Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Aya and Papaya Find Happiness

In Aya and Papaya Find Happiness We follow the pair as they set out on a journey to find all about the meaning of what true happiness is all about.

It's created by MQ and written by Andy Abey, Anne Blecker and the Qs and is superbly illustrated by Leo Antolini.

When Aya woke up one day, something felt different, not quite right. But what was it?

When she was cleaning her teeth, Aya realised that she had lot something very precious and dear to her. She had lost her happiness!

She took Papaya with her on a quest to find her happiness. They searched high, they searched low.

They searched indoors and outdoors. 

Eventually, with the help of her mummy and daddy, Aya was able to find her happiness, again.

It's a lovely book for children and parents.

It's published by Matador at £8.99.

Thursday, 1 August 2019

The Forgotten Past

In his new book, The Forgotten Past, Andrew Vinken takes a very interesting look at history.

The vast majority of history is what is called top down history, or history from above, as it is also known.

But Andrew Vinken's book on history is so much more than that.

On the first page I said to myself: "I did not know that!"

And some time later, when I noticed that I'd reached page 96 without so much as a break, I thought: "I'm hooked!"

Andrew's style is chatty, witty and urbane, yet he writes with just enough academic rigour to add a little something else to this book.

It's filled, really filled, with a very mixed stew of facts that are more than a little bit interesting, perhaps bizarre, inspirational and down right fun!

Find out who was the real first person to achieve powered flight. And the answer you are thinking? Sorry! That's not the Wright answer! And even the right answer is open to debate. Read the relevant section in the book to learn all about the pioneers of powered aviation.

Also, find out which TV presenter helped (inadvertently, perhaps) to solve a foul murder that was committed 131 years previously. And learn how they could tell the killer had mutilated the corpse after death!

Learn about how an unknown Titanic victim was finally identified in 2007, read the story of the Conscientious Objector who earned many medals for bravery, including the Victoria Cross, read about Knightly murders, about Regicide, the loin cloth wearing war hero, the origins of mineral waters as being of medicinal purposes, learn of the Cock Lane ghost, of the canine haunting of a Scottish estate, find out about the nice Goering brother, of parachute pioneers and much, much more besides. Including who really gave their name to America.

It will be published by Matador on 28th August for the bargain price of £8.99.

I must confess that I am looking forward to the next book by Andrew Vinken.

A "must buy" book for holidaymakers who want a good read to take with them on their summer holiday.

Monday, 29 July 2019

Running Home

Running Home is a debut novel from Brenda Shaw that examines the themes of identity and discrimination.

After her mother dies, Denise finds it a struggle to adapt to her situation. Even more so when he father later remarries and Denise starts to feel like something of a misfit.

Tensions flair in their home ion London when Denise attempts to rival her stepmother for the love of her father

She even attempts to sabotage her stepmother's strict religious Jewish observance.

When she hits sixteen, Denise makes a shocking discovery about the death of her mother that will eventually change the course of her life.

Denise finds a measure of escape when she is in the loving company of her grandmother, Vera, who dotes on Denise.

Vera had fled to England as a child refugee from Nazi persecution. Vera assists Denise to enrol in a Sixth Form boarding college in northern England. However, vile antisemitism mars her idyllic life.

After Denise finishes at university she visits Israel and is enchanted by the modern state of Israel, but concerned at the fact it has to be continually at war with its neighbours.

After her boyfriend is wounded, seriously, she returns to England, in a state of deep distress and confusion. Interestingly moral support and sympathy from a compassionate and caring British Pakistani helps to inculcate in her a desire to continue with her life.

It's a moving and thoughtful book that is published by Matador at a cost of £8.99.

A Spot of Vengeance

A Spot of Vengeance is a new novel from author C. J.Anthony It's his exciting spy thriller debut.

Danny Swift is a former Army Intelligence operative. But he's now put all his intelligence work behind him as he is an aspiring artist.

He meets an art dealer, Hafiz De Mercurio who gives him promises of assistance to launch his fledgling career as an artist.

But there's more to De Mercurio than is apparent. It seems that behind the veneer of an art dealer, lurks something sinister.

And so it is that the British Secret Service reaches out to Danny to recruit him to covertly keep track of De Mercurio.

The Secret Service believe that a major terrorist outrage is being planned, something worse than ever before and they want to stop this from happening. As does Danny, who reluctantly re-enters the world of subterfuge, secrecy and deception that he thought he'd left behind.

They are aware that the key to the whole matter lies within a cypher that is hidden somewhere within works of art. And it's Danny's task to find out what this cypher is and why it is hidden within artworks that are on display in eleven art galleries all over the world.

As corpses mount up all over the world, including a murdered wealthy London stockbroker and the smouldering remains of a Miami art critic, Can Danny crack the code? And can he help prevent an appalling crime against the elite of the art world? And why are the elite of the art world under threat from an awakeed sleeper cell?

It's a thriller of a book from the first page right to the last.

It's published on 28thy July by Matador at £9.99.

Spangles, Glam, Gaywaves & Tubes

Spangles, Glam, Gaywaves & Tubes is the autobiography of actor, writer and the co-presenter of one of Britain's most popular T.V. shows of the 1980s, The Tube, Gary James.

Gary grew up in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. Inspired and excited by the Glam Rock of the 1970s, to go to London at the forefront of the new wave cultures of both Disco and Punk.

Gary was involved in pioneering theatre productions, was part of what's claimed to be the world's first gay pirate radio broadcasts and was the first openly gay TV presenter on what's arguably still one of the best roc TV shows ever, The Tube.

His book covers his school life, which sounded like a lot of fun, to celebrate the life and work of the late Phil Cox, with whom he started the first ever shows for gay people on pirate radio in London.

Plus as he points out, his time as the world's first openly gay TV presenter on The Tube.

The show has never been rebroadcast since it was first transmitted back in 1982.

Ter's the great pop icons of the day, Bolan, Bowie, Frankie Goes to Holywood, Duran Duran, Grandmaster Flash, Soft Cell and many more besides.

This is a very important look at the pop world of the day and should be on the bookshelf of any fan of the times.

It's published by The book Guild at £12.99.

Sunday, 28 July 2019

The Pong of Power

The Pong of Power is a political comedy from Mark Hanlon, a history graduate, a former city of London lawyer and adviser to banks and shareholders on "large-scale infrastructure projects" for the past couple of decades. Oh, yes. He's also a qualified Reki Healer who lives in South London.

In The Pong of Power we learn what might happen if an apparently ordinary person were to somehow take control of the levers of power and become or Prime Minister.

An Old Lady is, like many of us, absolutely and utterly fed up with how things are in this country.

In a shopping centre she gave a full bore rant from atop of her mobility scooter, pledging to restore "Old Lady Values" to political and public life in the UK.

But the Old Lady is not quite what you might think. Or what anyone might think, for that matter. There's the age of this partner in a firm of solicitors. Exactly how old is she, really? 157, perhaps? And then there's her extraordinary habit of dying. At least three times in one week. Well, that's a bit much, isn't it?

But then on the way back to the meth den in Catford where she lived, (what?A Catford meth den? Yes, things are getting a bit complicated, but please bear with us) she is abused by a variety of thugs, nutters and thugish nutters and she snaps, leaps upon her mobility scooter and gives a stirring speech about how life had been much better when she had been a girl back in the 1870s.

However, the entirety of her address had been broadcast not only all over the UK, but also worldwide. Even North Korea had taken notice.

She ran for parliament and won. And then, then she became Prime Minister. But all wasn't quite what it seemed. Dark and somewhat evil forces had aided and abetted her rise to power and as soon as she is in power, just as quickly they work hard to destroy her.

Her dreams become nightmares as the idea of being Prime Minister turn to ashes. She faces a whole array of devastating crises, the likes of which have never before faced a British Prime Minister.

The Russian invasion plans that weren't quite what they seemed, and there were crystals that glowed and there was the little matter of the problems with President Dump, you see?

But a peace conference in a St Ives tea shop? It really wasn't mean to be called The Old Rectum Tea Shop. That was a mistake by the owners.

Plus there was the rather unpleasant business with the now hopefully deceased Satanic Yoga teacher and his modified bubonic plague.

But the Old Lady could and would save the day. Well, she would. Wouldn't she? But what did the psychic know about the Old Lady? And why did she warn her to "beware of the teapot?"

This book is either outrageously funny, or funnily outrageous. Dear reader, you must be the judge of that after you fork out your £9.99 for your own personal copy.

It's published by Matador.

Abirami Forbes and the Magic Sapphire

Abirami Forbes and the Magic Sapphire is a wonderful novel that celebrates Indian mythology and Indian dance.

It's written by Priya Hunt and it tells the story of Abirami Forbes.

Abirami's life is devastated when she loses her family in a tragic car accident.

She is met with the terrifying prospect of having to lead a new life in India, where she is to study Indian dancing at an ancient dance school.

She finds it hard to fit in at first, but she is determined to learn to dance. Her motivation? To teach a rival a lesson.

However, Abirami (known as Abi to her friends) learns that her mother is now a celestial being who Abi can visit in heaven. If only she can track down a magic Sapphire. But there's a problem to be faced before she can visit her mother. There's a demon called Varun who is also after the gem.

Abi learns of the even steps she needs to climb in order to visit her mother in heaven.She has to perform some dangerous and daring tasks to evade Varun and to defeat his attempts to sabotage her attempts.

Can she overcome Varun and find her way to heaven to visit her family? Will she also be able to save the world from doom?

But can Abi find a way to do so much more than anyone could have ever expected of her? Read this extraordinary and very readable book to find out.

Delhi-born Priya is classically trained dancer and has been able to write a wonderful and imaginative story for young people that is based on her knowledge and love of Indian dancing and her fascination and respect for the ancient mythologies of India.

It's published by Matador at £8.99. I think it will be in the holiday luggage of many young readers this summer.