supervisors (both those who are newly minted or have several years of experience under their belt) who want to be the best coaches and supervisors that they can be.

The book raises, and answers, some very important issues, such as: Why is it of critical importance for coaches and supervisors to employ the technique of self-reflection?

How could they enhance their own capacity for self-reflection?

What methods, models and tools are appropriate for self-reflection?

And, of vital importance, exactly what is self-reflection and how can we learn to employ it? (You'll learn that on page 6.)

Although heavy on academic references and credentials, this book is not a worthy and dry-as-dust academic tome. Rather it is a heavily researched, well-written and easy-to-use tool for workplace coaches and supervisors to enable them to employ self-reflection as an important tool to help them to be effective coaches and supervisors.

It's published by Matador at £12.99 and will make an excellent under the Christmas tree present for the coach, supervisor or manager in your life.

You can order it from


Responsibility and its Avoidance

Responsibility and its Avoidance is a vital new work by a consultant and project manager, Donald Curtis.

He has seen experience not only in the UK but has worked as a consultant and project manager in 20 different countries all over the world and is currently an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham.

The book is a distillation of the knolwedge and experiences of Curtis. The book is a series of hard hitting essays that shine a spotlight on various aspects of responsibility, governance and the like.

It covers a wide range of topics and issues, the key theme is, however, that good governance is a matter of exercised responsibility.

He points out that there is an avoidance paradox that as soon as an agreed allocation of responsibilities is arrived at, with obligations and commitments established and enshrined, with accountability protocols designed, avoidance can creep in and undermine the public good.

Curtis points out that institutional corruption and decay are real and persistent problems that must be addressed by society. "Responsibility is not good unless it is shared" is a key lesson in this book.

Every politician, company manager, educationalist, charity officer, management student or business  executive needs to have a copy of this book, so it will make an excellent Christmas gift for them.

It's published by Matador at £17.99 and can be bought here

The Diary of an Old Drunk

The Diary of an Old Drunk is a remarkable novel by George Bothamley.

It is an intriguing book. Part philosophical discourse, part novel, part fictional autobiography, part book of poetry.

It's an imaginary account of the life of an old drunk, a man who, due to a variety of circumstances,  becomes an elderly man who is a homeless alcoholic.

The book is written from the perspective of the old drunk and is designed by the author to help raise public awareness of the plight of many homeless people, especially the older homeless person.

The old drunk -we never do get to learn his name- is an engaging type of a fellow, has his life turned out differently he could have been a well known and popular wit and raconteur, perhaps appearing on our television sets every evening, but, as they say, there but for the grace of God go I.

We learn of the two great loves of his life, of course, even homeless people are capable of becoming emotionally entangled, how hard life on the streets can be for the homeless. Although the old drunk's attitude to some other homeless people is, perhaps, a little dismissive and somewhat superior?

He despises the fact that they keep grumbling about living on the streets. As the old drunk says: "But what do we expect? We're living on the streets, people - this ain't no hotel. This ain't no holiday spa."

It's published by Matador at £9.99 and will make a good Christmas present for the members of your family who like to think about stuff.

You can purchase it here:

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Two Jam Jars for the Manor

This is the latest novel from Dermod Judge.

It tells the story of young Johnny. Johnny has a passion for the movies. It is his dream to actually work in the movie industry.

However, the fact that he comes from one of the poorest, most poverty stricken areas of Dublin in the early 1950s, and that he was forced to leave school due to this poverty seems to work against him.

Johnny retreats into a safe world, the world of the movies, the movie plots. This serves to isolate and protect him from the harsh realities of life in the Dublin of those times.

Johnny could tell a good tale, so the family sent him to the cinema so that he could tell the other members of his family about the movie, the plot and what happened.

In a way, his descriptions are so powerful and so compelling that they help sooth the stresses of his family member. Almost acting like an ersatz form of therapy, but without the coach. Or the fee!

However, complications arise and Johnny appears to be forming an attachment with the gorgeous daughter of a rich army major.

However, against all the odds and circumstances that seem to be stacked against him, Johnny endeavours to keep on going, to (somehow) complete his schooling and to try to discover exactly how he can get into the movie making industry.

It's an interesting novel, witty, yet sensitive and is in the great tradition of Irish literature.

It's published by The Book Guild at £8.99 and will make a fine Christmas gift. You can purchase it here


Africanism is a story by author Patricia Bamurangirwa. It is the true story of how Patrica emigrated from Africa and how she was able to create a new life for herself in the UK.

Patrica's aim in authoring this book is a creditable and noble one: She wishes to help instill in the younger generation of people the confidence in themselves and their country.

It's target audience is a broad one. People who are from ethnic minority backgrounds and those who have not had to face the unique problems that can impinge on the lives of people who are from such backgrounds.

It also aims to bring to the attention of readers the current situation in Africa, of the problems faced by ordinary Africans, whilst their nations are ruined by violence and corruption.

It's an interesting book and will be of interest to not only the layman and laywoman but also to academics who study African and ethnic minority interests.

It's a well-written, important and inspirational book.

It's published by Matador at £10.99 and could be an interesting Christmas present and can be ordered here

White Windows

White Windows is an enchanting debut novel from author David Wallis.

It's a tale of mystery and magic about a family which is having trouble coping with the high-paced, modern world.

Their house seems to be under constant threat with mysterious break-ins and a variety of strange and mysterious events, including the loss of several chickens from the garden.

What is going on? Rita believes that the family home is being targeted by an army of thieves and bandits. But the police who investigate can find no evidence of any crimes.

But members of the family are beginning to act strangely, too! What is Gary up to? Why would he attack Rita? Why is there a talking gnome? And what ancient secret does the house harbour?

And who were the Little Tree People? And what were they doing at White Windows?

It's an interesting story for children and I am sure this is not the last we shall hear of White Windows.

Great story for reading with children and it's got to be on the Christmas list for Christmas 2017!

It's published by Matador at £6.99 and can be bought here

Steal Big: Vatican City

Steal Big: Vatican City is a new crime novel from crime writer Sean O'Driscoll.

The Mastermind. Remember him? After a year of living a blissful existence with the woman of his dreams (as they say) he is back, refreshed and with a newer and even more audacious scheme.

He doesn't have to steal, not any longer. Not if he doesn't want to. But, what if he does want to? What if he now just wants to steal because he can? What if he will now steal just for fun?

So, his next step is to plan the biggest, most daring robbery since Captain Blood attempted to steal the Crown Jewels of England. The Mastermind aims to go one better and rob the Vatican City itself.

He makes his meticulous plans and sets them to work, ensnaring people inot his schemes, willingly or not.

However, all is not to go as The Mastermind might have desired. For it is a little known fact that the Inquisition is still in operation and takes a dim view of The Mastermind and his plans.

Plus there is the fact that, following the stalling of his career when he previously failed to capture The Mastermind, FBI agent Ben Fox is after The Mastermind with revenge in his heart.

But what exactly is there to steal at The Vatican? And how come The Pope doesn't know about some of the treasures that are hidden there? What dirty secrets are there to be uncovered?

And when the world finds out exactly what The Mastermind has done, how will it react? With anger and outrage, yes. But who will the anger and outrage be aimed at? The Mastermind, or will it be directed somewhere else?

It's an exciting crime novel where there are criminals. But they might not be exactly who you think they are.

It's suggested this book is inspired by Dan Brown. If only Dan Brown could write as well as Sean O'Driscoll!

It's published by Matador at £8.99 and has to be on your Christmas present list! You can buy it here

Without Walls

Without Walls is an interesting memoir from a very interesting figure.

Meet Nilton Toubkin, the founder of the Southbank International School.

His life, was happy though in rather straitened circumstances, when he was born in South Africa.

His life is like that of many people, facing and surmounting a variety of trials and tribulations.

The break-up of his parent's marriage, his mother's suicide attempt and the tragic death of his own daughter at the early age of 19 are some examples.

However, Milton Toubkin is known in the educational world for his creation and operation of the Southbank International School with a number of fellow educationalists.

Even though the school began its life in less than auspicious circumstances (no funding, no financial backing, for example) the school, under his guidance, was able to thrive and prosper, growing in a relatively short period of time into an important place of learning with an International reputation and a unique educational programme.

Milton also tells the story of his marriage to Marj and the joys of becoming a parent and grandparent.

It's an interesting biography and is very well illustrated with a large number of high quality images.

It is published in hardback by Matador at £15.99 and will make an ideal Christmas gift for the biography junkie in your life!

You can buy it here

Where Peacocks scream

Where Peacocks Scream is a fantastic adventure novel for young adults set on a magical isle not far from the Riverside public house.

The story is told from the point of view of Daniel Williams who lives at the pub with his family.

The pub is connected by a bridge to a path of wild land called The Island. Daniel likes to consider The Island as his own, special domain. He is friends with Josh and Chloe, the daughter of the boatman.

He is also very keen on the peacocks and peahens that live at The Riverside.

The opening of the story is tinged with sadness for Cora, who is Daniel's favourite peahens, has died and Daniel decides that he will bury her on The Island, in secret.

During the summertime, whilst he is on the riverside, fishing, Daniel notices that he is being watch by a mysterious man who habitually wears a white cap. He is photographing Daniel.

It transpires that the man is called Frank Jasper and he turns up The Riverside pub to stay as a guest. Whilst there he begins to make Daniel's life very uncomfortable and miserable indeed.

But why? What is Frank Jasper up to? He brought peacock feathers inot the pub one night. Why did he do that?

Does Frank Jasper have evil designs on The Riverside pub and The Island? If so, what are his plans? Why does he thirst for revenge? And does Frank Jasper know things about the past?

And more to the point, can Daniel thwart his plans for revenge?

Valerie Mendez has done it again with this excellent mystery novel which will be a hit with both young and old.

There are also some interesting subplots and not everyone close to Daniel might be entirely as they seem.

It's an ideal Christmas gift and at £8.99 from the Book Guild, it's worth every penny!

You can buy it here

Love Never Fails

In his non-fiction book, former nurse Don Snuggs makes an interesting and very compelling account of his experiences as a sole carer.

When he reached 75 years of age, Don Snuggs married a woman who had a progressive medical condition.

She needed a wheelchair to help her get around and requires some assistance with day-to-day tasks and jobs.

Don relates how they were able to cope with life as newlyweds who faced the challenges of their particular lifestyle within the constraints of the health concerns that they lived with.

This book is a well-written account of the triumphs and tragedies  (to coin a phrase!) of the failures and successes.

He also raises the important fact (sometimes unacknowledged by society)  of the sheer dedication and selflessness required of a sole carer.

By now Don is 85 and still caring for his wife. During that time he has come into contact with a number of providers of assistance and support, but unfortunately, some of these encounters have been neither pleasant or positive.

However, Don is taking the time to bring the story of himself and his wife Sandi to the fore so that other sole carers can become aware that they are not alone and that, as Don puts it so well: "love never fails."

This book is published by Matador at £9.99 and should be required reading of everyone in the care industry, who is a sole carer or who has a relative who is a sole carer.

You can buy this book here

The Last Squadron

The Last Squadron is a Science Fiction novel set not in the far, distant future, but in the near future.

It's 15 years into our future and the world has generated into a messy globe polarised entirely on religious and ethnic lines. Regional wars have rumbled on for the last 35 years.

97 members of an Allied 9th Mountain Squadron are departing the Northern War Front for a much deserved period of leave.

However, they are shot down over the wilderness of the Nordic fastness.

The survivors have no way of communicating with anyone so they are left to their own devices and, under the guidance and leadership of Natasha Kovalsky and the squadron commander, Major Alexander Burton, they manage to escape the icy wilderness.

But when they reach civilisation, they find that there is now no such thing as civilisation. In their enforced absence, a genetically modified and weaponised viral attack has wiped out the human race.

The world that they knew, flawed though it might have been, has ceased to exist.

This is a stunning debut novel, it grabs a hold of you and refuses to let go. It's clear that the author, Dan Jayson has a military background as he uses his knowledge and experience to bring a nobel that is not only exciting but technically right, too.

Although it is Science Fiction it is of broad interest to all overs of good adventure yarns and I can highly recommend this novel to anyone.

It's from Matador and costs a very reasonable £7.99 and will be a fantastic stocking filler this Christmas. You can order your copy here

Journey Out Returning

Journey Out Returning is a book by William Fell-Holding that recalls an interesting time in recent social history, the brief but influential flower power period of the 1967.

The book is told in diary form, for it is, essentially, the tale of the era as seen through the eyes of the author.

There's the amazing music scene, the fashions, a time of youthful bliss, of mind expansion and learning of new ways of living that supplanted the older order of things, of vibrant colours, of life and loves, of sexual awakenings and a veritable smorgasbord of new experiences that were all for the taking.

And yet, all is not well with our protagonist. He feels that his life, far from being at the zenith of the flower power year of 1967, is actually stagnating. That he is, emotionally, beginning to falter and collapse.

Can there be too much of a good thing, even in the realm of the expansion of the conscience? It would appear so and it is the simple arrival of a letter from his mother that set William off on the next part of the journey of his life.

And so it is that, perhaps a wiser man, he returns to Lancashire, his home county, in particular the Fylde coast,  where he is able to enter a new chapter in his life and renewal of his self, his own identity, aided by his mother, the community in which he had grown up and new friendships which all helped him to recuperate.

Eventually, a wiser and more fulfilled person, William returns to London.

I can't help thinking that there is much more to come from the author as he definitely leaves his readers wanting to learn more about his subsequent life. 

The book is published by Matador at £8.99 and can be obtained here

The Nokka

Jenifer and Jory are two fairly ordinary children who fall prey to some extremely extraordinary magical adventures.

They discover a complicated riddle and eventually manage to solve the riddle. The sollution to the riddle gives them the ability to discover a hidden, secret underground passage in the nearby woods.

This tunnel leads them to a magical world that is parallel to our own Earth, yet which is entirely different. 

For in that world, magic exists and fairies, real fairies, not the fairies of Earthly fairytales, actually exist.

But things in life are often not quite what they appear to be at first sight and after an unfortunate chain of events, Jenifer and Jory seem to be trapped in the parallel world, perhaps forever.

But what if they are given a chance to escape, but which, if accepted, might bring about a terrible dilemma of an unimaginable kind?

This fantasy novel by respected children's fantasy author K. K. Nikolaou, is a must buy Christmas present for the fantasy loving young person in your life, though you might like to read it yourself, too!

It is published by The Book Guild at £7.99 and can be bought here

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

The Spark

The Spark is a new and compelling read from author Trevor Stubbs.

It addresses a range of issues that are, unfortunately, all too common in this day and age. Mental health, post traumatic stress disease (PTSD) and the identity of the self.

It is the aim and the intention of Trevor Stubbs to celebrate what he describes  as: "the indestructible spark of love which offers an opportunity for healing."

The Spark tells the continuing story of the White Gates Adventures series of novels.

In it we meet Shaun who is now 20 years of age. Shaun is a good chap. OK, he might not be quite as quick or as confidant as his older sister, Kakko, and perhaps he is not as clever as Randi, his younger brother, but Shaun is known for being steady and of a quiet nature.

He decides that he will continue his studies and decides that he will follow a pathway of  youth and community studies.

But it's sometimes said that a person's plans are what they do whilst they are waiting for everything to go wrong.

And as far as poor Shaun is concerned, things do go wrong. Horribly and disastrously wrong.

But how can Shaun cope when vicissitudes and circumstances conspire to utterly destroy his chosen way of life?

 However, there is something that can help Shaun, if he is able to accept it. It is the gift of love that brings with it the promise and potential of healing and redemption.

It's a fantasy novel that is aimed at younger readers and will make a super Christmas present.

It is published by Matador at £8.99 and can be bought at

The Devil Gets Lonely Too

This is an anthology of poems written by Liverpool's own Thomas B. Langton.

The poems are described as being "gritty" in nature, so are probably best read by people who are able to cope with life not as they might wish it tog be, but life as it actually is. The underbelly of the society we all live in, the world we all inhabit, but with a slightly, and sometimes not so slightly twisted, view of our society.

Violence, isolation, broken promises, love, hate, fear, sorrow, men, women, monsters, demons and devils.

All of these and many more are to be found as rich subject matter for the probing and witty poetry of Thomas B. Langton.

If you don't like strong language, this book isn't for you. But if you don't mind strong language, these poems will take you on a very memorable journey.

It's the debut of Thomas B. Langton. Here's hoping that Liverpool's new poetic voice will long reign supreme!

It costs £6.99 from Matador and can be purchased here

A Carer's Chaos

A Carer's Chaos is an important new book by Julie Wiltshire.

It offers a valuable and unique insight into the problems and struggles that carers must face very single day of their lives.

The book tells the story of how Julie Wiltshire coped and managed when her husband David was diagnosed with cancer, not once, but twice.

Julie records the details of their long journey from the diagnoses, the treatments and their daily lives as they battled to survive.

It's an honest and open account and tells of periods of love and of hate, anger, feelings of loneliness and the utter terror of having to face the fact that your loved one is seriously ill and could even succumb to this disease.

It takes the reader through the terrible trials and tribulations of the carer as they attempt to help and support their ill spouse or family member without breaking under the strain of the situation that is not of the making of themselves or the victim of cancer.

This book is a must have for every doctor's surgery, every oncology unit, every hospice and every psychological counsellor who has to help carers cope with their unwanted role and every library in the land.

It is published by Matador at £9.99 and is available to purchase here

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Come Sweet Sexton, Tend My Grave

Come Sweet Sexton, Tend My Grave is a black comedy written by Eleanor Berry.

Professor Isaac Stone is in his mid thirties. He is an American (Bostonian by birth) professor of psychiatry.

He is an expert in a range of severe mental health disorders and is known to possess an incredibly short temper. He also declines to tolerate any nonsense whatsoever.

He is called upon to visit a female patient called Esmerelda Harris. who is currently incarcerated within the Rudyard Kipling Hospital where she is receiving treatment for a severe nervous breakdown. Which is, apparently, the result of her witnessing a particularly harrowing  and shocking event.

It will be the professor's job to help her to recover from this traumatic event and to regain her mental equilibrium.

But what did Esmeralda Harris witness that was so distressing that it caused such a dreadful breakdown?

Can the professor help her? Does he want to?

The story is told from the point of view of Charlie Yates, described as "a delightful raconteur" who has a large fund of anecdotes which are sure to keep the reader captivated and enthralled.

The climax of this novel is hideous and dramatic and very tragic.

It is published by the Book Guild at £8.99 and is available here

Here Eleanor Berry talks about her own novel

When the Unacceptable Becomes the Norm

When the Unacceptable Becomes the Norm is subtitled "choosing a care home in the 21st century."

In this book author Bill Lawrence acts as an expert guide and takes the reader along a clear path, avoiding a variety of pitfalls from misinformation, lies and misunderstandings surrounding the selection of a care home for a loved one.

It is based on his own experiences of seeking out a suitable care home facility for his own mother and also on hour after hour of detailed, meticulous research into the shortcomings and problems of care homes that provide accommodation for the elderly.

Bill discovered that annually, there are tens of thousands of reports of complaints about the care of the elderly in such facilities.

Malpractice, deliberate abuse and neglect, both willful and as a result of ignorance or poor training or inadequate staffing levels.

The 2011 census figures showed that there were 320,000 people aged 65 and over in the UK who are residents in care homes. 190,000 of these people were over the age of 85. Which is the fastest growing age group in the UK, currently.

Estimates are that, by the year 2030 the number of care home places will have to grow by 80%.

The book is a concisely written work and should be required reading for everyone who works the the residential care home profession from the owners of the smallest care homes to the largest and to every care worker and nurse in the industry.

And everyone who has a relative in such a care home or who might need such a facility, let this book serve as your guide.

It's published by Matador at £9.99 and can be bought here

William the Hedgehog Boy

In William the Hedgehog Boy author Robert A. Brown presents a children's novel that is an entertaining read but which also brings to their attention the plight of one of our best-loved animals, the Hedgehog.

William is out for a walk and he finds a gang of boys who are throwing sticks at a poor, defenceless hedgehog. 

With considerable bravery and daring, William rushes at the gang and chases them away from the injured hedgehog.

He takes the animal to a veterinary clinic and he help the hedgehog, who is now named "Lucky" back to health.

William is, understandably, upset when the vet tells William that Lucky must be released back into the wild.

Lucky makes the journey back to her den, yet she is confronted by a monster with sharp fangs! And a monster of a hedgehog!

Injured and bewildered Lucky manages to crawl away and finds herself a large pile of wood which she decides will make an ideal home for her to hibernate in.

William is searching for Lucky, but he is miserable. He is also in trouble with his stepfather because of his continued attempts to find his hedgehog friend.

But suddenly everything is changed for William by a dramatic phone call. William is compelled to launch himself into desperate and heroic action.

Can he save the life of both a boy and his best friend, Lucky?

This is a very good read and will make a wonderful Christmas present for both children and the adults who will buy it!

It's to be hoped this will be the first of many books from wild-life photographer Robert A. Brown.

It's published by Matador at £7.99 and can be bought here

The Tall Tale of Maxwell Anderson

In the novel The Tall Tale of Maxwell Anderson, the plot came in a dream, author Steve Joyce brings his debut novel to the reader.

It tells the story of Maxwell Anderson. Maxwell is a growing lad. And that is the problem, for Maxwell cannot stop growing.

His birth had been difficult and he was fighting for his life. Under the desperate circumstances it was not a surprise that his father leapt at the opportunity to allow a new gene therapy treatment to be used on his son. Even though it was relatively untested, not authorised for use and not licenced.

The new therapy seemed to work on Maxwell, yet this did not come without dire and dreadful consequences. For Maxwell could not stop growing!

His father Mark had suffered the tragic death of his wife during the birth and had to battle against betrayal and heartbreaks as he finds new romance and attempts to provide something like an ordinary life for his extraordinary child.

Mark is not without friends and his friends, long-established friends and new friends he meets along the way offer him love, support and help.

But unbeknown to Mark, all is not as it seems, and he is kept blissfully unaware that some of them are not quite what the appear to be.

As Maxwell continues to grow and his condition becomes even stranger, rival groups attempt to become involved in his case, some even attempt to wrest control of the boy.

But Mark's fierce love for his son and his need to protect him come to the fore and Mark will do anything to protect Maxwell. Anything, no matter how extreme, no matter at what personal cost.

This book is an emotionally charged book which is a truly stunning first novel. Be prepared for some tears when you read this novel.

It's available at £8.99 from Matador and can be bought here

Zombie Park

Set in the mid 1980s in a rundown psychiatric hospital facility against a backdrop of the massive socio-political changes that were washing through Britain this debut novel from author Simon Marlowe, Zombie Park tells the story of a young, idealistic and somewhat naive student psychiatric nurse Roland Cauldron as he commences work at the aging and fairly grim Wellington Park Hospital.

But what happens when the lunatics really are in charge of the asylum?

Eager to please and equally eager to learn, the young and very earnest Roland suddenly finds himself plunged into a bewildering maelstrom rather than a place of healing and nurturing.

He meets a range of characters such as the temporary Chief Executive Officer Morten Slaney who is an out-and-out psychopath, Fitzpatrick, the martinet of a nursing manager and the medical doctor who was the third part of the management team, Doctor Caldwell who was oleaginous and self-serving.

They have one concern, the preservation of the reputation of Wellington Park Hospital, at almost any cost.

One of those costs might be nurse Annie Buchanan who, after challenging Morton Slaney somehow ended up stripped of her job and trapped within the hospital as an inpatient. 

Already feeling under pressure and facing his own difficulties with the management, this ramps up his anxiety.

As if things weren't complex enough, Roland meets and falls in love with fellow student Sophie Smith. Who issues Roland with a challenge. Prove his mettle by teaming up with her and battling the management and taking them on.

It's not easy and the day-to-day tragicomedic events at the hospital do nothing to help Roland.

What should he do? Battle against the management or join the doped out Pothead Pixies, colleagues who have decided that the best thing to do was to self-medicate themselves into oblivion?

Ultimately Roland finds himself endangered and defeated in both love and his professional life, betrayed and bereft.

However, when all looks hopeless for Roland a mysterious patient at the facility, Alan Starr steps forward and acts as a guide for Roland to help save him from himself.

It's a somewhat dark and disturbing novel written from the point of view of someone who has seen such a facility from the insides.

It's published by Matador at £9.99 and will make an interesting Christmas gift for the reader who likes their fiction gritty and realistic.

You can buy it here

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Footsteps in the Dew

Footsteps in the Dew is a new novel from Irish novelist Edward Forde Hickey.

The author spent his early childhood living in the community of Dolla which is in Tipperary.

This is the third novel in his trilogy, the other titles in it include The Early Morning Light and A New Day Dawning.

In many ways this book continues in the fine tradition of Irish storytelling, with his ability to evoke an Ireland of former, less technologically damaged times between the two World Wars.

You'll read of the relationships between Catholicism and other denominations such as Protestantism and Quakerism, of the changes in society, of the changing roles of men and women, even in those distant times, as Ireland was subjected to the changes that were sweeping over the world in one way or another.

The story deals with issues that were a part of the dichotomy of life in  Ireland, including Nationalism, the commoners and the gentry, illegitimacy, the malign influence of the nuns and their "laundries" and tales of family relationships, of adventures, murders and also of love and romance.

It is a gently humorous and deeply humane novel and will make a great Christmas gift for lovers of the works of this author.

It is published by Matador at £12.99 and can be bought here

A Season in the sun

A Season in the Sun is a debut crime novel from Robert Rees.

It tells the tale of Henry Fanshawe who is following in his family's tradition of trading in commodities, in his case, spices.

He is the last member of the once considerable established firm of Fanshawe's Commodities, in the City of London.

He leads a fairly unremarkable and rather quiet life, but he finds the new version of the city of London not to his liking. Especially after he loses his position after he is dismissed on trumpeds up allegations of financial impropriety.

However, all is not lost. A legacy from a wealthy aunt means that Henry will be able to live in the Seychelles. However, there is one caveat, he must take over the management of her Village Cricket Club.

And also push it and its team hard enough for them to attain fame and renown in the nascent Seychelles Cricket League. Not that much of a problem, one might think?

But although his amateur team are willing, in general, and talented, things do not always go according to plan. This is not helped by the fact the the team is home to a very senior police officer, a former ex-county level player and a drug using fast bowler.

But those problems are small potatoes when the team and its manager find they are facing the dark forces of organised crime and gambling.

How does this team of plucky, but determined amateurs make out against the forces of Cricketing darkness? For a modest £8.99 you can find out! Purchase your copy at

It is published by Matador.


This is a debut fantasy novel from author Ray J. Newell.

A young man by the name of Dejon is on ledge on a cliff and he makes a discovery. He finds a sword, which is not just any sword, it is the Sword of Shaftesbury.

This sword once was the property of Bran, a Celtic God. Trapped within the sword Dejon discoverers the father of Merlin, Cadgwith.

Sennen, who is the granddaughter of Cadgwith is in grave danger and upon releasing the wizard from his captivity, Dejon is ready to join the battle to save her.

Dejon is taken back in time to save Sennen from the sea lord Mullion, who is an evil man.

However, by mistake Dejon's sometime adversary Jamie is also transported back in time and he finds himself in the dungeons of the castle where he discovers Mithian, a heroic figure to the local people. Eventually after a number of setbacks and adventures all three are able, together, to escape the castle.

There are many problems that face the kingdom. The King of Tintagel hates Ruth his stepdaughter with a burning passion.

However, she is a skilled and respected military leader in her own right and has control of her own army of rebels within the castle.

The arrival of Dejon in the year 410AD adds to an already simmering cauldron of emotional upheaval as he joins in a growing and simmering battle for her love between her childhood companions Mithian and Delaboe and Dejon, himself.

the ruthless and evil Mullion assembles an army of cutthroats and vicious vagabonds that transcends time itself as he attempts to take the castle and much more besides.

But who will, win in this tumultuous battle? Who will win and what will they win?

This is a tremendously good read for fans of fantasy fiction and at well over 700 pages it will make an excellent Christmas gift for the fantasy fan in your life. Or it'll be a great gift for yourself.

It costs a remarkably reasonable £9.99 from Matador and can by purchased here

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Coullian Cuill Apprentice Ghost Guardian

This is a children's book for older children who like the odd ghost story. And this ghost story by Riti Bridie is, when all is said and done, a bit of an odd ghost story!

Sethallis was an undertaker. Which was a perfect disguise for what he really was, a Grey Ghost who just loved to kill a Ghost Guardian and take just a little trophy from his victim.

The existence of Grey Ghosts like Sethellis with their propensity to murder newly selected Apprentice Ghost Guardians was perhaps something that they should have told the first boy Ghost Guardian, Coullian Cuill about. Given him  fair warning, you might say.

But they didn't, so poor Coullian has not only to contend with learning about what a Ghost Guardian should do, he had the honorous task of trying to keep one step ahead of Sethallis and his assistant and to keep himself from being turned into a ghost!

Coullian manages to gain the assistance of two of his good mates, Rawsy and Killane to help him be a sworn protector of good ghosts.

However, come All Souls' Night and everything seems to become a little Thriller-like, with fiendish ghosts and ghouls rising from their varied graves.

So, what's a boy Apprentice Ghost Guardian to do? Battle against the fiends and to try to remain alive. Which is a tall order.

What happens to Coullian, Rawsy and Killane? Can they defeat Sethallis? And exactly what is Sethallis up to?

If you like scary, well-written stories, this is one for you. It's published by Matador at £7.99 and can be bought here

To  learn more visit

The Secret of the Wooden Chest

The Secret of the Wooden Chest is a debut novel from author Catherine Rosevear.

It is set in an environment that is very familiar to Catherine, a nursing home, as she has psent much of her professional life working in nursing homes.

Hannah lives in a small flat on the top floor of a nursing home. She is an only child and shares the flat with her mother who is the matron of the nursing home and her father who does all the maintenance jobs at the nursing home. "Anything but electrics" as he says.

Hannah loves to make friends with the elderly people who live at the home and she is excited by the arrival of a new resident in the middle of the night, after her own house was badly damaged by fire.

This is an Italian lady called Mr Oberto. At first Mrs Oberto seems grumpy, but after a while, she and Hannah become good friends.

But even though they become friends, Hannan just cannot get Mrs Oberto to reveal the secret that is hidden within an old wooden chest that she keeps on the table beside her bed.

One day, Mrs Oberto becomes dangerously ill and as a result, she is hospitalised. She then reveals that she needs the assistance of Hannah to open the old wooden chest.

What is hidden with the mysterious chest?

Then, Hannah's amazing adventure really takes off! She meets with a girl from ancient Roman times and learns that if she really wants to help Mrs Oberto to recover from her debilitating stroke, she must seek out the help of a Roman god!

Can Hannah help Mrs Oberto? Will Mrs Oberto get better?

This is an extremely well-written book and it is heartening to know that it is the first part of a series of stories about Hannah and Mrs Oberto.

It is an ideal book for children of all ages and their parents and grandparents, too. It will make a super Christmas present.

It's published by Matador at £6.99 and can be bought here

Only Human

Only Human is a riveting autobiographical story of what it is like to be a 21st century cop.

Gemma Hines shares what it is really like to be a member of a modern, high tech police force in Britain.

Gemma's start in life was not the easiest, she was stuck in the middle of an ugly custody battle between her warring parents for six very long years.

This brought about a period of purposeless and rebellion, but she was able to turn her life round. She became a personal trainer and at age 18, she chose to serve her community as a Special Constable.

After seeing what being a police officer was really like she decided that she wanted to become a regular officer, so she applied to join the Greater Manchester Police.

Even though she had already been accepted as a Special Constable the process of application and acceptance was still a protracted one and after several months she was accepted as a Police Officer.

Over the next decade she was involved in some fairly major police operations and her book shows what it was like, serving as a female police officer in the early part of the 21st century.

However, Gemma was not a typical police officer, starting out previously as a personal trainer and also becoming a fully trained exponent of martial arts, holding a range of titles in her chosen field of Kick Boxing.

Some of the stories that she tells are humorous, some are horrific, such as rescuing a badly emaciated dog from a flat that was stacked high with rubbish in every room, only to discover that the dog had only survived by feeding on his deceased owner who had died because she had slipped on some of the rubbish in the bedroom and become wedged between the bed and a wardrobe.

There were harrowing tales of suicide, such as a former Macmillan Nurse who, when she developed cancer, decided that she would take her own life and die with dignity.

It was this case that helped Gemma decide to volunteer with dealing with deaths and welfare cases as she wanted to feel as if she could make a difference.

It's a story of highs and lows and I think everyone who is thinking of becoming a police officer or who has a police officer in their family should read this excellent book.

It is published by The Book Guild at £8.99 and can be obtained here

Friday, 25 August 2017

The Rose Girl

In her new novel The Rose Girl, author Fay Howison gives younger readers as modern day twist to the more traditional genre of the fairytale.

The Rose Girl is set in Britain, but it is the Britain of the time before our Industrial Revolution.

The story is set in a valley. At one end there is stern and unapproachable nobleman, the Duke of Ashbury who is burdened down with the unspeakable agony of having lost his wife.

He is so grief stricken that he keeps their daughter, Rosalba as a prisoner in their palatial home, fearful to let her out of his sight, in case some dreadful fate should befall her, too.

But at the other end of this sweet and beautiful valley you will find the Paget family. They are a cheerful and happy-go-lucky family who view conventionality as a burden that they simply will not bother to even try and carry!

The three Paget brothers, as soon as they learn of the plight of the fair Rosalba, each decide of their own volition, that they will rescue her for themselves.

However, things do not go quite as they had hoped and after a series of adventures and misadventures, they learn of a terrifying secret from the past that means they must bury their rivalry for her love and work together to overcome a common problem. And what malevolent hold does the dark and vile Lord Jasper Culpepper hold over the future of the Paget family?

Can they defeat the odious lord and rescue Rosabela?

This book is written for young children aged 10 to 14 and it is published by Matador at £8.99 and it can be bought here

A Captain's Ransom

A Captain's Ransom is a terrifying and true account of modern day piracy on the high seas.

It tells the story of Captain Alex "Joe" Westland and what happened on 14th May 2013.

Alex was a retired ship's captain and an ex trawler captain.

Whilst his vessel St Patrick was off the coast of Nigeria it was attacked by pirates and he was taken as a captive from his boat to the Niger Delta Jungle.

Once there he realised that his situation was extremely grave indeed and during his days of captivity he felt that every moment could very well be his last and he feared that he would possibly never see his wife, his family or his friends again.

Captain Westland hales from Arbroath Angus in Scotland and he has written his memoir for a number of reasons. He felt that it might be of assistance to him if he were able to write out these terrible memories of what happened to him and to also serve as a warning to anyone who even considers working in Nigeria, which he deems "the pirate capital of the world."

The incident brought some changes to his life. He suffers from PTSD, experiencing flashbacks and nightmares and he was forced to take early retirement.

The book is an exciting read and costs £8.99 from The Book Guild. You can purchase it at

Academy for Health Superheroes

Childhood obesity is now listed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as one the most serious worldwide health challenges that face the 21st century. With 19.1% of Year 6 children declared as obese in 2015, Dr Agnes Electra Chlebinska and David W. Evans decided that they should promote a healthy lifestyle with their debut children's book series.

Book 1 in the series covers the heart.

It tells the story of Agnes and her friends who have joined together to form a special Academy for Health Superheroes which aims to train and nurture a generation of Health Superheroes.

You'll meet a whole range of different characters. Humans, animals, body organs and food characters.

Jack and his dad become firm friends with the JFM, the Junk Food Monster. Jack's father becomes ill, having developed heart problems. But fortunately the Health Superheroes are on hand to offer their support and wise advice.

Can they help beat the Junk Food Monster and save Jack's father?

But the book is not merely a fantastic story with wacky and brilliant illustrations from Gilbert Monserrate. It also contains many valuable tips on healthy eating and exercise and there are a range of nutritional snack recipes that children can have a go at making for themselves.  And which should also prove to be very popular with children and adults, too.

This large format book is published by Matador at £16.99 and it is such an important book that council departments and local NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups should get together to ensure that a copy of this book is issued to every family with children in their area.

It also belongs on the desk of every Medical Doctor and Nutritionist in the UK, especially those that deal with obese children and in every public library in the UK.

You can order as many copies as you wish at

I Hear You Calling

I Hear You Calling is an interesting and highly readable book from author Helen Line.

It tells, in their own voices, the story of a group of people whose lives meet and sometimes clash together in a variety of ways, some expected and some unexpected.

There is Rae, who is an Educational Officer. Her own life has taken a turn  that she wasn't expecting. Her husband had turned out to be a control freak and she is trying to come to terms with the loss of her marriage.

There is young Richard Banks who at nine is struggling as he tries to perform a neat balancing act as he attempts to be a crowd pleaser. Well, to be more accurate, his overbearing father and his headmistress.

The situation is made more fraught because Richard is a communications conduit for people who have passed over to the other side. He is a medium.

Rae is sceptical about Richard and his ability, but she has to cope with his father who is a true believer and the headmistress who is anything but and who knows only two ways of doing things. Her way or the wrong way.

To add to the general concerns Rae's ex-husband turns up and things begin to quickly spiral out of control.

At first Rae thought that she was merely trying to saved Richard's place at the school. But a series of dramatic events soon convince her that the battle she is fighting is a completely different one to the one she had presumed. In fact Rae is actually struggling to save Richard's life. And perhaps Richard will return that favour?

This book is a very interesting novel. It's a love story, or love stories, but it is not, actually, a romance.

It's also a very uplifting story which you will want to read several times, at least. And you'll want to share it, too.

It is published by Matador at £7.99 and is obtainable here

Charlie Green and the Underground Railroad

Charlie Green and the Underground Railroad is another story from the pen of aviation expert and published author Martyn Blunden.

It is a continuation in his series of stories about young Charlie Green and Ben and Olivia, his brother and sister, and their magical aeroplane (not airplane, note!) Jenny which can take them to any destination that they care to select, even back in time.

They travel back to the time of the American Civil War in the year of 1862 and they meet up with Civil Rights campaigner Harriet Tubman and they work with Harriet to attempt to free her sister from slavery.

They learn about the secret network of safe houses (the underground railroad of the story) that Harriet had established to help free slaves.

But things very swiftly go awry. Harriet is arrested and their adult traveling companion, Oliver, is captured and forced to enlist against his will in the Confederate Army.

Can they free Oliver and rescue Harriet before she is shot as a spy? If they do so they'll have to outwith some very savvy, battle hardened Confederate Army officers.

The skillful interweaving of the fantasy of the story with the reality of the amazing work that Harriet Tubman did to rescue slaves works very well and this is a book that is ideal for children who are inquisitive about history and who love a good yarn.

It is published by Matador at £8.99 and can be bought here

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Sugar and Spice

Sugar and Spice is the third book in the Singhing Detective series by author M C Dutton.

In it her protagonist, Detective Sergeant Jaswinder "Jazz" Singh comes face to face with a highly dangerous and murderous gang.

Young lives are at risk as Jazz and his colleagues DS Bloomer, DC Ashiv Kumar and Mad Pete are the only ones who seem to be fully aware of what is happening and the only ones who are willing to take the gang on.

However, it appears that the gang they are attempting to chase down have connections in  high places and it appears that they have some powerful, high level protection.

Or else why would their own police force be hunting for Jazz and his team and why would they have gained the interest of the British Secret Service?

Can Jazz and his colleagues smoke out the baddies? Or will they fall victim to the powerful forces that are set on protecting them?

Will the gang continue to evade justice and continue to do evil whilst under the protection of their corrupt helpers?

Or will they all come tumbling down, with the assistance of some special codes and a less-than-friendly Royal Mail manager?

If they can stay clear of the Secret Service and their own colleagues, they'd be safe. Wouldn't they?

This is an exciting thriller of a crime novel and M D Dutton is a good find. I will look out for more of her novels, especially those concerning DS Jazz Singh!

The book is published by Matador at £9.99 and is available for purchase here

Beijing Smog

This is a novel by former Channel 4 correspondent Ian Williams.

It is set in contemporary China and tells the story of how three entirely different people, a Chinese blogger, a British businessman and an American "diplomat", accidentally meet up, due to the creation and dissemination of an online joke.

Much to the chagrin of the ruling Communist Party of China, the joke quickly goes viral and becomes a powerful symbol of defiance for many people in China.

The novel also reveals a great deal about the history of Communist China, how golf was made illegal, how the rights of ordinary people are commonly smashed and trampled by the authorities and how people are attempting to use the Internet and social media in China to fight back against the government, even though the Internet in China is very heavily censored and controlled by the government.

Ian Williams uses his knowledge of the area and his ability as a writer to craft a fine cyber thriller that takes the reader from the smog-lade streets of Beijing to the grim factories of China and to the glittering casinos of Macau and the crowded streets of Hong Kong, to bring his readers a gripping novel that takes an incisive and satirical novel.

It is published by Matador at £9.99 and is available here for purchase

Kafka, Einstein, Kafeinski and Me

Einstein and Kafka met in the early part of the 20th century. This much is known.

However, physicist and author Kurt Hartmann decides to take their meeting one, or rather, several steps forward.

What if, he speculates, Einstein and Kafka had actually indulged in a range of spirited debates over a period of several months?

Hartman speculates on the contents of these imaginary conversations as they talk about mundane, day-to-day topics and also debate some greater and deeper concepts.

However, the story does not finish there and Hartman  moves the action 100 years inot the future and conjures up his two protagonists in a cafe in Berlin.

There conversation is continually being interrupted by an investigation into a murder that has occurred very close to the cafe. Wsas the murder a racial killing? Perhaps so.

Einstein casts his mind back to the evil days of the Holocaust and as a result, he feels inspired to participate in the investigation and helps to bring a resolution to the case.

There's also a quirky visit to the past where the author re-lives a love story in the Berlin of the Cold War Years.

The book is published by Matador and costs £9.99. It can be bought here

Born Together

Born Together is a truly inspirational account of the struggles of the author, Patricia Gallagher, her diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis and her sheer determination to be a good mother to new baby boy, Elliot.

Within mere hours of giving birth to Elliot, Patricia's body began to shut down and to deteriorate.

In Born Together Patrica gives a vivid and utterly honest account of what it is like to live with MS and to deal with the contemporaneous struggles of being a mother.

The diagnosis of MS was not arrived at until after Elliot's birth. The medical experts informed her that, following the birth of her baby boy, her body had erroneously triggered its immune system to launch a defensive strike against itself, resulting in the damage caused to her body by MS.

Patricia was basically told that she would face a life of being vulnerable and also of being disabled.

However, it was almost as if Patricia hadn't read the script of how it was meant to be. Because Patrica decided for herself that she was going to be different!

Because Patricia decided that she was going to work out her own pathway and to take an alternative approach to just about everything.

There were a lot of people who, though admiring her determination, just didn't see how she could hope to succeed.

However, Patrica did succeed and she was rewarded with some new and pioneering medical treatment based on research by Medical Research Scotland and funded in part by the Scottish Government Enterprise Scheme.

Read how Patricia became the first person who has MS to be treated with the revolutionary Robo-Physio device.

As the device is expected to be made publically available later this year, you'll probably see more about it (ands about Patricia!) in the media.

This book is published by Matador at £10.99 and you can buy it at

You can also learn more at

Mystery City

A while ago I was delighted to read a novel by Alistair Laver that was set in the fictional Yorkshire seaside town of Whitborough, which is based on Scarborough and Whitby.

Mystery City is the second novel in the series. It is written with a deft and light-hearted touch and features an incredibly large cast of characters, a rhino that seems to be suffering from some kind of depressive ailment and a couple of somewhat naughty dogs.

You'll have come across Whithborough in the novel Treasure Trove (if you haven't, please read that novel, too) and you'll be pleased to know that this Yorkshire coastal town is still just as interesting in this new novel.

Actions are never (well, hardly ever) without consequences and the ramifications of the actions that were undertaken during Treasure Trove are still reverberating through and around Whitborough.

From an unfortunate incident in July 1645 when devilish beasts attack a flock right through to the present day when masked men in black overalls turn up at the local zoo, and whilst there's a race against either time or the local police force when agents from GCHQ attempt to unravel the mysterious events of the terrorist attack that traumatised the inhabitants of the town during Treasure Trove.

Why are their wolves in the area? What is happening at the Valhalla Retirement Home?

And what, exactly, was there beneath the Mystery City?

Be prepared to strap yourself in for one heck of a wild literary ride!

The book is published by Matador at £7.99 and is available to purchase here

When Snow Fell

When Snow Fell is a novel that reflects on the Russian October Revolution in 1917.

Author Barbara Kastelin takes her readers through a vivid exploration of the impact of these events upon a family who must flee their native land and seek involuntary exile in Great Britain.

The novel is timely for a variety of reasons, it is the centenary of  the Russian revolution and the world is, again, witnessing another era where mass migrations are taking place with all the resultant problems that such events bring in their wake.

There is a personal dimension to this novel as it relates the story of Barbara Kastelin's father's flight from Russia as a result of the revolution and the sad knowledge that their family would never be able to return to their ancestral homeland.

When Snow Fell tells the story of three generations of a once aristocratic White Russian family and their attempts (barely successful, in truth) to integrate into the Oxfordshire of the 1960s.

Perhaps it was that, compared to their previous lifestyle of opulence, glamour and extravagance amidst Czarist Russia, the England of the 1960s was just a little bit dull, in comparison?

The story is told with insight compassion and with a leavening of humour.

Eventually the family begins to run through their once copious financial resources and, in order to survive, they fin themselves in the situation of having to start selling off items of property.

They are so desperate that they must seek compensation from their old enemies, the Soviet Union.

This leads to interesting confrontations between the old order of Russia and the new order of Russia, with clashes not only if ideologies but also of personalities, too.

The result is that old, long-buried mysteries are brought to the surface and some unexpected results, including murder, are brought about.

This is a fascinating novel in the fine tradition of Russian literature.

It is published by Matador at £7.99 and can be obtained here

Absolutely Galapagos

There was a connection between Brian and Charles Darwin. They were both fascinated by the idea of visiting the Galapagos Islands.

Brian's interest was probably less prosaic than Darwin's,  Brian was inspired to make his journey there because of a boat. Pretty mch.

So Brian and his long-suffering wife Sandra made the trip of a lifetime.

The boat turned out to be absolute dream and the islands were all they could have hoped for and much more, besides.

However, it is probably true that Brian was not quite what the other passengers had expected, or perhaps wanted.

Brian was filled with knowledge on South American countries that was perhaps not as interesting as Brian might have presumed.

And his views on a wide range of many and varied topics would enthrall, bewilder, engage or enrage people, including Sandra. Who was certainly not enthused by the only positive fact that Brian had elicited from the disastrous situation in Venezuela was that it had produced an inordinate number of Miss Universes or Miss Worlds.

And Brian did have a point -of sorts- how were great works of literature created before the advent of creative writing courses?

The worrying thing about Brian is that, no matter how exasperating he might be, he is often right about things, but not perhaps always in an especially useful way.

The book is published by Matador at £9.99 and is available at

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Networking Thoughfully

Networking Thoughtfully is a very valuable new book from networking expert Martin Wheadon.

It is short and to the point. It is designed to be read in thirty minutes and Martin Wheadon is confident that this book could well change your life for the better.

It's a guide for people who need to network and to build relationships but who are not exactly sure where they should start or what they should do.

Readers are taken through a clear and concise step-by-step guide which will help them to achieve good, positive results.

Readers will learn how to begin conversations, plus devise methods by which they can introduce themselves to other people.

Wheadon has written the book based on his many years experience within the banking sector and also from creating and operating his own networking business, the High Tea Club.

This book is both comprehensive and also accessible and at £8.99 is a must purchase for everyone in  business, commerce or employment as everyone will find something of benefit in this short but vitally informative work.

You can purchase it here

Elizabeth, William... and Me

Elizabeth, William and Me... is a novel by S. Lynn Scott.

Ally has a fairly normal life, that was until she finds Elizabeth I in her pantry and later discovers William Shakespeare in her bath.

And that's just the beginning of what would turn out to be an amazing adventure for Ally.

Queen Elizabeth proved to be quite crotchety, an Shakespeare seemed to like gawping at women in modern dress... but how had they travelled forward through hundreds of years to modern day England? And why had they come?

Much confusion abounds. After all, coping with modern England was a major problem for our two Elizabethans and Ally seems equally befuddled by this momentous event.

Queen Elizabeth has a mission that she must complete. And, being an absolute monarch, she is used to getting everything done in exactly the way she wants it to be done.

Ally, too, with her somewhat dysfunctional family, is searching for something, too.

Can the arrival of Queen Elizabeth I and William Shakespeare help her identify what it is and also help her to track it down and recover it?

But if Ally can see Elizabeth and William Shakespeare, surely everyone else can? But what if they can't?

What could this mean?

And can Ally find what she is seeking?

Could Dr Pinch help her?

This is an extremely well-written debut novel from actress and theatrical director S. Lynn Scott.

It is a very moving story with elements of humour, too.

Hopefully we will be seeing many more novels from S. Lynn Scott in the future.

The book is published by Matador at £9.99 and can be purchased at