Thursday, 2 April 2020

Robert's Obsession

In this debut novel, Robert's Obsession from author Brian Threlfall, we meet the protagonist, Robert Ormondson.

Things are not going very well for Robert. At one time he was the happily married owner of an Arts and Adult Education Centre.

Unfortunately both his Art Centre (situated on a hill, overlooking the coast) and his marriage to Mary, who is in charge of catering at the centre, are failing.

He develops an infatuation for Jane, a part time worker at the centre and he allows himself to be convinced that his ambitions for the centre can be revived if he can kindle a relationship with her.

However, this already complex situation becomes even more complicated when a former love interest returns to the scene.

A local millionaire is sympathetic to the plight of the centre and offers financial help, but, sadly, within days of making his offer, he dies.

His widow believes in Mary and wants to help her open up a proper restaurant within the arts centre, meaning that Mary becomes keen on revitalising their marriage.

What will happen? What were the links to a similar story involving an ancestor of Robert in the 19th century?

The novel is published by Matador at £13.99.

Monday, 23 March 2020

How to Protect Yourself From Coronavirus Scams

Amid the fear and confusion caused by Coronavirus pandemic, scammers are taking advantage of scared and vulnerable people.

Over £800,000 has been lost to Coronavirus scams since last month 2020, say reports sent in to Britain's National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.

Many of these hoaxes and scams are online and are in the form of phishing emails, malicious social media adverts, and fake online retailers. But now even some in-person Coronavirus scams are being reported.

This article by KIS Finance details some of the Coronavirus scams that have been reported so far so you can keep your money safe.

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Learn to Pray

Learn to Pray, by Marcus Braybrooke, an Anglican Priest, is a guide to enriching your life through prayer. 

The way in which the art of prayer produces self-understanding and contentment is useful in today’s troubled world. 

Marcus takes prayer step-by-step through various methods until a resolution is found. 

Words of encouragement from people such as Mahatma Gandhi and Buddhist writers illustrate that prayer is a fundamental part of human life and not something exclusive to one religion.  Published by Chronicle Books, priced at £10.99.

Learn to Pray, breaks down all religious barriers and gives the opportunity for anyone to find their own personal God.

The Final Straw

In The Final Straw readers once again meet with top West Midlands police detective DCI Charlie Moon who is back with a new case during 2001.

Sometimes the way detectives receive a tip about a case they might be interested in can be quite unusual. But probably not so unusual as when a convicted career criminal in Birmingham's Winson Green Prison asks for Charlie to investigate an apparently solved murder.

Because he doesn't believe that the now dead fellow prisoner (who apparently took his own life in his cell) who had confessed to the murder of a young female student in the 1970s was really guilty.

After taking a quick look into the case Charlie Moon soon realises that perhaps all might not be well with the case.

An initial clue was that all of the records of the case seemed to have been removed from the files.

The more he digs into the case the more he is convinced that there was a monstrous miscarriage of justice. So aided by his journalist friend Jo Lyon (who helps put Charlie in touch with a former Birmingham crime reporter) and his somewhat reluctant team of detectives, Charlie attempts to get to the bottom of why a young Jamaican hospital porter called Wilson Beames had been fitted up for the murder, who had fitted him up and who the real killer was, if he really hadn't done it.

But are people who are still in the force trying to throw Charlie off the scent?

This is another first rate crime novel from Jenny Francis about one of my favourite fictional detectives, DCI Charlie Moon.

It's published by Matador at £8.99.

Incidentally this book was so engrossing that whilst I was reading it in the bath, the water went cold!

The Sapphire Society

The Sapphire Society is a fantasy novel for children by new author L. C. Sarll.

Savannah Wood is, as she is fully aware, just another child of twelve. An ordinary child of twelve, at that. Or so she firmly believes.

Bullies are making her life miserable so when she learns that her family is making plans to leave their home town for a new life in the distant Faroe Islands Savannah is eager to leave.

But during the move her mother discovers a sapphire necklace that of hers that is alluring to Savannah.

But why? What hold does it have over her? There are dark and dreadful secrets beneath the waters that surround their new home of the Faroe Islands. There is a Viking who has not an ounce of pity within him, who seeks ultimate power and doesn't care how he gets it.

However, Savannah learns that she is, by birthright, a member of a secret society that is bound up in the mysterious events.

Which will cause the most destruction? The volcano that is on the point of erupting? Or the massed army of Ragnar that is threatening to strike with great and dreadful ferocity?

But can brave, resourceful Savannah and her companions meet and defeat this terrible foe?

It's a stirring and exciting novel and although aimed at young people I am sure many older readers will also enjoy it.

It's published by Matador at £10.99.

The Broken Tree

The Broken Tree is a Personal Memoir of a Search for a Family.

In this remarkable book Anita Venes reveals a very painful story. It is of her search for her family.

During her childhood her memories of who she was slowly slipped away. She was a child who had been abandoned the the care system, such as it was, in the 1940s.

Unfortunately for Anita her experiences of being a fostered child were not happy ones and, like many of her peers in the childcare system of that era she tried to focus on the future rather than the unappealing past.

However, she was able to make something of her life and her own experiences helped ot shape the kind of person she became. She chose to work with children who were profoundly disabled. She was dedicated to her career for four decades. Her career culminated in her being chosen as the headteacher of a new school.

But Anita still though of her own birth family and she dedicated her life to learning about them and finding them.

She was able to learn the truth that her mother had desperately wanted to keep in touch with her and her siblings but that circumstances had thwarted her.

However, she and her sister were able to reestablish communications with their mother when Anita was 25, having not seen her since she was three years old.

However, the new relationship with her mother wasn't quite what she had hoped for. However several points that had caused her concern were answered when she discovered that severe mental health problems had meant that her mother had been incapable of looking after her children which is why they had to be taken into care.

It's a moving account and at times a troubling one, but it is also a spirited and inspirational account that will help others who are going through similar troubled times.

It is also illustrated with a number of photographs.

Incidentally she discovered that her brother is an internationally acclaimed entertainer.

The book is published by Matador at £12.99.

Just Words

Just Words is the fourth collection of poems from poet Heather Goddin.

When you read the poems in this remarkable collection you will find yourself nodding you head, smiling, chuckling, wincing, perhaps, and sometimes you will be in tears.

Because all human and non-human life is to be discovered within.

You'll read of love, of hummingbirds and butterflies, of memories held within a beloved item, a real tearoom, of winter in Cantabria,  of legs, old photographs, of flowers and flowers that aren't real flowers, but which will last forever.

There's youth, old age, pathos, humour, and there is my personal favourite, the story of Marmalade.

During these troubled times (of Coronavirus) I think everyone should own a copy of this book. It's published by Matador at £8.99.