Wednesday, 16 December 2015

That's Christmas: It's not too late to order your Christmas gifts

That's Christmas: It's not too late to order your Christmas gifts: It is not to late to order your Christmas gifts. We all know how it is. A gift suddenly becomes out of stock, you realise you forget to ...

That's Christmas: New Christmas Song from Red Sky July

That's Christmas: New Christmas Song from Red Sky July: Red Sky July are an award-wining female trio consisting of husband and wife Ally McErlaine (guitarist from Texas) and Shelly Poole ()Alish...

Sunday, 13 December 2015

That's Christmas: Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses

That's Christmas: Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses: I believe this is one of the best Christmas songs ever!

A War Symphony

A War Symphony is a new book by Keith Rumsey.

In it, Keith Rumsey, who is an academic expert in the German language, take a collection of writings in the original German and translates them into English.

The writings are taken from the periods between the World Wars and beyond into the mid-1950s.

they offer the reader a compelling and different view on the impact of both wars on the ordinary people of Germany, but, obviously, from a Germanic perspective.

The writings were all created by influential German writers.

You will igially written by a wide range of German voices, such as Hermann Hesse, Bertolt Brecht, Hans Bender, Elisabeth Langgasser and Ernst Glaser.

They all make reference to war on one way or another, yet they are not specifically war stories, as such.

They touch on a wide range of subject matter, such as the impact of war on both military personnel and on the civilian population.

Some are stridently anti-war, others are less so, but still manage to convey the futility of war and those who are more strident in their attitudes place the entire blame for the two World Wars on nationalism.

There are elements of humour and filled with sympathy for the victims of war.

The book is published by Matador and costs £7.99 in paperback.

It is available through the That's Books and Entertainment bookshop, which is to be found to the right hand side of this review.


Terragaineous is a new novel for children by Irish born author and storyteller A. O. Comerford.

As a child growing up on a farm in rural Ireland, he recalls a scrawny aged ash tree that grew on the side of a hill on the family farm.

Its roots were exposed as it clung, somehow, to the hillside.

He imagined that there were tunnels beneath the tree and its roots and that there was a busy civilisation of wee folk who lived out their lives there.

Which brings us to his novel Terragaineous...

Callum is 15 years old, an ordinary young boy, living an ordinary life, until fate decides that it has other plans for him, when Callum's mother unexpectedly dies.

Riven with grief and rage at this cruel turn of events,  Callum's life, his whole world, falls to pieces.

Several weeks later Callum becomes convinced  that he has finally succumbed to insanity caused by his grief when he is rescued by a homeless man. Yet this homeless man is no ordinary man. He is an extraordinarily small man. In fact, he is a tiny man.

The tiny man reveals to Callum that he is a member of an ancient subterranean civilisation made up of tiny folk just like himself.

He regales Callum with stories of how they reside, happily in a magical world where all live in harmony with nature. Far away from the turmoil of the life led by humanity.

Realising that he has not lost his mind, Callum latches on to this opportunity to live beyond his own hurt and he convinces his friends to help him assist the tiny man to find his way home.

But exactly where will their open, childish curiosity and kind-heartedness take them?

What will happen to their tiny friend? What will happen to them?

This is a book that will captivate children -and adults- as it draws them into the world of Terragaineous.

It is published by Matador at £8.99 and will make an excellent present for children of all ages. It is not available for Christmas (the official publication date isn't until 28 December) but you can pre-order it at the Amazon-powered That's Books and Entertainment book shop, which will be found at the right hand side of this review.

Pirates and Promises

Pirates and Promises is a new adventure book written especially for children by Peter Gredan Davies.

Whilst he was enjoying a holiday in the beautiful coastal village of Mousehole, Peter (who hales from Portwrinkle) discovered that in 1595 there was a Spanish attack on both Mousehole and also on the town of Penzance when the Spanish invaders set both of those Cornish towns ablaze.

Intrigued, Peter undertook further research and discovered that the coast of Cornwall was subject to frequent and numerous attacks by the Barbary pirates of North Africa.

He combined his research with his lifelong passion for the sea (he is a former Royal Navy officer and a seaman) to provide the basis for his novel, Pirates and Promises, which is written for children aged from 9 to 12.

Becca and Jack Tremayne are twins living in Cornwall. They find a mysterious man, Azfer Hakeem, shipwrecked on a neighbouring beach and they save his life.

But there is much more to Azfer Hakeem than appears at first sight. For it transpires that he is of the royalty of the country called Lebanon.

He is in command of a fleet of armed merchantmen, ships that trade between Europe and the Mediterranean.

However, under the circumstances of them saving him from certain death, Azfer Hakeem feels honour bound to assist the twins in their desire to locate and rescue their parents, Kerenza and Brethoc, who had fallen prey to Barbary pirate two years before.

During his recuperation he and the children build up a genuine rapport and, whilst showing them is magic tricks and regaling them with tales of his distant travels, he begins to formulate a plan of how he could use his royal and diplomatic connections to discover the fate of the parents and to rescue them, if possible.

He uses his network of spies to find that Kerenza is being help captive in the court of the Governor of Algiers, and there are rumours that Brethoc is enslaved to the team of rowers on a galley.

Eventually, Azfer Hakeem is well enough to command his brave and resourceful crew of all nations to take the twins on an adventurous and perilous mission to attempt to locate and rescue their parents.

Will they survive? Will they find their parents? Can they rescue them?

Buy this book as a Christmas present and you and your children can learn for themselves!

The book is published by Matador at a very reasonable £6.99. It's also available from the That's Books and Entertainment Amazon-powered bookshop (you'll find it to the right hand side of this book review) but if you want it before Christmas, we would suggest you go for one of the faster delivery options.)

The Little Read Book

The Little Read Book is a new book from Mike Arblaster that takes a playful and energetic look at facts and words.

Mike takes us through an enterprising and entertaining romp through the world of words and also through the word of worlds.

He takes what we know and shines a strong light on it and helps us to see that perhaps what we thought we thought we knew is not actually always the case.

He casts his sardonic and humorous gaze upon matters medical, fashion, science, food and drink, medicine, business, the military, music, people, nature, the law, entertainment and the media, geography, literature and much more, besides.

The tone of the section on medical matters "Delirious Diagnoses" is set by the deliciously apposite aphorism: "Most men have a body shaped like a Homeric hero -too bad that it's from the Simpsons and not the Iliad."

Mike doesn't just take a sideways look at a subject. He takes the subject, breaks it down into its component parts and then says, gleefully: "See? See what this thing is really all about?"

And you look at it and you say: "Yes! Yes! I see it all, now! Why are consultants so expensive? And why is there no rhyming slang for rhyming slang? What was AA Milne thinking when he called the bear Winnie? And why was he a pooh bear? Why is English a universal language? And why is dyslexia spelt like it is?"

And is it true that the love of evil is the root of all money?

This book has the ability to turn a common, well known fact on its head and make you actually think about what you think you already know.

At £9.99 this book, published by Matador in paperback, it is the ideal Christmas gift for anyone who loves words and language.

It is, of course, available through the That's Books and Entertainment bookshop (you will find this to the right hand side of this book review) but we suggest that you use the faster delivery options if you want to make sure that it arrives before Christmas.

A Cold War Spy Hunt by a Crummy Army Newspaper

Thank goodness! A new and utterly wonderful book from novelist Tim Topps!

A Cold War Spy Hunt by a Crummy Army Newspaper tells the story of how Tim Topps, a recently commissioned officer (but one who does not feel in the slightest bit military-minded) is assigned to a laid-back army base in Shropshire, two years after the end of World War 2. Most of the people assigned to the base are "coming down" from the five years of the previous war.

But now a very different type of war was beginning to become noticeable, even at Tim's base. For this was the era when the Cold War began to become evident.

However, all Tim knew was that he was to perform the duties of an officer at the huge base, including being in charge of the stores, but what he might not have expected was that he would also have another duty dumped on him, that of serving as the editor of a "crummy army newspaper" that is "published" at the base every week.

Tim's remit as editor is to not only lick the weekly paper into some sort of shape, but to expand the paper, too.

However, all is not as it seems. For the true role that Tim is to serve  as the editor of the publication is to turn it into a tool (to "weaponise" it, to use a modern term) in order to trap a Communist sleeper agent who, MI5 is convinced) has managed to plant himself within the civilian staff of the base. 

In the meantime Tim manages -contrary to the rules- to fall deeply and madly in love with a very pretty and charming young ATS -who is also very good at her job- which merely adds to the general Mayhem of the situation as it develops and trundles along on its troublesome way.

Tim and his ATS assistant take their time but manage to narrow down the suspects not to a civilian worker but to an officer.

But is all it seems?

Is there a sleeper? If so, who is it? And who is working under him?

What is the connection with Southern France?

This book is an exciting romp, with some touching romance too, it must be mentioned, through the early days of the Cold War and is another must read book from Tim Topps.

This novel is available via the That's Books and Entertainment Amazon-powered bookshop to be found to the right hand side of this review. It will make an excellent Christmas gift. But may I suggest you order express delivery if you need it to fill a space in a Christmas stocking?

It is published by Matador in paperback at a very reasonable £8.99. 

(Incidentally your reviewer has a message for Tim Topps. When my father spent several years working as a civilian at COD Donnington in the early to mid-1960s, it was still just as laid-back as ever. And still is to this day, if stories are to be believed.)

Sunday, 6 December 2015

The Devil Returns Twice as Deadly

The Devil Returns Twice as Deadly is a historic novel by Fred Smith.

It tells the tale of Robert Williams who is a County Bailiff.

He sees what he believes to be a chance to earn some extra, easy money.

But he could have had no understanding of the breathtaking and dangerous series of events that this engenders.

There's a ferryman who seems to have a problem, but what problem, exactly? Who, or rather, what was he? Man or something else?

Also there is a violent. troubled and bothersome landowner, a magistrate who is nursing a grievance that is ages old and what of Mary, the love of Robert's life? Has he inadvertently brought danger of an untimely end to her and even her entire family?

Can he save Mary and her family? Can he save himself?

This book is an ideal Christmas gift for anyone who likes a rip roaring adventurous novel, set in the olden days.

It is published in hardback by the Book Guild at £12.99.

It is, of course, available via the That's Books and Entertainment bookshop which is to be found to the right hand side of this review.

The Arabian Alchemist

The Arabian Alchemist is a fascinating new book by Edda Livingston.

It offers an intriguing look into the life of the body of people known as the Illuminati.

In it we read the account of a student search and discovery of a "Hidden Master".

We read how the narator, Gullvei, meets Michel Nizan, through mutual friends.

She, Gullvei, when she meets the magician and alchemist, is completely enthralled by him.

Their rapport is immediate and strong.

The reader is taken on a journey of discovery as Gullvei learns all that she can from her teacher.

The book is esoteric and one for followers of this path of knowledge.

It is published by The Book Guild and costs £9.99.


Wrack is a novel by James Bradley.

It tells the story of David Norfolk who is an archaeologist who has the task of searching for the wreck of a Portuguese ship that is thought to have sunk 400 years ago off the coast of New South Wales, Australia.

If he were to find this ship it would lead to the complete rewriting of the history of the discovery of Australia.

But what happens is that instead of the prize he seeks, Norfolk discovers the remains of a man who had been murdered half a century earlier.

There is an elderly hermit who is living in a nearby shack. The man is dying and he seems to know something about the identity of the dead man. And tantalisingly points to a possible link between the corpse and the shipwreck that Norfolk is searching for.

The elderly man beings to reveal secrets from his own life, a life that was blighted by rivalry, passion abd betrayal.

But does he really know anything about the sunken ship and the story of the murder that took place all those years ago?

Will he reveal what he knows to Norfolk before it is too late?

This is a compelling and exciting story that is written by a master storyteller who is an excellent and highly skilled researcher.

The book will make an idea Christmas present for those who like adventure stories and is available through the That's Books and Entertainment bookshop, which is to be found to the righthand side of this review.

It is published in paperback by Faber and Faber at £7.99.

Unicorn Power A Princess who can't dance

It's the middle of the night. Eliza is sleeping. Yet her twin sister Darcy wakes her up. Why? Because a princess called Jemima is in trouble and needs their help!

All at once Eliza is awake and the twins are putting on their pretty pink wellington boots, saddle up their flying unicorn and dash off to the rescue!

The princess is in the expert help of Darcy and Eliza. She has been invited to attend a special ball, yet she doesn't know how to dance the waltz! Every time she has tried, she has fallen over.

Thankfully, the girls love to give dancing lessons at midnight and with the magical assistance of their unicorn called Blossom, they think they should be able to turn their princess friend into a spectacular, sparkling dancer.

And, after a few false starts, they soon have her dancing like a champion dancer.

This book, written by Andrea Miller, is not only charmingly written, it is also charmingly illustrated throughout.

It is an ideal Christmas present for little girls who like pink wellingtons, dancing, unicorns and helping princesses out.

It is published in hardback at £8.99 by The Book Guild and is available via the That's Books and Entertainment bookshop ,which you will find to the righthand side of this book review.

My Hair Curls

My Hair Curls is a wonderful and charming book by Sheryl Richards and vibrantly illustrated by Noushka Galley.

It tells the story of Angeline who is an ordinary, but remarkably special, little girl of a third generation family of African-Caribbean heritage. She lives with her mum and dad and her little brother, George.

Angeline tells her own story in a charming way, using very simple, yet very powerful words to describe the differences and the similarities- of not only her hair, but the hair of her friends.

There are also 18 beautiful butterflies for you and your child to discover which are hidden -in full view!- throughout the book.

There are also interactive elements within the book which mean that the book will become highly personalised to the very lucky owner of this book.

This isn't one of those well-meaning yet potentially very annoying books that promote diversity in a tedious and dull way. This is a book that celebrates diversity in a bright, breezy and effective fashion.

Sheryl is not only a very talented writer, she is also a mother and her understanding of what children want and like is reflected in this "must buy" book which will make an ideal Christmas gift for any child (probably best for girls, though) no matter what their cultural identity.

It's ideal for reading together (remember to look out for the butterflies!) and costs £6.99 in paperback from Matador.

You can buy it through the That's Books and Entertainment bookshop, which you will find to the righthand side of this review.

Just a Little Scratch

Just a Little Scratch, subtitled "Anesthesia a straightforward guide to what it is"  is a new book by Dr David Raitt.

The thought of a forthcoming operation can be unsettling, but now these concerns and fears can be allayed by this new and highly informative book by near-40 year veteran anaesthetist Dr Raitt.

Before the advent of anesthesia surgery was brutal and carried out as quickly as possible before the patient died of shock, due to the excruciating pain of having a broken bone set, an operation performed or a diseased limb cut off.

This was all changed, however, with the discovery and development of various types of anaesthesia.

Dr Raitt's guide to anaesthesia givers the reader a brief overview of the history and the development of the branch of medical science known as anaesthesia and modern, cutting edge techniques.

It takes the reader through how it works, what the anesthetist does during the operation, what the best anaesthetics are and much more, besides.

Dr Raitt had taken a look at the available books on anaesthesia and had realised that the available books on the subject were either all so filled with advanced medical jargon and terminology, or conversely, were so basic that thy were of very limited use.

Dr Raitt wanted to write a book that was suitable for everyone, but would be of special interest to patients and their families, before an operation was performed.

Dr Rait -who trained as an anesthetist whilst he was serving in the RAF- and who then spent near 30 years as a consultant anaesthetist in the city of Leicester, was fully aware of how daunting an operation could be, so wanted to provide a book that was as comforting as it was informative.

It is written in a very approachable style. Apparently this is the first informative guide that Dr Raitt has written. As this is the case it is to be hoped that this will be the first of many such books that he will write.

Before I picked up this book, I would have doubted that a book on anesthesia would have been enthralling, but this slim, but highly informative book, is enthralling and utterly engrossing.

Although Dr Raitt has intended this book to be for the layman it is my opinion that this book will make an ideal Christmas present for anyone who is either already a medical student, or is in pre-med classes at college or university.

It will also be of valuable assistance to nurses and healthcare assistants, hospital chaplains and other people who work with patients who are about to undergo an operation.

Hospitals really should consider buying this book by the case for staff and patients to read. It really is that good.

It's published by Matador at an incredibly modest £8.99 it is an ideal Christmas stocking filler for everyone from the first year medical student to someone about to undergo a surgical procedure.

You can buy it from the That's Books and Entertainment bookshop, you'll find it to the right hand side of this book review.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

The Galician Parallax

The Galician Parallax is a new thriller by James G. Skinner.

Set in 2004, it touches on the three coordinated attacks on three commuter trains in rush hour Madrid that murdered almost 200 people, leaving a further 2,000 with physical and psychological scars.

A Jihadist group working in Madrid had taken two years to plan and then execute the attacks. The next planned attack would be in London.

At the beginning of the novel, a British yachtsman who lives in the Spanish city of Vigo kills himself.

Or did he? Because Segio Garcia, a youthful and inquisitive lieutenant in the Spanish Civil Guards does not believe in the suicide theory. For he suspects that the Briton's death may well have been down to a homicide.

In his own time he runs what is, virtually, an investigation that is running parallel to the official investigation that is being mounted by his colleagues.

As his own investigation proceeds he digs deeper into the case and is staggered to discover that there is a link between his private case and Al Qaeda.

The problem is, he realises that he cannot prove conclusively that the link actually exists.

He forms the conclusion that he cannot take the next step forward to prove his thesis on the link without the help and assistance of the British authorities. So he drafts in the assistance of Stan Bullock, who is the honorary British Consul.

Bullock is amenable to help and begins to bend the rules of the consular and Foreign Office rules in order to obtain the information that is required.

Their combined efforts do uncover a link to one of the top cocaine cartels operating within the United Kingdom, but ut is terrorists operatives that form a real and present danger to the lives of our two heroes.

Could they prevail against apparently insurmountable odds? Would they survive?

This is a pacy and exciting thriller and will make an ideal Christmas gift for the lover fo thriller novels.

It is published by Matador at £10.99 and is available via the That's Books and Entertainment bookshop, which is to be found at the righthand side of this book review.

"Oh! It's yerself!"

"Oh! It's yerself! ya bu**er!

This was the greeting that the Reverend Jack Kellet received from one of his 90-year-old parishioners, a life-long attendee of South Leith Parish Church.

It was a greeting that was met with a heartfelt kiss by way of a response.

The book is subtitled "A Scottish Minister looks back on a life of surprises."

The Reverend Jack Kellett describes himself as a lucky man. (Though some say that by-and-large, we create out own luck.)

However, his luck includes being fortunate enough to fall under the very positive influence of the famed Iona Community as a young man and lucky enough to have a surprise weekend at Balmoral Castle in the presence of the Queen.

He had experienced life within the working class community of Edinburgh, born to parents who had known what hard times were like for the desperately poor of Edinburgh.

He knew the love of his parents that was demonstrated in the taciturn fashion that was their way.

He also considered himself lucky to have fallen for a girl who also fell for him, despite, as he saw it, all his faults.

And lucky to have raised a family of three children.

He was surprised to find the Queen was much more ordinary than he had suspected might be the case, and didn't get into any trouble at all when he accidentally stepped on the paw of a Corgi who had been dashing toward its breakfast!

He also had the pleasure of saying grace, a short one, much appreciated by the Royal family and the staff, at a meal at Balmoral, where he had stayed as a result of being asked to preach a sermon at nearby Craathie.

Hobnobbing with the Queen and the Royal family. But that wasn't how it had begun for Jack Kellett.

His father was a grate builder who was proud of the fact that he was able to earn a halfpenny an hour more that the other tradesmen and he was the only employee never to have been paid off during the great depression.

He wrote with great eloquence about the childhood games of the 1930s, games like What's the Time, Mr Wolf? and the like.

He touches on childhood ailments, his school days, his National Service, his involvement with football and cricket and marriage to the great love of his life, Ena.

It was when he and Ena were enjoying a holiday on the Isle of Iona that Jack realised he had a calling to be a church minister.

And, after six years of theological study at Edinburgh University, that is what he became.

He proved himself to be a more than capable church minister, always busy being a husband and father and working for the members of his congregation and known for working with other churches in his area, including building strong links with local Catholic churches.

This book is compelling, amusing and truthful, written by a man who is, truly, a man of his God.

It is published by Matador at £10.99 and is a compelling autobiography.

Sisters of Fury

Sisters of Fury is a thriller by Keith Jackobsen.

It is set in the heady and exciting times of the late 1960s.

Jack Roberts is a northerner who comes from a family that is neither working class nor really middle class. sort of lower middle class, really, for want of a better description,

He is a bit of a drifter, intellectually speaking.  He has neither dreams for his future or ambitions.

But then he meets Hasan, a fellow student.

He and Hasan become good, close friends, and Jack idolises his new friend and he seems to become a new person, a person with hopes, dreams and ambitions.

But is Hasan all he seems? Is there a darker, edgier side to him?

But when their time at university comes to an end, it seems that Hasan just vanished from Jack's life.

So Jack returns to his aimless, intellectual drifter existence. But he never forgets about his exotic, somewhat mysterious friend.

Years later Jack learns that Hasan has written a book and is embarking on a tour to promote his book.

Intrigued, Jack decides to follow in the footsteps of his friend on the tour, yet decides, for some reason, to keep a distance between himself and his friend.

But then Jack notices that he is not the only person who is keeping Hasan under observation, for he is being tailed by a woman who seems to be fragile.

Jack meets the woman and realises that she might not be quite what she seems. For example, is she as fragile as she appears to be? And if she is, what caused her fragility?

Eventually Jack begins to understand that not only Hasaan is in danger, that he, too, could be at risk.

But from what? Or whom? And was Hasan all he had seemed to be?

This novel is described as Hitchcockian and as it exists in a maelstrom of angst, anger, mistrust and duplicity, that is as good a description as any.

It is published by The Book Guild and is available from the That's Books and Entertainment bookshop, to be found on the righthand side of this review.

The Seas of Ramion

The Seas of Ramion by Frank Hinks is another of the Ramion collection of books.

The wicked witch Griselda is exhausted. Witching really takes out out of a person!

Her faithful servant Boris the skull realises that Griselda needs a holiday to enable her to recharge her
Boris wants her to take a trip to the beaches of Southern France, but Griselda doubts that this is a good idea. Because she suspects that all Boris would do would be to eye up the girls.

Instead it is decided that they will holiday at a castle owned by her cousin Veronica, Morgan Castle in Pembrokeshire, in Wales.

But first she must cast a spell to cause the holiday plans of some children to be changed.

She wants the boys to also holiday at Morgan Castle so that she can eat them.

But who will protect the boys if Snuggle, their cat protector, is at home being looked after by Mrs Dean?

But when Griselda arrives at the castle, she finds it very disappointing. Her cousin is wearing a lovely dress and all of the instruments of torture have disappeared from the castle! What has happened to Veronica? Could Griselda's magical spell have had some totally unexpected, nice, outcomes?

 Are her plans to eat brothers Julius, Alexander and Benjamin about to come to fruition? Or will the plans be thwarted? But as the feline Snuggle is the one person who can deal with Griselda, how can the brothers be saved?

The boys accidentally enter the undersea realm of the King of the Merpeople and find that it has been taken over by a wicked stepmother.

They learn what happens to shipwrecked sailors and what fate befell the legitimate Queen. But can the three boys really save the undersea kingdom from the usurper and escape from the clutches of Griselda?

Or will Snuggle the cat be able to save the day?

And does Boris the good skull finally become evil?

This book is an ideal Christmas present for children of all ages and the quirky humour will be enjoyed by adults, too. It is very well illustrated and is published by Perronet books in hardback.

You can buy it via the That's Books and Entertainment online bookshop, available to the righthand side of this review.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Jungle Jim and the Shadow of Kinalabu

It's a good life for James Regent. He is an ice hockey star. Yet he decides that he will set off for the jungles of Borneo in search of adventure and lost love.

It all began when Jim receives a tattered map through the post and with it a plea for help from someone her cares deeply about. Ruthie.

So, Jim sets off for Borneo and is struck by a curse from some very terrifying Iban Headhunters.

The result of the curse is that whenever the moon is orange, Jim transmogrifies into an 8 foot tall orangutan with super powers!

Jim is, in fact, a weangutan, rather than a werewolf.

But Jim is no monster. Instead Jim has become an ancient protector of not only the land of Borneo but of the world beyond.

The reader is taken immediately into a very exciting and nerve tingling adventure as Jim, assisted by his best friend, Rufus, battle to save Ruthie. And perhaps even the whole Universe, let alone the world!

There are the Iban Headhunters, the evil forces of the Shadow Emperor. Actually, he shouldn't even be in our universe, he had been dragged here by the reckless Dark Matter experiments of a rather bonkers scientist called Dr Gila.

They have taken over an abandoned top secret US government laboratory hidden way beneath Mount Kinabalu.

Jungle Jim, Rufus and a ragtag band of colleagues and friends must battle against the Dark Matter Shadow Army, if they are to save the world.

But all is not what it seems. Fighting against trans-dimensional baddies whilst you are trying to survive the depredations of the flora and fauna of the jungle is perhaps a little bit more adventurous than you might need!

Described as "Indiana Jones meets the Incredible Hulk" this book is suitable for child from nine to 109 and it really must be in the Christmas stocking of anyone who loves a good adventure yarn. So if you have a lot of children to buy presents for, make sure each of them gets a copy of this fantastically adventurous and wonderfully quirky book.

It's published by Matador at a very reasonable £8.99 and is available from all good bookshops, including the Thats Books and Entertainment book shop, which you'll find to the right of this review.

The Lanes Also Remember

The Lanes Also Remember is part of a series of poems by Tristram Cooke.

As well as being a poet, Tristram Cooke was educated at Westminster School and also at Trinity College, Oxford.

He worked as a language teacher (majoring in Spanish) for nearly 40 years.

He lives with his girlfriend Mariacruz and her family in Mexico.

The poems are stripped back and bare. Yet the humour of the poet usually shines through.

Their style is refreshingly simplistic and is strikingly reminiscent of the art works of Grandma Moses, one of America's best-known folk artists.

Tristram Cooke's poems cover a wide range of topics from love and lust to conflicts, from friendships to the legacies that our parents leave us.

Incidentally, your reviwer's favourite is to be found on page 23.

All 20 of the poems are all stunningly illustrated with exquisite paintings by Valentina Cherneva-Cherry.

It is published by BARS-AGENCY and is available in the UK through Troubadour Books.

It is available via The Thats Books and Entertainment bookshop at £4.99.


Caravan is a new novel by Cassandra Keen.

It is a gripping read as it takes the reader through a journey of blame, retribution, revenge, love and hatred.

Lucien was many different things to many different people.

To some he was a difficult young man.

To others he was a victim. To others he was merely disaffected.

But Ruth, his stepmother, knew the real Lucien. And she despised what he truly was.

She decided to confront him at his caravan.

His death when the caravan burst into flames was witnessed by Ruth.

She remained silent about what she witnessed, perhaps scared that she might be blamed for the tragedy.

Ruth decides to holiday by herself on the island of Malta.

But is she truly alone? Or is Lucien with her? A ghostly, ghastly presence, haunting her, being a rather more destructive ghost than most?

After his death it seems that Lucien presents a larger version of himself than he ever did in his life.

But there are forces at work that are pulling Ruth's life apart. What exactly is Lucien's birth mother, Morgana up to? And where does Paul, Ruth's husband and Morgana's ex, fit in with all this?

What of the two children that she has with Paul?

And what of the ghosts from Ruth's own past?

Could she, would she be alright?

This is a very compelling book and a real bargain at £8.99 from Matador.

It will make a good stocking filler and is available via the Thats Books and Entertainment bookshop, which is to the right of this review.

Disclosure: The Future is Now

Disclosure: The Future is Now is a new sceince fiction novel by novelist and scientist Dr Graham Clingbine.

Dr Clingbine has a BSc and an MSc form the University of London in Biological Science and Neuroscience.

He has brought his considerable technical expertise to create a taut and compelling science fiction thriller.

The novel follows the life of Kevin Powell from his eight summer when we find him living with his mother, Sylvie.

As a young child he is subject to a a variety of unusual experiences that his youthful mind cannot comprehend or understand, trey as he might. He logically presumes that they are just a normal part of growing up and that everyone must go through the same experiences.

When he becomes a teenager, his mother falls prey to poor health and it is now Kevin's turn to look after her.

But all is not as it seems. His mother requires surgery to remove an object from her body. What is it? Where is it from? What was its purpose? Nobody knows.

However, Kevin knows that he has seen this before. When he was a child of eight.

By the time Kevin enters adulthood, he again falls victim to visions that seem to be realistic, yet also nightmare-like.

He sees a depopulated Earth, a vision from the future of his home world.

He loves his daughter, yet would he be able to sacrifice that love should it impinge on the future of planet Earth?

What, exactly, does Kevin's mother know? And where is his father?

The book relies heavily on Dr Clingbine's research into UFO sightings and the like.

Incidentally the latter portion of the book is made up of accounts of alien abductions, UFO sightings and the like.

It costs £9.99 and is published by Matador and is available from the That's Books and Entertainment bookshop.

Know Your Onions

Know Your Onions by Allan Goodbrand is the kind of book that I like and which are always good to find in your Christmas stocking.

It is described as a "light-hearted look at popular idioms and sayings" and that is exactly what this book is.

If you always wondered why a hat trick is called a hat trick, why a red herring means something that distracts us from our goal, why our bacon is saved, why your timbers might be shivered, what the Whole Nine Yards is, why we go from pillar to post, why it is a dime a dozen, who was Bob and whose uncle was he and what is a Dog Day of Summer?

Allan gives explanations for each phrase in  the book and offers alternative explanations to the origin of a saying referenced to in  the book should there be multiple explanations for the origins  of a phrase or saying.

The book is written in an amusing, conversational tone and is ideal for either reading straight through or for dipping into multiple times after Christmas dinner and before the Queen's Christmas speech.

This book is an ideal Christmas present for people of any and all ages and is published at £9,99 by the Book Guild. It is available through the That's Books and Entertainment bookshop, links to which are to be found on the righthand side of this review.

In Fidelity

In Fidelity is a new novel by Jack Wilson, it covers a period from the 1950s to the late 1970s.

In it we meet Christine, an attractive and vivacious wife and mother who is greatly loved by her children and, of course, by her husband, Dick.

Unfortunately Christine falls victim to a cancer that attacks and ravages her beautiful face.

It steals her good looks from her when the surgeons who worked to save her life had to remove her left jaw and part of her mouth.

Dick no longer finds her attractive. He falls for the temptations of the wife of a friend, a very close friend, and Dick takes the coward’s way out by fleeing from his family and his old life by leaving home to teach law in Africa.

He then meets an attractive woman who, like Dick, has also fled from her own past life.

But secrets have a nasty tendency to turn up when they are least expected. And past actions always seem to come back to haunt one, often with a terrible price to pay.

This novel is very well written and thoughtful book that contains some rather painful glimpses into the lives of ordinary people when they react to extraordinary events, or, sometimes, when they fail to react to them in quite the way that perhaps they should.

It is published by Matador at £10.99 and is available via the That’s Books and Entertainments bookshop, to the right of this review.

It will make an ideal Christmas present for the reader who likes their novels thoughtful and with meaning.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Dear Clementina

Dear Clementina is a new book by Colin Burke, with first rate illustrations by W. H. Mather.

It's a book that all dog lovers -and even, dare I suggest this?- people who do not have such a deep affinity toward our canine compatriots, will absolutely adore.

It tells the tail (sorry! Tale!) of the friendship of two charming and enchanting Border Terrier puppies after they have a chance meeting as 12 week-olds in a park in Manchester.

It examines their friendship through the medium of the spirited and loving letters that Stanley writes to Clementia.

It explores their relationship and the relationships of the humans that surround them, of the imposition of things that vets do to poor, unsuspecting doggies, of pestilential cats, of the things that a dog just has to do, as Clementia and her friend Stanley grow up through their first year.

The story behind the book is equally enchanting.

Colin received an email from a sympathetic friend who was enquiring how Stanley had coped with having the snip?

Instead of addressing the reply to his friend, Colin decided to write the letter as a reply from Stanley to his friend's own Border Terrier puppy, Clementina.

And from that beginning, grew the book: "Dear Clementina."

At £9.99 from Matador, it's  sure to be a fantastic Christmas present for dog lovers, and those who love humorous books) of all ages.

It's available via the That's Books and Entertainment bookshop, to the right of this review on the site.

A Scrapbook for Summer

A Scrapbook for Summer is an incredibly moving tale written by Alan Flitcroft.

It was inspired by his 2013 experience of taking part in the annual Shine Walk which is organised to raise money for the charity, Cancer Research UK.

He was participating in it for a young girl who was recovering from Cancer.

He realised that the Shine Walk, which is a marathon walk that takes place overnight, taking the participants past the most iconic landmarks of London, would make a very good basis for a novel.

A Scrapbook for Summer follows Ben as he participates in the Shine Walk, having taken the decision to take the place in the walk left vacant by the death of his free-spirited girlfriend, Summer, who was taken away from Ben by the cancer that had taken over her body.

Ben sees this as one last thing that he can do for Summer.

It begins as sad evening, but as it progresses through the 26 miles, it transforms into something beautiful when he meets fellow walker Annie who encourages him to participate, using the scrapbook of London's rich history that Summer had encouraged him to keep.

As they progress through the long walk, passing the many iconic sites of the capital city of England, many thoughts and memories, some good, some bad, flood through Ben's mind.

There were secrets from Summer's past life that Ben felt guilty about, even though they were not his responsibility. Secrets that split them apart yet, paradoxically, bring them back together at the end of Summer's life.

And after the 26 mile walk, Ben feels, at last, able to continue with his life.

This is a remarkably human romantic novel, filled with joy, pathos and the promise of new beginnings.

It is published by Matador at £8.99 and will make an excellent Christmas gift for the readers in your life who like cerebral romantic novels.

It is, of course, available for purchase through the That's Books and Entertainment bookshop, to be found to the right of this book review.

Emily and her Pharaoh The Stone of Life

Emily and her Pharaoh The Stone of Life is a new novel by Ian Thomas.

It is the continued story of a glamorous young supermodel called Emily. Whilst her life as a model on the catwalks is very fulfilling and extremely busy, it takes second place to her main mission in life, saving the world.

To this end Emily has taken to travelling through time with an ancient whale who goes by the name of Pharaoh.

Pharaoh wants to help Emily show humanity how they must save the marine environment before it is too late.

Emily is scheduled to participate in a catwalk fashion show in Rio, but the wily old whale has different ideas for Emily. He takes Emily on a wild adventure and a potentially dangerous journey through time where she must survive the horrifically blood thirsty rituals of the ancient Mexicans, but also outfox the ruthless Spanish conquistadores in their greed for gold.

Can she complete her mission? Will this be the last time that Emily and her whale friend will work together?

Read this remarkable book to find out!

It's a great Christmas present for the young readers within your family and at £12.99 for the hardback version, it will not break the bank.

This is the third book in a trilogy of stories about Emily and Pharaoh her whale companion.

It is published by The Book Guild and, as with all books reviewed at That's Books and Entertainment, it is available to purchase via the online bookshop, the portal to which is to the right hand side of this book review.

Future Sense

Future Sense is an interesting study by Malcolm Parlett, Ph.D. of the enormous global challenges that face everyone to day.

It is, in effect, "his manifesto for changing the world, one person at a time."

He points out that humankind seems unable to face the challenges that face humanity today.

It is his belief that, because of the growing modern interconnectivity between peoples that we can change the world by changing ourselves.

He raises the concern that whilst there are a large number of books that call for a "fundamental change of consciousness to survive long term" that, paradoxically, having identified the problems that the authors offer no suggestions as to how this might be altered for the benefit of the human race.

Almost as if a doctor might say to someone: "You are ill!" But then fail to offer a diagnosis or to provide short term medical prescriptions or a long term treatment regime.

However, based on his considerable experience as a practicing psychologist, Dr Parlett makes some suggestions as to how everyone can become "a more empowered world citizenm making a unique personal contribution" What he describes as: "a step for themselves and a step for the benefit of the world at the same time."

The book covers these concepts in five distinct sections

1) Handling Situations
2) Relating to others
3) Living more fully in our bodies
4) Discovering more about ourselves
5) Experimenting with discernment

He points out how all five must be interlinked in order for them to be effective.

This is an interesting and an important book published by Matador at £12.50.

It will be available via the That's Books and Entertainment bookshop to the right of this review.

Killing Time

Killing Time is a new crime and mystery novel from the pen of author Ian McFadyen.

A local newspaper journalist receives a text message that contains the taunting claim that the person who is responsible for sending them the text message is also responsible for something a lot more serious. Two local murders.

Detective Inspector Steve Carmichael wonders about the test message and what its contents portend.

Did the text message originate from the mind of a sick and very unpleasant hoaxer? Or did it originate from the mind of a far more sick and even more unpleasant serial killer who is lurking within the normally sleepy Lancashire hamlet of Hasslebury?

After all, the likelihood of the two deaths being murders and linked together is an incongruous proposition.

An unknown tramp mown down by a speeding car? An artist struck and killed by a train? How or why could they be classed as murders, as they were both seemingly totally unconnected tragic, but accidental deaths?

But when a third corpse is discovered, Detective Inspector Carmichael realises that a cunning, intelligent and malevolent mind might, in reality, be orchestrating the deaths.

What link was there with Betty the Hedgehog Lady? And what did Dennis, the handsome RSPCA man know, if anything?

Where the murders unrelated? Or was there a link that Detective Inspector Carmichael would have to dig deep to discover?

There a plenty of twists and turns in the plot to keep the average mystery fan turning the pages and at a very modest £8.99 from The BookGuild this latest in the series of novels featuring the irritable but loveable Detective Inspector Carmichael it will make a splendid Christmas present for the crime and mystery lovers in your family. Or why not treat yourself to a copy?

You can buy it via the That's Books and Entertainment book shop which you will find to the right of this review.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

That's Christmas: Happy Christmas? Say it with vinyl! Introducing V...

That's Christmas: Happy Christmas? Say it with vinyl! Introducing V...: Give the gift of Vinyl Me, Please, , this Christmas and they'll remember you for ever! It's described as T...

Public Face Private Vice

Public Face Private Vice is the new novel by Keith Wainman, again featuring Chief Superintendent Charlie Smith, the Bentley driving head of the Murder and Serious Crimes Squad.

This time Charlie Smith has the death of a BBC TV presenter to investigate.

But there is a problem. Gerald Parkin had made so many enemies with his somewhat unfortunate and aggressive attitude toward anyone who he viewed as an inferior (which would be pretty much everyone he encountered during his personal and professional life) that finding the killer could prove to be more than a little problematic.

And why is it that wherever Smith looks he seems to spot people who have something that they would rather keep hidden?

Smith and his team penetrate the very heart of the BBC in their attempts to track down whoever was responsible for the bludgeoning death of Parkin within his own -locked- Docklands pad.

Smith begins to suspect that the killer is always just one step ahead of himself and his team. But how can this be?

And what, exactly, had the incredibly odious Parkin actually been up to?

From where had his killer emerged? From his professional life or his personal life?

And what was the actual motive behind Parkin's murder?

Discover that and discover the killer! But can Smith work out what the motive was?  Can he then deduce who the killer was?

This is an intriguing mystery novel and will make a welcome present for any crime fiction buff, and as it is only £11.99 for this Matador book of 524 pages, it's certainly gonig to be flying from the shelves of the That's Books and Entertainment bookshop, available on the righthand side of this website.

My Gentleman Jim

My Gentleman Jim is the biography of football's legendary player and commentator, Jimmy Hill.

It is written by his wife, Bryony Hill. And after all, who but a wife can really know their husband, inside out?

He began his football playing career with Brentford and then moved over to Fulham.

His career in football spanned all levels. From a professional footballer he became one of only a few players who went on to become a manager of a football club, then progressing to being a member of the board of directors, a managing director and then, ultimately, chairman.

Bryony reveals how he removed the maximum wage for footballers and was actually the man who brought in the three points for a win rule. He was a highly effective and innovative chairman of the PFA.

Jimmy was also a keen huntsman, a very useful golfer, an amazing and highly dedicated charitable fundraiser and all this is besides his TV football punditry!

He was also wrote footballing songs used by Coventry and Arsenal!

He was also a skilled MC, qualified as a referee, an accomplished musician who performed with Johnny Dankworth as a  favour when the trumpet player fell ill at a gig by the RAF South Cerney Band, of which Johnny Dankworth was the band leader.

The book is an emotion tour through the relationship of a man who lives for football and his devoted wife who pretty much hates football and, by her own admission, probably only spends ten quid a year on her hair.

It looks back through Jimmy's life story, revealing how and where he first learned the craft of being a footballer (88 Boys Brigade, Balham) the first clubs he was associated with (Dulwich Police Team, where he assisted, plus Sutton Home Guard and the Balham League) until he was called up for his National Service with the RASC, after finding himself a job at the London Stock Exchange for a short time before his conscription.The book is profusely illustrated with many photographs from throughout his life from the earliest days right throughout his life.

After he finished his National Service he returned to the London Stock Exchange for a time, signed amateur forms with Reading FC before moving on to Brentford, but this time as a professional.

The book is well-written and it is clear that Bryony has a deep and abiding love for her husband, Jimmy.

Sadly, Jimmy has developed Alzheimer's and unfortunately it was eventually realised that he needed the specialist help that is only available within a care facility, a subject that Bryony carefully and lovingly writes about.

It is published by the Book guild in hardback at £15.99 and is an ideal Christmas present for lovers of biographical books, football fans and those who followed Jimmy's career as a footballer and as an erudite and knowledgeable Television pundit.

It is available through the That's Books and Entertainment bookshop which you will find to the right of this site.

Treasure Trove

Treasure Trove is as new novel by Alistair Lavers.

Treasure Trove is dedicated to Barry Sheene and is proclaimed to be a part of the Whitborough novels. (It is actually the first book in the series.)

It starts at Whitborough Castle in July 1645, as the armourer for the Royalist garrison at the castle, Christopher Miller, is seeking out a key to the magazine and powder room.

But a young man bursts into the room and tells him that his attendance at a meeting is urgently required. The news is grim, Parliamentary forces will soon take the castle. They must attempt to flee the castle using secret tunnels to take them to boats for their escape.

But there is the matter of a strongbox liberated from a Spanish galleon, which had been part of the ill-fated Spanish Armada, 75 years before. It must not be allowed to fall into the hands of the rebel forces of Cromwell, so it will be hidden from their covetous grasp!

Time marches on and it is eventually the Easter weekend of 1983 in the now upmarket Yorkshire coastal resort of Whitborough on Sea.

It should be an idyllic time for the townsfolk and their tourist visitors. Bit something has gone wrong. Something has gone very badly wrong, indeed.

The Spanish Armada treasure is found and is quickly lost, again.

Has an ancient curse been re-awakened?

How is the Royal Navy ship adopted by the town sunk by a genuine Civil War cannonball?

Are these events really as unconnected as it appears? Or is there a thread that, somehow, connects, them all together?

But they are only the harbinger of much worse troubles for the town, as catastrophe afflicts the authorities and puts the forces of law and order under a very real threat for their existence.

But who is behind these events? Some say Russian saboteurs, others blame Irish terrorists, still others blame local criminals who have startec events that they are no longer in control of, having got completely out of their depth?

However, all is not quite what it seems. What are the staff of the record shop exactly up to? Do they know what is happening? If so, what are their intentions?

This is a truly interesting novel. It is published by Matador at £7.99 in paperback and will be available via the that's Books and Entertainment bookshop. It is on the right hand side of this site.

Whitborough on Sea. It's good to be able to read about, but I certainly wouldn't want to visit that town!

Just buy the book, read it and you'll concur with me, I am certain!

A Nasty Business

A Nasty Business is a book by S. M. Barron that describes the difference between justice, the law and legal process.

Indeed S. M. Barron begins his 400 page book with a rather telling quotation by Oliver Wendell Holmes, poet and attorney who, as a US Supreme Court Judge was quoted as saying: "This is a court of Law, young man, not a court of justice."

So, asks S. M. Barron, where do we go for justice?

The author describes the attempts of people to obtain justice through the courts and, unfortunately, of the attempts of the other side to thwart their attempt to obtain justice often by gaming the legal system. Especially if the other side also happen to be lawyers.

However, S. M. Barron (a pseudonym for a consumer activists, representative, trainer and teacher) points out that it does always have to be like this and that there are already other options for people to seek legal redress that do not include going to court.

It also points out some practical changes that could be implemented to improve access to justice.

It also offers advice that can be used currently to speed up access to justice, how to save money and how to get the help and assistance that you require should you find yourself taking someone to court.

The book is filled with references and costs £19.99. It is published by Jarndyce & Jarndyce, a legal joke which will be appreciated by all fans of Charles Dickens.

It is distributed by Gardners Books and the ISBN is 978-0-9575745-0-2 and is available through the That's Books and Entertainment bookshop, to be found on the righthand side of this site.

Ane Compact of Villany

Ane Compact of Villany is a short and utterly fascinating book by Lindsay Campbell.

It is a thorough and compelling and extremely well-researched and well-written book that relates the story of a criminal gang that plagued Argyll during the 17 century.

It looks very carefully at a gang who operated between the 1680s right through to the 1700s who stole from their own neighbours and kin and who are described as: "early Jacobites, thieves housebreakers and highwaymen."

They brought misery and fear to the populace of the area, and, despite the fact that the Argyll hill country was already ravaged by a famine, they ran protection rackets, rustled cattle, stole horses, kidnapped members of rival clans and so-forth.

They were the scourge of the authorities and they seemed to be able to operate with impunity.

But the plight of a poor widow woman enraged one working man who became so enraged by the gang's wickedness that he determined that he would take down this band of 'stouthrieves' and bring them to justice.

Eventually the gang begins to make mistakes and they were almost all captured and subjected to a trial and the ignominy of a mass execution in full view of many of their fellow countrymen and countrywomen who they had so grievously hurt for some two decades.

This book is short, under 100 pages, but it is filled with references as a good history book should be, but it is not a dry and dusty narrative, for in her book, Lindsay Campbell bring this tumultuous and troubled time back to life.

It is an excellent book for those who love tales of days gone by, for those who want to discover the true facts of their Socttish family tree -warts and all!- or for students of history, especially of the early Jacobite times.

It is published by Matador at £9.99 and will make an excellent stocking filler. It is available from the that's Books and Entertainment book shop. You will find it on the right hand side of this website.

The Naughty Greedy Pandamoth

The Naughty Greedy Pandamoth is a large format book by accomplished artist Sara Leighton and, if there is any justice in this world, it is destined to become one of those classic books which every child should own and which will be enjoyed for decades to come.

Sara has a wild and wicked imagination which allows her to imagine a wild and wide variety of creatures.

Fortunately her natural talent as an artist were been honed by her training at St Martin's School of Art and she has provided absolutely perfect illustrations for all of the creatures she describes.

Some of them you and your children will be delighted to meet - The Fuzzy Bunny Frog, for example- but who would want to meet the Naughty Greedy Pandamoth who would be liable to eat all of your clothes, should he feel a bit peckish?

It is a book that children can enjoy by themselves or they will enjoy sharing them with mothers, fathers, grandparents or older siblings.

Enjoy the Orangotango, the dancing ape from Argentina, The Winged Rainbow Piggycorn, The Pompom-Legged Craboodle, The Guppypuppy and many, many more.

Each of the 30 "amazing animorphs" also has its own lengthy and extremely charming poem which you can read aloud to your children. So long as you do not laugh too much whilst attempting to do so!

At £10.99 this book is a true must have Christmas present. If you buy your child one book this Christmas, please make certain that this book is it.

It is available through the That's Books and Entertainment book shop which you will find at the right hand side of the website.

I Gave Him My Best Shot

I Gave Him My Best Shot is a novel by June Felton.

It tells the story of how a family begins to become pulled apart  because their son has Asperger's Syndrome.

Anna and Max have a younger son called Barney who is diagnosed with the Autistic Spectrum Disorder condition called Asperger's Syndrome.

Barney takes everything that is said to him quite literally.

Amidst the problems caused by his condition Anna and Max are also working hard to build up their business and to survive in the troubled and troubling worlds of the fashion industry.

Anna finds herself battling to cope with the competing demands of her family life and that of her business life.

Max, however, can't quite get his head around the needs and demands of Barney's condition. This puts further strain on their marriage.

Matters are further complicated by the machinations of Dinah Deedes, the Personal Assistant to Max who seems to be working against their marriage for her own devious ends.

The action flits between various exotic locales In India, the USA and their ordinary life in the UK.

But in truth the problems arising from Barney's condition are only a minor part of the problems that beset their family.

For there are concerns over betrayals in both the personal and business realms that put strains on their marriage and on old, long-established friendships. After all, it is a saying that one should not mix business and pleasure.

The author June Felton has a long professional history of working with autistic children so her portrayal of Barney's condition and the strain that this places on the family is extremely realistic.

It is a beautifully written and well-plotted romantic novel and costs a reasonable £17.99 for the hardback version, which is published by The Bookguild.

It is available via the That's Books and Entertainment bookshop, to the right hand side of the site.

It is available for pre-order and will be published on 26 November.

Shadows of Yesterday

Shadows of Yesterday is a powerful novel by Ann Wardlaw.

It tells the dramatic story of Marc Chevaud.

Marc was captured and subject to dreadful torture by the Nazis during the Second World War.

After the war he found himself in Britain and he created a highly successful business in the country that he now called home.

But did he really, truly call Britain his home? For he still yearned for the ageless beauty of his native Provence.

Suddenly he knew that he would have to return to France to go back to what had been his ancestral home, redolent with memories of what the chateau and vineyards had been like before Germany had decided to eat its neighbours and itself in a bout of mindless destruction.

He leaves the day-to-day running of his business to his brother Leo and he makes the decision to return to Provence.

Of course, Marc realises that when he returns to his ancestral home that things will not be the same, but nothing could have prepared him for the dreadful state of decay of the family chateau and the ruinous condition of the lands surrounding it and of the vineyards. Partly caused by its occupation by unsympathetic enemy forces during the war years.

He is saddened by what he finds but, perhaps as impulsively as his decision to return there, he decides that he will restore both the chateau and the vineyards to their former, pre-war glories.

Yet Marc cannot fathom out the hostility of the local people to his return and for his plans for his family estates. What do they know that he doesn't?

However, he begins to discover dark secrets from the past that he would find to be beyond what he could ever have imagined possible.

What will this mean for Marc and his family? Dare he dig deeper? And if he does, what else will he uncover?

Set in the 1960s and with flashbacks to the war years, this novel readily evokes the reality of life in post-occupation rural France.

Ann Wardlaw relates a tale of complex but utterly believable personal histories with many twists and turns that help to bring this story to life.

It is published by The Book Guild and costs a very reasonable £9.99. It is available via the That's Books and Entertainment bookshop which is to the right hand side of this site.

It will make an excellent Christmas present.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

That's Education: Dyslexia Rules? No! Multiplication Rules!

That's Education: Dyslexia Rules? No! Multiplication Rules!: Just ask Penny Topsom and she will tell you that Multiplication Rules! Penny Topsom is a mother on a mission. Penny suffered throughout ...

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Charlie's World of Glittering Powers by Tracy Rawles

Charlie's World of Glittering Powers by Tracy Rawles is a fantastic must have stocking filler of a book that is going to go down a real treat with young children of eight and over, their parents and their grandparents, too!

It tells the story of Charlie was is a cigale, a type of flying insect. /charlie is a rare type of cigale, he is also known as a Snuffle-Buzzer.

But Charlie is no ordinary cigale, he is a cigale with a fairly serious problem. How would you like to be a cigale, like Charlie, who had a serious allergy disorder?

Charlie likes to know things, he is very inquisitive, very talkative and has daydreams of travel that will be filled with various adventures.

Sevi is a young girl from Cornwall. Whilst on holiday with her parents in Provence in France, she explores the local forest and discovers that the forest may be much more than she3 could ever have thought possible.

Eventually one single, solitary golden sparkle brings about a series of mystical happenings that propel Charlie and Sevi on the path toward a remarkable adventure that is more stunning and more thrilling than either of them could ever have thought possible!

There are powers to be discovered, mysteries to be solved and joys to be had for both Sevi and Charlie in this charming and exciting book. It's published by Matador at an eminently reasonable £7.99, and it is available via the Amazon-powered That's Books and Entertainment bookshop which you will find to the righthand side of this site.

Dark Nights: Whitewater by Norman A. Viles

Dark Nights: Whitewater by Norman A. Viles is described as a detailed memoir about the sport of sea fishing.

The memoir by Norman A. Viles is filled with the excitement, suspense, thrills, spills, danger and pure joy of sea fishing, but it is added to by the Yorkshire humour of the author that illuminates the book like a lighthouse of glee on a rocky promontory on the Yorkshire coast, jutting out into the icy waters of the North Sea.

Norman is a gifted raconteur and a skilled storyteller and his joy for the life of a sea fisherman shines through this engaging book.

There are tales of fishing from sunny beaches, of fishing from rocky cliffs on a dark, cold winter night, of fishing from boats (including one bought and lovingly and carefully rebuilt by Norman and others.

Learn of sea angling competitions of catches lost and of catches made, of trips around the bay, of trips made to bays in foreign seas, including a number of memorable trips to the waters off the coast of Ireland.

I am not an angler by any stretch of the imagination, but by the power of the story telling abilities of Norman A. Viles, I could almost feel the weight of the rod as the fishes took the bait, almost feel the wind and taste the tang of the salty sea air. Will I take up sea fishing? Probably not. But having read this book, it's almost as if I did...

If you have any kind of angler in your life, it will be the "must have" book for their Christmas stocking this year.

And if you are that angler in your life,  at only £9.99, this book will make the ideal self-given early Christmas present. Or give family members some very heavy hints about this book. Such as emailing them the url to this article!

You can buy this book through the That's Books and Entertainment Amazon-powered bookshop which you will find to the righthand side of this website.

Living in a Complex World a Simple Guide by Dr Joachim Winkler

Living in a complex World a Simple Guide by Dr Joachim Winkler is a vitally important book for those of us living in today's information rich world. Which is every one of us, pretty much.

The book contains fifty ideas that are designed to help those of us who are perhaps struggling to pick our way through a wor4ld that is drowning in information and data, yet who are starved of time to do anything about it.

The book goes through a number of topics, how the world works, what is really important in our lives and of the lives of other people. We should, argues Dr Winkler, all be encouraged to give thoughts to these topics.

The book is devised to be as short as possible and easy to understand, and it is crafted in such a way as to be a handy reference work for those who might benefit from a resource to act as a rapid reminder of some basic truths that we might already know, but which we could have forgotten in the hurly burly of everyday, modern life.

The book uses honest, straightforward language and terminology and it covers a wide range of subjects such as wealth and poverty, values, freedom, excessive demands,  the taking of risks, and not only our rights but, even more importantly, some might argue, our responsibilities, too.

It also covers time, cause and effect, the truth and the difficulties of saying 'no.'

It is 94 years of distilled wisdom published by Pen Plot and Pixel at the remarkable price of £9.99. Thats just over 10 pence a year and in that context you really cannot afford to miss the opportunity to buy this absorbing and very helpful book.

It will make a fantastic Christmas present and will be available from the That's Book and Entertainment bookshop (powered by Amazon) which is on the right hand side of this page.

Sunday, 27 September 2015


Formidable is a new book by published author Steve R. Dunn.

It is the third in a trilogy of naval history books.

It is a well-researched book that shows how, because some senior officers in the Royal Navy were using rules of engagements that had, in the main, stayed the same for 100 years, the Royal Navy suffered some jaw-droppingly ridiculous losses of ships and men during World War 1.

Rule of engagement that were suitable for the days of Lord Nelson and fighting set piece battles under full sail were worse than useless when one faced a modern enemy using modern equipment including submarines.

Dunn points out that, because a Vice Admiral thought it "unmanly" for his ships to seek shelter during storms that the ships under his disastrous command were forced to remain at sea, as he ignored the ever-present threat of attack by U-boats because to his sclerotic thought processes, the use of U-Boats to attack enemy ships from beneath the surface of the water would be utterly unthinkable due to the fact that it would be ungentlemanly behaviour.

Because of his tactical blunders Formidable, captained by Noel Loxley (accompanied by Bruce, his  terrier) went down with a completely inexcusable loss of nearly 600 men and boys.

Captain Loxley decided to remain on board Formidable as it sank, accompanied by his faithful companion, Bruce.

Dunn not only explains what happened but also explores why it happened and also makes a careful examination of the stories of some of the individuals involved in this utterly senseless loss of so many lives. And of the hardships that was the fate of their hapless wives and children during a transitional period which Dunn has dubbed the "Vicwardian" era.

It is a highly moving and very well researched book which will appeal to history buffs and to people who are interested in the First World War and will make an ideal Christmas present.

It is published by at £12.99.

Opposable Truths

Opposable Truths is a new book by highly skilled and experienced journalist and TV presenter, Martin Young.

You'll remember Martin Young from Nationwide, Newsnight to Panorama and Rough Justice.

It is his autobiography and dips into his near half-century spent working in television, during which time he was involved in every major news and current affairs programme broadcast by the BBC.

It also has a great deal to say about the fights he became involved in with the political and legal establishments caused by his seminal series "Rough Justice" which brought about the release of five people all who had been falsely accused and wrongly convicted of serious crimes they had not committed.

Martin Young will also be remembered by viewers for his work as a foreign correspondent where he covered such troubled hotspots as Iran during the Iranian Revolution, Gaza and the West Bank.

He also, bravely, reported on the Mafia in both the USA and Sicily. Where he was very nearly murdered.

He writes as eloquently as a skilled journalist could be expected to and his style is witty and also, sparse and pacey. This is what modern journalists do, we have to write and rewrite our stories so 500 words can be reduced to 250 words so we can get more content told in fewer words.

We read of his experiences covering the Iranian Revolution, his time with the Rough Justice programme (which eventually earned him a Special Award for Journalism from the Royal Television Society) how he suddenly fell from grace and needed to earn some money quickly when the BBC (unfairly) suspended him without pay.

Work which brought him into contact with the Ford Motor Company (rewrite a manual, that'll be £600, please!) and with the world of the Soho voiceover industry, where actors are on a perpetual treadmill from one voice over studio to another and make a reasonable living by using the one skill that can't be taken from them, their voice.

In fact, not only did he make up the £9,000 he lost in salary from  the BBC, in the three month period of his suspension he actually made a very satisfying £27,000, made up of voice overs, media training of MPs and the like.

He also reveals what is was like on Nationwide, how he got his start in Independent TV before moving over to Nationwide at the BBC and various other incidents throughout his career, including nearly being murdered in Sicily.

It is an interesting book, my only minor criticism of this book is that it is not in any way sequential and does tend to flit backwards and forwards through time and from subject to subject.

It costs £15.99 and is published by Matador.

A Ticket to Oblivion: A Railway Detective novel by Edward Marston

A Ticket to Oblivion: A Railway Detective novel by Edward Marston is a novel featuring the Railway Detective Detective Inspector Robert Colbeck and his assistant Detective Sergeant Victor Leaming are called upon by Superintendent  Tallis to take control of an urgent investigation in the county of Worcestershire.

For the daughter of a man selected to become the next Secretary of State for India has disappeared from a non-stop train from Worcester to Oxford.

It is 1858 and Imogen Burnhope is betrothed to an up-and-coming MP,  Clive Tunnadine, when she and her faithful maid, Rhoda vanish from a train taking them to visit relatives in Oxford.

But when the train arrives, they are missing. Her father, Sir Marcus Burnhope calls in some favours and gets Scotland Yard's top detective team put on the case.

As the case progresses, some dark secrets start to emerge. Is Clive Tunnadine MP all he appears to be? And why is Rhoda's hat discovered in a railway tunnel?

It is alleged by Clive Tunnadine that members of Imogen's own family are involved in the disappearance. But what proof does he have?

Colbeck realises that he is involved in a race against time to find out what happened to the two women, where they are and who they are with.

And what, exactly, is the involvement of a private detective Alban Kee (dismissed from Scotland Yard for corruptly receiving bribes from Criminals) in the case? He is withholding information, Colbeck is certain, but why? What has motivated him to do this?

Before the case is solved there are several murders,  a brutal attack on an innocent woman and  is more than one murder and Imogen and Rhoda find themselves in the clutches of some very dangerous and desperate individuals.

But can Colbeck and Leaming save them from a fate worse than death?

This is a very gripping novel written by a master storyteller.

It is published by Alison and Busby at £7.99 and will make a superb Christmas present for the lover of detective fiction.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Who Will Be Your Judge

Who Will Be Your Judge is a new novel by Edie Watney Judd.

Who Will Be Your Judge tells the powerful and tragic stories of two brothers.

It begins in the midst of World War Two and continues down through time to 1960s gangland London.

It is a historical mystery thriller that traces the lives of Billy and Richard, of how they were evacuated from London during the Blitz.

What should have been shelter from the Nazi bombs in the care of the House of Nazareth saw them under the "care" of some vicious nuns.

Desperate to leave their violent and tyrannical 'prison'  they make their way back to their London home.

But the war delivers them a cruel blow when it takes the lives of both of their parents.

They are again taken into the care of Barnardo's until fate deals them another savage blow and they are split apart again, this time by adoption.

Richard is taken into a family that rigorously enforces strict Victorian-style rules, Billy goes to live with a couple who live in the heart of the East End of London. They are poor and, until they adopted Billy, without children.

Billy has a constant dream, to become a professional boxer, yet this, too, is taken away from him when he develops epilepsy, which bars him from the sport that he loved.

He becomes bitter and slides into a life of crime, beginning to become involved in smash and grab raids as a way to escape the poverty that has dogged him all his life.

After working his way up through the ranks, Billy eventually becomes the owner of a club in the West End.

Richard, who became a priest, attempts to reason with his brother to attempt to get him to leave his life of crime.

But suddenly a letter is found. A letter that contains an old secret that has the power to change everything not only for Billy but for Richard, too.

The book is published on 28 September 28 by Matador at £14.99 and will make a super present.

It is available from the That's Books and Entertainment bookshop on the righthand side of the site.