Saturday, 6 August 2022

Juliette – A mother's story of hope in the face of adversity

“Juliette is the heart-moving story of a little girl whose short life transcends the time she came to stay.”

A Christian who lost a child to perinatal death has authored a book to help others facing their own tough situation find the courage and hope to embrace life beyond their present hardships.

In Juliette, Aude Lombard recounts her deeply moving story from the moment she and her husband Baptiste received the prognosis that their little girl wouldn't live past birth, not only by sharing its profound painfulness but also the frequent moments of light.

With courage and frankness, she relates the long eight months during whicj Juliette grew inside her and beyond, describing the journey as one “full of joy, peace and revelation” that often felt like gifts from heaven.

Aude says: “To reduce our story to that of parents who lost a baby with Trisomy 13 would mean missing out on the many learnings that came with our journey. I have never felt so close to God as I did through this challenge, right to the end. We learned that life has meaning and a purpose no matter how short.”

The book addresses a range of topics likes finding peace in the face of pain, bonding with your unborn child, when prayer ‘seems’ to go unanswered and rebuilding faith and trust. As such, Juliette will appeal to anyone facing a personal difficulty as well as those who enjoy books about the miraculous resilience of the human spirit.

The book doesn't shy away from the reality of Christian suffering. In its pages, Aude attempts to find “a balance between encouragement through faith and staying anchored in what’s real”.

It was only after her loss and during the grieving process that she turned to that age-old question people often ask when faced with similar tragic experiences: “Where is God in this?”

Aude says: “I wasn’t able to imagine how God would be able to use this. I couldn’t see past my hurt. With time, new perspectives opened, and with them peace and transformation came … gradually, I found the road to confidence.

The central message of Juliette is that God always delivers the right resources to face life’s adversities. We may not always know what we need, but God will provide the “boosts” that help. The book also reminds readers that is it healthy and natural to embrace their emotions by “leaving room to share what [they] are feeling, along with [their] fears and questions”.

Aude says: “This second part of the journey is just as rich in its teaching and is worth being valued. Sometimes, we can run after an instantaneous change, when there’s actually a maturing in the process of living out the challenge we are facing.”

In the book, Aude describes the changes she saw in her character, emotions and perspective. She learned that God is in the present, not in the past or future, and that this is where we will locate the resources of strength, joy, peace and love.

Whether readers are seeking inspiration or encouragement, in Juliette they will discover a heart-moving story full of hope in the face of adversity — because while sadness passes, joy remains.

Juliette – A mother's story of hope in the face of adversity

Aude Lombard

Published Summer 2022

Paperback: £13.99

ISBN: 978-1-3999-1735-3

Kindle: £6.99

Pages: 126

Friday, 5 August 2022

Reginald Belcik and the Mystery of the Diamonds

In Reginald Belcik and the Mystery of the Diamonds we read how Reginald Belcik becomes entangled in the mysterious death of a woman. 

Reginald digs for answers into the young woman's death, but this is complicated by the fact that he is rapidly falling in love with her mother.

Reginald is a widower and a retired engineer who lives a solitary life in a nice apartment complex. All is perfectly normal until he receives a totally unexpected visit from the president of the apartment complex's  residents association when he is suddenly asked to take over the position as the manager of the apartment complex. The vacancy had occurred because, unfortunately, the young lady who previously held the position had been murdered.

Reginald accepted the position as manager, takes possession of the keys. 

It was then that the situation becomes even more complicated, when Reginald discovers a shoebox filled with diamonds.

Reginald decides that he needs to investigate what had happened to the previous manager, but his investigations become complicated by the fact that he is falling in love with her mother.

But there is another murder, this time of a police detective and what involvement does a robot have in all of the mayhem?

It's a thriller novel from The Book Guild and is priced at £9.99.


In the latest book for children by John Benneyworth, Mus-Iggle, we read about music, about learning to sing, to play and also to write music.

When Mus-Iggle was a tot, his dad, who is a jazz musician, wanted Mus-Iggle to learn to play music.

 But unfortunately he could not learn to play music. Of course this made Mus-Iggle very sad.

Mus-Iggle's mother was also a musician, in fact, she is an opera singer. She wanted Mus-Iggle to sing for her, but he could not sing for her. This also made Mus-Iggle even more sad!

However with the arrival of a new music teacher at his school. His new music teacher showed hm how he could "talk" with crochets and quavers and pretty quickly they were able to chat together in harmony. 

Mus-Iggle loved the fun this generated and very soon Mus-Iggle was writing songs and music.

In fact, Mus-Iggle eventually became a successful musical composer. 

The story is well-told and the illustrations bright and colourful.

It's published by Troubador's Children's books at £7.99. 

Learn about all the other Iggles at

Friday, 29 July 2022

Love in a Time of Pestilence

Love in a Time of Pestilence Is the fifth collection of poems from author and poet Heather Goddin.

It touches on a wide range of subjects, from being trapped at home during lockdown, how the phone became our dearest friend, how we kept in touch with friends and family some of them many, many miles away. How hugs became virtual simulations of the real thing.

Heather writes of flowers and of a caged bird, trapped whilst yearning to be free, of pleasures both small and large, taken when and how we could during the lockdown.

Heather muses on a humanist funeral, and ponders on hair cuts that just couldn't happen due to the lockdown. The village, she realises, will soon know who is or isn't a natural blonde! I hadn't actually thought of that!

Heather touches on many other matters, including rituals of ancient days and of dreams both futile or otherwise, of wishes wished and promises promised.

I like writing poetry. I only wish that I had the facility for writing poetry that Heather Goddin posses!

It's published by Troubador at £8.99.

Igor and the Twisted Tales of Castlemaine

Igor and the Twisted Tales of Castlemaine. You probably know about Igor. Igor was the assistant to Victor Frankenstein's dedicated but troubled assistant who worked with Frankenstein in his laboratory. 

But who was Igor? Where did he come from? What were his origins? And what happened to Igor when he managed to screw up enough courage to leave his abusive master and Frankenstein's Castle?

So pleased you asked Igor wound up in the village of Castlemaine. If you thought Frankenstein's Castle was weird, then wait until you see what happens in Castlemaine! 

The village is set deep within the Carpathian Mountains and appears to be subject to a curse. Or several.

There are ghostly happenings a-plenty and almost all the inhabitants seem to be perverted on one way or another.

Igor meets up with Esmerelda, the stunningly beautiful daughter of the homicidal local innkeeper. Esmerelda is also prone to the occasional outbursts of violence. Only natural, given the circumstances.

Esmerelda and Igor soon find themselves with a more than plentiful amount of trouble and fun. Maybe fun. 

They find themselves tangling with mediums, monsters, maniacs and murderers (that's the Ms covered!) a nun (oh dear! That nun!) and things spiritual and also demonic. Oh, yeah and some Zombies, of course.

Readers follow the duo as they stumble and stride through a variety of amazing adventures together.

It's written by long-term friends and horror movie fanatics Ian J. Walls and Richard L. Markworth.

If you ever thought "That's odd! Whatever did happen to Igor after all the fun and frolics with that Count?" buy this book (from Troubador, £9.99) and you'll learn more than you ever thought possible.

The method of reducing funeral costs is particularly enlightening. Or something.

The Madness of the Faithful

The Madness of the Faithful is a new novel from R H Williams.

All over the world a mysterious incident renders everyone to lose their consciousness for a brief moment in time.

But when everyone returns to awareness every aspect of whatever faith they had previously adhered to was stripped from them.

Those who had previously believed in God were left feeling bereft and numbed.

The cause of the event was unknown, but some people believe that the only possible cause of this cataclysmic event must have been a single, powerful outside agency.

However, some people are resentful of those who still seem to have some religious symbols in their life and wish harm on them, including violence.

We are introduced to Paul who is a middle-aged widower who is a recovering alcoholic. He had leaned very heavily on his religious beliefs to help him deal with the tragic loss of his wife.

However, after the incident that cost everyone their faith Paul begins to see his wife again and she leads him to a coastal village in Wales that holds particular significance to him and his wife, as it's a place that held great significance for them based on a visit during their honeymoon.

Paul becomes an important part of village life and together Paul and the other inhabitants work together to help each other deal with their altered world.

However, those who support the External Force are a danger and Paul needs to help protect what his now his new family from them before it is too late?

It's a beautifully moving book that explores many important themes and raises some important questions. Including what would we do under such circumstances?

It's published by Troubador at £10.99.

New Brighton

New Brighton is a new science fiction novel from the pen of Helen Trevorrow.

It's evening and Robyn Lockhart, resident of Brighton, which is a coastal city in East Sussex and some 47 miles south of London, is meeting up with her boyfriend Vincent. They are getting ready for a night on the town, but a storm is threatening. 

Robyn works as a waitress, she lives with her mother and her sister, Alice. In fact, Robyn often looks after her sister.

Whilst they are in the nightclub the storm breaks with a ferocity not seen in living memory. 

During the storm a large and rusting ship is washed up onto the beach. Early the next day the ship has already been removed from the beach and taken to a dock area where it is guarded. But why? Why would the authorities be interested in restricting access to an old, rusting hulk of a ship?

With the connivance of a friend of Vincent they manage to access the ship and Robyn finds something that seems, on the fact of it, to be utterly impossible. Almost magical, in fact. She pockets it before they have to flee the ship.

However, afterwards Robyn learns that her mother has had to travel to the hospital in London with Alice because Alice's illness has struck again.

Vincent decides to travel with Robyn to London. They learn that the trains to London are all cancelled due to the storm. No problem! They'd get the coach. but the coaches are all cancelled, too. 

On the spur of the moment Vincent decides that he would steal a motor scooter for them and they would ride to London. When they discover that the road to London has also been cancelled, that it ceases to exist not many miles out of Brighton they realise that all they know and remember about their lives including remembered trips to London probably never really happened.

The land between Brighton and where London should be is filled with row after row of polytunnels in which plants are growing.

If there is no London where have her sister and her mother gone? And why does Robyn keep meeting people who she thinks she should know, but doesn't?

After Vincent is savaged and seriously wounded by a polar bear which Robyn is able to kill, with Vincent's shotgun, she finds herself in hospital and meets her sister.

Suddenly Robyn is back in reality. Or is she? She has split up from Vincent (apparently) and Robyn begins to realise that things are just not right. And what's wrong with feeding the penguins of Brighton with the odd muffin or two? 

She keeps on being able to look back into the past and begins to learn that things just don't look right and that she and her new (old?) friends must work together to combat a dreadful, evil enterprise. And what is the role of her mother in this? And what did happen to her father? 

But now Robyn has to fight for her new cause, for Vincent, her sister and the baby girl that Robyn is now carrying.

The book is published at £8.99 in paperback and £14.99 by Red Dog Press

You can buy it direct from Red Dog Press, Amazon and other retailers.

This is the best science fiction novel I have read in many years. I think British Science Fiction has an important new voice in Helen Trevorrow.

How good is it? I would wake up in the middle of the night and instead of going back to sleep I thought "I'll just turn the light on and read a couple more chapters."