Sunday, 31 December 2017
P.C. Vic Holland has recently undergone a personal tragedy that very nearly took his career as a police officer away from him.
His sure fire advancement to the post of sergeant was now almost certain never to happen and he was still struggling to settle in to a new role at Clapfield where, for no reason that he could easily discern, he had earned the scorn and hatred of his new sergeant, sergeant Proudfoot.
On his way home and thinking of the fish and chip supper he would treat himself to (he really should do something to get himself back into shape) he came across two criminals who had broken into a shop, set fire to it and knocked a pregnant woman and her husband to the floor, Vic gives chase to the criminal duo and he soon realises the folly of his action as they attempt to take his life.
At the last second his life is saved by a stranger who appears just in the nick of time. However, according to the police records the man who fortuitously turned up to save his life was dead and has been so for the past two years.
The result is that vic suddenly finds himself propelled into the midst of his most intriguing and bizarre case of his entire career.
It's a stunner of a detective novel, with more than a few psychic and paranormal twists and turns right up until the ending.
P C Vic Holland is a wonderfully human police officer and a welcome addition to the ranks of fictional police officers and James L. Williams is a great new writer of detective novels. Let's hope this is the first of many novels by James L. Williams featuring P C Vic Holland.
The book is published by The Book Guild and costs £8.99. You can buy here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
He was born in Greece to a Greek mother and a Canadian father in 1937. He spent the majority of his life living in Africa where he undertook several different occupations such as a geologist, an accountant and a liquidator.
He eventually moved to England in the year 2000.
He and his fourth wife now live in Hertfordshire and Robin is retired.
His childhood was interesting to say the least, growing up in war-torn Athens, living through the Nazi occupation, bombing raids and the like.
He was also interested in discovering the genealogy of his family and he gives candid reflections on his work life, his varied careers. Much of his time in Africa was spent in Zimbabwe.
He animatedly and with great humour describes his romantic relationships and the incidents, some amusing, some enthralling that took place during his professional life.
It's published by the Book Guild at £9.49 and can be purchased at https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
Friday, 29 December 2017
Their daughter Sandra is best described as "long-suffering" in fact, without Murray Silverstone to look after her, it's probably nobody would have sewn labels into her clothes, nobody would have seen her school plays and nobody would have bothered, very much, if she had never seen a dentist ever.
Page 1 contains one of the best lines I have read in a novel: "I've just killed your father."
The story relates how, when the marriage and professional partnership of Mr and Mrs Magic disappears, not in a puff of stage smoke, but with a cloud of adultery ("a chorus girl too far") Sandra suddenly finds a life she never knew she had or that she actually wanted.
From being a part of a family of three, she suddenly finds herself surrounded by a whole passel of family members she never knew existed.
There's the tottering hotel business, a documentary, a hanged maid, ghosts, psychics, journalists and then the situation slides from farce into a potentially very dark tragedy indeed.
And Sandra finds that she isn't fighting to save the income of her family, she's actually fighting for their lives.
And what did happen to the lion that vanished in mid pounce?
This is an enjoyable and fast-paced novel from the pen of published author and journalist Marilyn Messik.
It's published by Matador at £7.99 and can be obtained here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
Monday, 25 December 2017
Eddie Dungiven is a bored close up magician and children's entertainer. In fact, he is not only bored with his professional life, he is bored with his life in general, including his wife Sally.
Sally has two preoccupations in her life. Cleaning their house and flawed and useless 'get rich quick' scams.
To escape Eddie takes his Collie-Springer cross, Henry, for regular walks on a secluded beach.
Things start to change when he happens upon a beautiful woman called Cerys Sindon.
Eddie's relationship with his wife deteriorates still further as her behaviour worsens and becomes even more erratic and troublesome. In fact, it seems that Sally has not been honest with Eddie. But why?
Could he, should he, enter into a relationship with the alluring Cerys?
However, with the unexpected death of the person who Eddie relied on as a father figure in his life causes him to take stock of his life, what his needs are and the needs of others.
As Eddie seeks for answers he approaches medium Ignatius McKenzie for answers to his problems. Some of the answers are deeply personal revelations and have very important implications for not only Eddie but for Cerys, too. In fact, Cerys has a deep secret that she is trying to hide.
It's a very perceptive novel and works well as a good, adult romance story.
It's published by Matador at £8.99 and can be ordered here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
Sunday, 24 December 2017
That's Christmas: Merry Christmas, everyone! What to do for a last m...: OK, with all the best will in the world, things can go wrong. The present doesn't turn up at all, or it's broken, the wrong size...
It's a very interesting book which really belongs on the bookshelf of any writer, poet, or teacher of creative writing.
For it is an exploration of the beginning of Sean's journey as a poet.
He examines lyrics from 21st century hip-hop, 19th century comedy operettas and flower power era songs ands explains how, at the commencement of his journey through poetry, he regarded poetry as an extension of song. But as he continued his research he modified his viewpoint.
He asks an important question "Why be a poet or a storyteller?" and makes a good and praiseworthy effort to provide some answers.
There are sixty poems covering a wide range of subjects from the condition of the United Kingdom, sex, the situation in Europe, America, Canada, Death, Australasia, business and several others, including wizards.
It's described as an "anti-textbook" but it is this reviewer's opinion that this book should definitely be a required text for all creative writing classes throughout the land.
It's published by The Book Guild at £7.99 and can be ordered here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
Saturday, 23 December 2017
However, there are niggling doubts for the true fans. Is Liverpool F. C. still an elite team? Why is it that, despite all the promises of foreign owners, that the trophy cabinet is all but bare?
The book, by Anthony Carragher, peeks back at the glory days of the past, the current days when the club is flush with dosh and looks towards the uncertain future of not only Liverpool but of English football in general.
For over two decades LIverpool F. C. dominated the football scene at home and in Europe. But of late the victories have dried up and they have not, shockingly, won a league title in over 25 years!
Is this something particular to Liverpool F. C? Or is it indicative of wider problems throughout the game in general?
The author has been able to secure exclusive interviews with key figures from the glory days of the club including former managers, Brendan Rogers and Roy Evans, members of Bill Shankly's family and numerous footballing legends both past and present.
It's a candid look at not only Liverpool F. C., but of the wider football scene in England and it will be a great Christmas present for Liverpool fans and football fans in general.
It's published by Matador at £12.99 and can be bought here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
David Lewelyn is an extraordinary person. He knows when you are lying. Every single time. You can try to control your breathing, make your expression as neutral as you can, but it doesn't matter. He'll know if you are lying.
However, things come closer to home for David when Hannah who he employed as his secretary is found dead in her apartment. She had been bound hand and foot and her murderer had slashed her body repeatedly.
Because he was with her at her apartment mere hours before she was killed, the LAPD immediately suspect him of being the killer.
But his DNA does not match the DNA of the killer that had been found in the apartment. In fact, there is no match for the killer's DNA on the National Database.
But does this mean that he should be ruled out as a suspect? Should he be allowed to provide his expertise to the police investigators, under the circumstances? After all, as her employer, he knew her better than anyone else.
Whatever suspects the police manage to find all seem to have incontrovertible alibis.
However, the truths that they finally uncover are perhaps worse than they could ever have imagined and they discover that murder can be either a game or a very lucrative business.
And that sometimes there are people who just can't be trusted.
This is a very good debut thriller and it's to be hoped that this is the first of many books from R. G. Oram.
It will make a gritty thriller of a Christmas present for the thriller fan in your life. You can order a copy here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
Friday, 22 December 2017
Charlie was a proud feminist and also a proud lesbian.
Charlie admits to having a few vague doubts about her sexuality, but it was with a shock that Charlie realised, one day, that she was not, after all, a woman, or a lesbian, but was, in fact, really a man.
The result of this realisation was that Charlie's life was turned upside down as she became isolated from family and friends, suffered from a complete collapse of her identity and went through periods of mania. She was even homeless for a period of time.
However, Charlie's story is, ultimately, a very inspirational one as it shows how she was able to continue her life without medication.
Eventually, however, Charlie is strong enough to realise that "he" is "her" real identity and so Charlie began to transition from a Lesbian woman into a heterosexual man.
He began to quickly adjust to his new role as a heterosexual male and is now happy in his own body.
It's an inspirational book and a very moving account of what happened to Charlie.
It costs £13.99 and is published by Matador and is available from https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
Nobody even gave him a second look, he was not loved or even cared for, very much.
However, every week he did have a treat, his regular trip to the carwash. But! One week something truly extraordinary happened to Marvin! He went in his old, rusty self, yet this time he came out transformed back to what he had originally been, a shiny, beautiful Mini car!
He is magically taken to the seaside where he meets up with Larry who is a young lifeboat and they soon become very good friends.
But one day, disaster looms! Larry was showing off in the sea and he soon gets into difficulty!
What can Marvin, his new friend do, to save Larry the Lifeboat?
This is an amazingly fun book for children which is ideal for reading to them and showing them the stunning and super bright illustrations, from Dave Hill.
It's a must buy Christmas stocking filler and you can order it at https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
The novel mixes historical and current facts and events into a disturbing fictional account of how a modern-day Hitler could arise in Germany.
The surge of immigration into Germany has brought about a disaster of global proportions and in this novel readers can see how all these dreadful events are the result of the mind of a man who makes the term Machiavellian redundant.
Wolfgang Schuschnigg is the man, but as he tells his story the reader must struggle to uncover if he is telling the truth or if he is merely delusional? He desires to ensure that Germany is, once again, a racially pure nation and a major superpower. But what is he? The new Fuhrer or an evil but spent old man?
He ruminates on his life, from his childhood during which he suffered from neglect, and right up until the moment when he is appointed to be the new Chancellor of Germany.
This is an interesting science fiction novel and will make an interesting Christmas present for sci-fi fans and those who like future history books.
It's published by the Book Guild at £8.99 and can be bought here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
Dino is a young boy who is trying to make some sense from a matriarchal mother, an absent father, Blackshirts v Partisans, a vile war and the trials and tribulations of first love.
In the immediate post-war years Dino meets up with an idealistic philosopher who seems a little bit unlucky, ends up serving some time in the nick, meets up with some old comrades and his wartime sweetheart.
These events prompt our hero to leg it, moving to and island where he meets up with some truly bizarre characters. And hilarity (well, sort of) ensues.
Eventually he returns home and undergoes a somewhat dramatic reunion with his family and then the fun starts, involving castles and cliffs and the like.
It's an unusual and slightly bizarre book, but one that is very readable indeed.
It's published by The Book Guild at £8.99 and you can order it for Chirstmas here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
It is a follow-up to her novel Beyonds All Doubt, which sees investigator Olivia Watts once again enmeshed in an investigation into another high-profile mystery.
Only a short time (mere hours, really) after she had been happily preparing lunch in her own home, Joyce Beecham was dead in hospital.
Why? How had she died? Was it murder?
Into this maelstrom steps Olivia Watts, principal investigator of new frecently founded business, 'Watts Happening? Investigations.'
Olivia's company has been commissioned by a legal acquaintance of hers, Alexander Beecham, to investigate his mother's suspicious death.
Olivia's investigations soon turn up matters that some people might have thought best left hidden, including a clandestine marriage, some nasty sibling rivalries and some financial transactions that, on the face of it, seem to be problematic to say the very least.
Whilst rummaging through family closets she unearths a few skeletons and meets up with Lord Bennington, an inventor best described as somewhat eccentric who seems to have some close connections to the Beecham clan.
She also finds an estranged relative who she believes to be her number one suspect. But is she?
Can Olivia solve the murder? Will she receive the support of her on-off boyfriend and former supervising officer, DCI Stafford?
This is another excellent novel form Matador about a character who is becoming a firm favourite with me, Olivia Watts. I love a good murder mystery at Christmas and this is my pick for Christmas 2017.
It'll be a great Christmas gift for the murder mystery fan/s in your life and you can order it here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
The book commences with the dream of a yoga teacher's dream of making a retreat in the countryside of Italy.
But it soon becomes much more than that when Joanne sees it transformed into a journey of self-realisation and self-discovery.
Joanne realised that if she took the time and made the effort to see the positive in all experiences, including the negative experiences, and learning to be more of a giver than a taker, by seeking out and learning the truth about relationships and "choosing love over fear and by learning to feel good and cultivate compassion for others, I hope that my readers will relate to my difficult experiences," Joanne said, in regards to the purposes behind writing her book.
Her dream turned inot a bit of a nightmare, to be honest. The dream of a wonderful yoga retreat in the Italian countryside turned out to be an uncompleted house in the hills in which she found herself struggling to raise her four kids!
But she became aware that sometimes a travail or a problem may, in reality, be a blessing in disguise and a moment that we can learn from and use the4 experience to grow spiritually.
It's a book of interesting spiritual concepts but it is in no way preachy or overwritten so will be a useful book for everyone who wants to learn about the yogic way of life.
It's published by Matador at £9.99 and will make an ideal present this Christmas. You can order it here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
The protagonist of the novel, is Mary Darling who was found abandoned on the steps of a hospital very soon after her birth.
Marey spends the first part of her life in the care system until she is adopted by Tom and Susan who lost their own daughter in a tragic accident.
Her new parents do their best to make her life a happy and contented one, but school bullies do their best to hurt Mary. However, a totally unexpected ally comes to her rescue.
But Mary's life is utterly transformed when she realises that she has an amazing power. She can not only communicate with animals, she also has the ability to heal them, too.
She then proceeds to help save the animals of the world from harm, cruelty and the ever-present danger of extinction.
She must fight against an array of dangerous enemies who mean harm to not only the animals of the world but also to Mary, herself.
This is the first part of a trilogy of books published by Matador.
The book costs £9.99 and is an excellent and entertaining way of bringing the plight of the animal kingdom to children and adults and will make a great Christmas gift.
You can order your copy here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
The book commences with a review of the varied and different types of truth or certainty. These range from mathematical realities right through to theological concepts and ideas.
The remainder of the book is a selection of different theological materials from all over the world.
The authors of the cited materials all claim, in one way or another, to impart to us the truth about both life and death.
A. A. Summer employs Biblical materials to draw comparisons with these other scriptural materials.
He then proceeds to examine and outline the varying forms of truth (covering art to mathematics) and thence on to matters both philosophical and theological.
He makes a careful analysis of each scripture in that light, endeavouring to undertake this work as objectively as possible.
This is an extremely interesting and very well written work from the author of The Theology of Paradox (also available) and will be an excellent Christmas present to all students of religion, but perhaps especially those studying comparative religions.
It is published by The Book Guild at an extremely modest £9.99 and can be ordered here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
The novel follows a young Doctor called Ana, who is working at the Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan.
Rahim, who is eleven years old, tells Ana something. She fails to recognise the significance of what he said until he suddenly vanishes.
Ana feels impelled to go on a rescue mission to save the young boy, and she goes to a secretive field hospital which is located in the besieged town of Old Homs.
However, she barely escapes with her life, fleeing from ISIS forces. However, she has put those who assisted her in fear for their lives.
Unfortunately she is captured by the Shabia and put in the hands of their evil leader.
She witnesses acts of love, of betrayal and of unspeakable horror as she tries to make sense of the situation around her. Who can she trust? And is everyone quite what they seem?
This is an extremely well-written and thoughtful novel. It is published by Matador at £8.99 and is available here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
In May 1940 Dunkirk was not the only place to see a strong, but ultimately hopeless, defensive action. For there was also the defence of the port town of Calais, often overlooked by the history books.
Author Adrian Crisp has used the defence of Calais as the starting point for his novel.
The book begins 24 years later, in May 1964. Former soldier James Butland is devastated by the recent death of his young son.
He decided that he would return to France to visit the battlefields where, as a young man of 18 years of age, he took part in the defence of Calais.
Whilst there he takes stock of his life, looking back over the lead up to the Second World War, the war years and the years following that dreadful conflict.
He had been on the point of going to study at Oxford University, but like so many members of his generation his plans were spiked by the advent of war, when he becomes a young soldier.
He is wounded in the conflict and is hidden from the invading Germans by a young medical student named Agnes. Following a brief love affair she is able to help him return to England.
After his return to full health James is posted to Tunisia where, during vicious fighting, he is wounded again, this time so severely that his has to be discharged from active service.
Weary from fighting and killing James decides that he would rather be helping people and saving lives, so he opts for a career in medicine and trains as a Doctor.
James' career as a man of medicine flourishes, but his life is shattered when his son who is none years of age is killed in a road accident.
Whilst he is visiting France he decides to see if he can find Agnes. He does so, but is shocked to learn that she bore him a child.
This news brings a crisis of conscience to James. What should he do? How should he react to this utterly unexpected news?
This is a very thoughtful novel and it is to be hoped that Adrian Crisp will have a long career as a novelist ahead of him.
The book is published by Matador at £7.99 and can be purchased here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
Thursday, 21 December 2017
Born in 1959 with a range of severe physical disabilities after his mother was prescribed the drug Thalidomide to calm her morning sickness when she was pregnant with Gary.
As one of the first Thalidomide children born within the UK, his life was both challenging and difficult because the drug also impaired his physical development. Indeed medical opinion varied from: "He'll not live, long" to "He'll never amount to much."
However, Gary is living proof that belies both of those medical opinions and Gary just goes to prove that there's nothing a person cannot achieve if they set their mind to it.
In his autobiography Gary shows how he was able to defy all the odds to become a successful and very popular comedian and motivational speaker.
It reveals the traumas caused by the breakdown of the marriage of his parents and of his somewhat difficult relationship with his father. Gary remains convinced that this was as the result of the strains and tribulations of raising a disabled child in 1960s Toxteth.
Gary became a passionate campaigner for the rights of Thalidomide victims to receive proper recompense and recognition for the problems that Thalidomide had caused them and their families.
This is a truly heartwarming book and it is published by Matador at £8.99 and will make a great Christmas gift for lovers of biographies.
You can order it here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
It takes the reader back to A september morning in 1920. The sky above the small Devonshire village is a vivid red and three former soldiers are meeting together.
The story slips back to 1918 and moves forward with a train of linked events, including examples of bravery, rivalry, cowardice and even homicide.
Canadian artillery captain Marc Bergeron can't keep himself out of strife. Bombardier Ryan is his sidekick, an Irishman who is handy with his fists and a dead shot with a Mauser pistol.
Whilst participating in the fighting in France, Captain Bergeron meets the utterly useless and incompetent Major Cross and the reprehensible Captain Wadham. Cross and Wadham both seem for some reason, to have an axe to grind with one of their own NCOs.
When two suspicious deaths take place which are not connected to the military actions of war, Captain Bergeron is hell bent on finding out who was responsible and to making sure that the two murder victims get justice.
Which is why one of the three old soldiers will soon meet his death, belated though it might have been.
This is an extremely well-researched and very well-written book which is an ideal Chirstmas gift for those who like a well-crafted novel.
It's published by Matador at £8.99 and can be ordered at https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
The book takes us through the life journey of Joely. From her childhood challenges, to to her successful completion of her education to her current position as a passionate and crusading autism activist and a campaigner working tirelessly to raise awareness amongst the public.
However, there's a good deal more to this book than that. It's also a highly useful resources for people who are living on the Autistic Spectrum, offering them useful tips and hints for coping with their daily lives.
There is also useful information for their family members and for professional health personnel on how they can best offer support and appropriate assistance to the person on the Autistic Spectrum.
It is an extremely thought-provoking and very honest and moving book.
If you have an Autistic Spectrum Disorder, have a family member or a friend who is ASD, if you are a teacher, a Doctor, a nurse, a psychologist or a school counsellor, you must buy this book.
Seriously, you must buy this book. There should be copies in every hospital resource library, every school, every doctor's surgery, every university and every FE college throughout the UK.
It is published by Matador at £12.99 and will make a wonderful Christmas gift for anyone who needs to learn more about Autism.
You can purchase it here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
Jan was a young Polish boy who, due to the depression of the 1920s, was forced to seek employment in Germany, just over the border.
During the invasion of Poland by Nazi germany his sister and father brutally lose their lives and Jan's brother remains on the family farm to work with the Polish partisans.
As Nazi persecution increased, Jan was asked to help by assisting his employer's Jewish daughter to flee to a farm on the Belgian border where she could seek refuge.
After making a motor journey across Germany Jan manages to reach England.
He is given intensive specialist military training to enable him to undertake missions for the Allies.
He undertakes two missions, the first with the Polish partisan forces. He then meets up with the Jewish girl, Renate, with whom he must make reports to the Allies on the German build-up behind the Western front.
Renate and Jan are captured by the Gestapo and they must make good their escape to flee across the border into Belgium and then on to England.
It's a riveting and thrilling book, and is the third military thriller from Peter Haden.
It's published by Matador at £9.99 and really should be in the Christmas stocking of any fan of military thrillers.
You can purchase it here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
It is like no other collection of poems that I have ever read before. And I mean that in a very good and very positive light.
David Hamilton is a poet for the modern age, yet he is able to drawn upon the poetic traditions of Homer, Chaucer, Pope and Tennyson.
It's not just a collection of poems, it contains the distilled wisdom of the author, plus a collection of extremely high quality photographs (all taken by David Hamilton) that really add to the vitality of this anthology.
There are poems, sonnets and stories told from the perspective of a variety of historical characters, all smartly linked together by the weaving prose of David Hamilton who acts in the guise of a literary master of ceremonies. And what splendid ceremonies they are!
The book is published by Matador and costs £12.99 and will make an excellent Christmas gift for the poetry reader in your life. And for the non-poetry reader too, for that matter.
Will also be a useful purpose for poetry lecturers, too.
It can be purchased here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
In the year 1822 Lord Blackhart is thrilling his young grandsons with the stories of a mystical curse that has been placed upon their family. It is the story of the Black Dove.
But the threat will only come good should the Blackhart line die out.
The story then moves to the present day when a teenage girl by the name of Callie follows a mysterious stranger and finds herself in a totally different world.
A battle, using the powers of magic, breaks out between the mysterious stranger (who is called Alex) and James Blackhart and his cohorts.
In the nick of time reinforcements arrive in the form of the Doves, who are Alexis' previously estranged sisters.
The Blackharts flee to their home in the early 19th century.
It becomes clear that the two time streams have become linked due a a Blackhart portal, which is an ability unique to the family, which gives them the ability to travel backward and forward in time.
James Blackhart's niece lives with the sisters and sahe discovers evidence that Callie's late father was a creator of portals.
Callie and Alexis meet, once again, under extremely trying circumstances and a secret from Callie's life is revealed. A secret that has haunted her for years.
Callie is drawn into a dangerous world of time travel and magic, where she learns about ancient secrets and the curse of the Black Dove.
This book is published by The Book Guild at £9.49 and can be purchased here
Wednesday, 20 December 2017
It is believed to date back to the 7th century and the Assyrian conquest. The contents of the scroll are so shocking that Starkey decides to hide them in a cave where his body is found the next day.
Some 70 years later Professor Joshua Black, professor of surgery at London University, is discovered hanging from a tree on Hampstead Heath. It's theorised that he committed suicide.
But not everyone is convinced of this, including an elderly and somewhat genteel older lady called Olive Hathaway. Dr Sanjay Manchanda also doubts that it was a suicide and the Indian born doctor and the elderly widow team up as a somewhat unlikely detective team.
The duo follow a trail from London to the Holy Land and discover the mysterious scroll that had been hidden decades previously.
Deep beneath the site of the temple of the ancient Samarian Kingdom, near to the modern day borders of Syria and the Golan Heights they discover an amazing treasure trove hidden in a secret vault.
But why were ISIL interested in their search? And what, exactly, would they find?
This is a compelling adventure novel and at £7.99 will make a spiffing Christmas gift.
It's published by Matador at £7.99 and can be bought here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
James Williams is the son of Robert Williams, a bailiff who readers first met in the novel The Devil Returns Twice as Deadly.
Robert's son James has a consuming passion for all things involving engineering and he starts and builds a highly successful engineering works and iron foundry.
In common with many entrepreneurial engineers of his day he joins forces and becomes involved in the early days of the advent of what was to become the railway network of the United Kingdom and made their fortunes.
However, it wasn't an easy task and there are many trials and tribulations that beset James as he works hard to establish himself.
The story is filled with a number of subplots and mysterious events and some rather unexpected twists and turns along the way.
It's a compelling novel written in a rapid pace that takes the reader back to the early 19th century to a daring and dashing time of disappearing vicars, of outrages and revenges.
It's published by The Book Guild at £8.99 and will make a most excellent Chirstmas stocking filler.
You can purchase it here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
This is the debut novel from Hillary Lee-Corbin and is a book for children.
Mar and Appy are two ordinary boys, living in Bristol. Their fathers are both fighting on the front, so not unnaturally they both decide to do their bit for the war effort to help defeat the Kaiser and his Imperial army.
However, they inadvertently become entangled in a net of spies, secret agents, special secret codes and an ever-present sense of danger.
They find themselves caught up in a world of intrigue and menace where people are not quite as they seem ad they run the risk of betrayal.
They find themselves facing foes who are much older than they are who are far more experienced than a pair of Bristol boys who are also facing shortages of food, and the ever-present risk that their families might receive a telegram about a loved one who had gone missing in action. Or worse.
They discover a German spy ring and an audacious plan to murder the King and Queen of England.
But what can two boys do against a team of dedicated German spies? However, they've probably not met any Bristol boys, before!
This is a very intriguing mystery for children and hopefully the first of many novels about Appy and Mar.
It's published by Matador at £7.99 and will make a really good Christmas present.
You can order it here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
Sally is a lonely person. However, it's a lonely world that she inhabits that is, largely, of her own making.
She is a victim of psychological stress which is, unfortunately, mistreated and unsupported.
She lives alone by choice, with only stuffed toys for company.
She seems locked into a situation that she is unable to break out of. She is, in effect, crippling her life.
Sally works at a hotel and a guest arrives there. This proves to be an event which is a catalyst for helping Sally to become more open to the idea of forming human relationships.
The novel follows Sally's life over a period of three days, and shows how she reacts with guests (such as new arrival John) and other staff members and how Sally's opinions on love, life and relationships begins to develop some interesting changes in her own perception of self and how she perceives other people.
John is a charming man, yet can his charm help Sally come out of her shell and will she be ready to consider going on a serious date with him and potentially developing a relationship with him?
It's a very well written book and will make an excellent Christmas gift for the lover of romantic fiction with a bit of thought behind it.
It's published by Matador at £7.99 and is available to purchase here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
Matt is an ordinary sort of bloke, he leads a normal enough life, he works at a bank in London with Bully, who is his best mate.
Rob has a healthy fantasy life which seems to revolve around his celebrity crush, Abbey Jones who is a popular TV soap opera star.
He can't believe his luck when Abbey Jones herself has to come inot the branch where he is working to make a money withdrawal.
Unfortunately he makes a complete idiot of himself, irritates Abbey and the moment, his moment to shine when he met her, was lost. Or was it?
Because over a period of time and following a chain of events and happenings they meet again and the actually seem to be developing romantic feelings for one another.
But can Matt's dream come true? Or is it possible that after years of unrequited pining for her, he will be unable to sustain a long term relationship with someone who is as famous as Abbey?
So, can Matt and Abbey work out a way to remain together as a couple? Or will they be spun apart by Abbey's fame?
But can his friend Bully help him to pull it out of the bag?
An ideal Christmas gift for the romantic fiction lover in your life, it's published by The Book Guild at £8.99 and can be obtained here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
Attenborough created a group that became known as the APA, or Attenborough's Private Army. The APA consisted of a group of 50 handpicked young British actors who were brought together to train under the expert guidance of a former SAS officer who trained them so that they would be able to recreate, with exact military precision, the heroic deeds performed by the members of the British Paratroop Regiment who were able to hold, against incredible odds, the bridge at Arnhem, in 1944.
The APA worked for a half year with major stars of the day such as Michael Caine, Sir Laurence Oliver, Sean connery and Anthony Hopkins.
The account of what happened is revealed in this thrilling and amusing account by someone who was actually there throughout it all, a member of the APA, a then young British actor by the name of Sebastian "Seebo" Abineri.
He tells stories of how they drank the town dry (do remember that 1976 was the hottest, driest summer in decades) and how they spent three weeks hard infantry training to be able to not just act the part of soldiers but be the part of soldiers. The first time such a feat had been attempted in the history of film making.
There are stories of camaraderie and of incidents and injuries both on and off the set.
Seebo also touches on his acting career both before and after A Bridge Too Far. Including causing a bit of a stink at a casting call. Literally causing a stink. It's an amusing story and told in the self-deprecating and entertaining manner that he employs throughout this very readable book.
Included is the story of a man who had the ability to swallow and regurgitate whole pickled eggs to order, and the fellow actor called Patrick Hannaway who laughed so much at the egg man and an ensemble performance of "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts" that his lungs collapsed and he was close to death when he was taken by ambulance to a Dutch hospital were surgeons were able to save his life.
All-in-all this is a great memoir published at £9.99 by The Book Guild and it will make a fantastic Christmas present.
It's available for purchase here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
In his book Amessa identifies several important factors that he believes are an inhibiting factor in developing countries, with particular emphasis on post-Colonial Africa.
He examines the impact on the social life of the peoples of Africa and explores a range of cultural factors such as problem in reconciling varied cultural traditions and practices with the more westernised way of life.
He also gives consideration as to the potential impact of how political and economic systems that are currently in place may increase or add to these problems.
Amessa employs to very good effect the case of Cote D'Ivoire (the Ivory Coast) as a main example. He uses this to illustrate how the legacy of colonial rule and the scale of local corruption amongst the political elite, when one factors in other problems such as poor infrastructure, managerial inefficiencies and limited provision of educational services, causes endemic problems with the lifestyles of most citizens of African countries.
But what's to be done? Amessa outlines a blueprint for change, a plan for how to bring about an evolution in Africa.
Should his plan be implemented it would allow all African people to enjoy the benefits of living within a modern society, with a stable economic system and a sound political structure, yet which would preserve the best of its traditions and customs, yet which also take advantage of opportunities that Western culture can also offer.
It's a well-written book which, although well researched, is not an arid exercise in academic speak and is to be heartily recommended to all students of Africa, third world issues, foreign aid and the like.
This will make a moist excellent and thought-provoking Christmas gift.
It is published by Matador at £10.99 and is available for purchase here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
It opens with a child who is starving and dressed in a few pitiful rags of clothing. He is wandering through some woods, searching for anything that he can eat to assuage his gnawing hunger.
He hears the sounds of voices and laughter coming from within the woods and he spies a scene that bewilders his youthful mind, so different is it from anything he has ever known before.
This chance meeting changes this scrap of a boy's life for ever, as fate intervenes and introduces him to a lifestyle through childhood into adulthood that he could never have dreamed of.
He finds ease, learning and the love of a family, becoming a member of the upper classes of 18th century English society, a far cry from his extremely humble origins.
However, his life is populated by fervent and dedicated foes, enemies who will do anything to bring about his destruction and death.
He must always be on the alert, ready to repel a foe, unable or unwilling to offer anyone his friendship or trust in case they might betray him.
But will he be able to claim his own legacy after all?
Eventually the novel ends in a thrilling denouement with a duel to the death, where two implacable foes faced each other. But they had both been trained by the same man, so which would win?
This novel is a classic piece of 18th century adventure and is extremely well researched and very well-written. Readers will be taken to the time of duelists and will see and hear a duel to the death. A remarkably enjoyable book. An ideal Christmas present for £8.99 from The Book Guild.
It can be purchased here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
The reader is invited to follow the twisting path of Sally from blitz-torn London to Yorkshire, where she meets up with the mysterious Adam.
She travels to the Rome of the Fascist regime and to the bedchamber of of member of Mussolini's government, who is her SOE target.
However, for reasons that are entirely beyond her control her operation is aborted and after the overthrow of Mussolini and the allied forces invasion of Italy she leaves Rome to escape Italy.
There follows a series of hairraising adventures as she meets up with German deserters, escaped POWs, a nun, Italian draft dodgers, Adam (again and only briefly) Italian partisans and shepherds.
Eventually back on post-war London a former SOE superior of hers tries to kill her. But (and not by her hand) it is he who ends up dead, and not Sally.
The judge appears bent on virtually ordering the jury to convict her on flimsy circumstantial evidence and send her to the gallows. And yet, perhaps fate has something else in store?
It's a tightly written novel that carefully blends historical facts and very plausible fiction from previously published author Doug Thompson and is £8.99 from Matador and will make a most excellent Christmas present for fans of his work.
You can purchase it here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
Our protagonist James is a youthful and aspiring author.
James is renting a somewhat small flat in the less than salubrious apartment building owned by Mrs Mangalino. It was recommended to him by the best friend of his mother as being ideal for a writer. (But why?)
However, James is kidnapped, badly beaten and reapears the next day, though has no recollection of the events or where had had been taken.
This Is followed by a series of other equally inexplicable and unpleasant events and experiences of a similar nature. And why is it that previously perfectly sane, normal people begin to act as if they have become mentally deranged?
And what was the significance of the poisoned fish?
Meanwhile, all is normal in James' home village. Or is it? Because besides the normal pettiness and rivalries that tend to bedevil end of term festivities and the village fete, other things are beginning to stir.
And just what on earth was happening underground? Deep, deep underground?
What is the significance of the terrible subterranean machines? What had caused the floods? Who, or what, are the Sentinels? And who is in control? And what are they in control of, exactly?
This is a novel which is either amusingly terrifying, or terrifyingly amusing. I haven't quite been able to make my mind up quite yet!
The book is published by Matador at £8.99 and will make a wonderful Christmas gift for anyone who likes a chill and a laugh, sometimes at the same time.
Of special note is the back cover illustrations by J. D. Purkess, which are seriously good.
You can purchase the book here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
It brings to life the turbulent times of the 1970s, as it tells the story of a group of young people.
It follow Pete Bridford and the close-knit group of friends who he gathers around him.
He has a glittering academic career at Cambridge University, but, amidst a time of student protests and political upheaval and turmoil, this career comes to an end.
He leaves academia for the world of business and makes some startling a perhaps unsettling discoveries. For example he exactly how much a secret can be worth and he also discovers that some friends are not really friends after all...
The series takes the reader through to the early days of the government of Margaret Thatcher which began in May 1979.
At this point, Pete must come to some important realisations. For example, which side should he, actually be on?
The series is a trilogy The Creators, Road to Nowhere, Flight to Destruction and The Turnaround.
It's an interesting series of books and brings to life a rather bizarre period of modern British social history from someone who obviously played a role in many key events.
An interesting Christmas gift.
All cost £8.99 and can be bought here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
It's ideal for parents to read too or with their children and it tells the story of Mag-Iggle as he has to employ a variety of magical spells and potions to come to the assistance of his mother-in-law, Myst-Iggle. Myst-Iggle, who has an unfortunate tendency to mix up her magic and create utter chaos!
Myst-Iggle is flying about, minding her own business, as you do if your a witch. Sharing her broomstick is her greedy cat (who is also magical) who is a vegetarian cat who is on a special diet. Which consists of eating nothing but daffodil sandwiches and spinach pie, served up with green custard.
But food is probably the last thing on poor kitty's mind as the cat is becoming more and more broomsick.
Myst-Iggle knows exactly what to do to make poor kitty better! It;s this potion here, right? Wrong! Myst-Iggle accidentally selects the right potion and the wrong words and things go hilariously awry!
But not to worry! Because, as ever, Mag-Iggle comes along to save the day!
This is a really fun read and will have everyone happy to read it this Christmas. It's got to be in the stockings this year, I feel.
And there are a lot of other Iggle books in the series, too, all of which are published by Matador. All of which are aimed at promoting reading by making them fun.
You can order the book here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
There's also lots of fun to be had, including pages to colour, at www.igglebooks.com.
It tells the story of Eden Matthews. Eden is blessed with the talents, looks and the ambition that she needs to succeed as a prima ballerina.
But a simple horseriding accident changes all that. But not in a way that one might think. For after her accident Eden discovers that she is blessed or cursed with special powers and abilities. Now she can see and communicate with those who have passed over. She can see and speak with the dead.
She does her best to get on with her life, she still wants to be the prima ballerina, so she tries to ignore her new and, from her perspective, unwanted gifts.
But it becomes clear that she has been gifted these extraordinary powers for a specific set of reasons and those who gave her these powers cannot give up on her, cannot allow her to ignore these powers or, indeed, continue to live her previous, normal existence.
There's a stark choice for Eden. A dance partnership with Dillon, who seems to have more than just a professional interest in Eden?
Or should she take part in a bitter battle between Heaven and Hell that has gone on for a millennium?
There's Zachary who is an embittered soul, who in life was a ballet dancer who had been cruely betrayed.
He seemingly holds Eden in the utmost contempt, yet like a moth to a flame, he keeps being drawn back to her presence.
Eden manages to tread a fine line between both worlds, but will there be a demand for a terrible act of sacrifice?
Does Eden have the determination and willpower to see it through to the end?
But who, exactly was Eden fighting? And why does she end up feeling such fury and rage at the angels? What had they done to earn her enmity and hatred?
And what will happen next?
This is the first book in a new and very compelling series of books by E. J.Shaw, aimed at ages 12 to young adults.
It's a remarkably good read and must be in the Christmas stockings this year!
It's published by Matador at £7.99 and can be ordered here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
Written over the past four years it is a distillation of the careful and thoughtful observations of the world around her by Chloe Lee.
The poems cover a wide range of topics from relationships blighted by cheating, divorce, war, the rising tide of social media, armed conflicts, the plight of the homeless, poverty and loneliness.
The observations are sharp and the with that changes them from the base material into the finished work of poetic art are even sharper still.
Chloe Lee is, obviously, a person watcher and she has used this skill to very good effect as her poems bring to mind the realities of life.
Of particular note are Remembrance Day, The Two Old Ladies, Dick Whittington and Richard Whittington and In the Margins.
Chloe Lee is a new name to me. It is to be hoped this is merely the start of a new star in the poetical heavens.
The Metrpolosis of Glass is published by The Book Guild at £7.99 and will make an excellent Christmas gift for the poetry fan in your life.
You can buy it for them here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
Sunday, 17 December 2017
It's a brilliant fantasy novel which is illuminated with flashes of brilliant good humour.
It tells the story of Sheena Robinson who is described as a feisty Scouser. Sheena's a good girl, though she does wish she could concentrate a bit better at school, plus there was the problem with her very wayward green hair. however, Sheena didn't suffer bullies gladly and she employed her ready with to put one over on them.
But then Sheena has to travel to Cornwall for her cousin's wedding. She stays at a cottage where she shares a bedroom with Carys, who is a little bit of a tomboy. And she also shares the bedroom with a whole host of talking animals who live in or on the wallpaper of the bedroom.
The animals take the two girls on an amazing adventure to Stargazey World, a world that is influenced by the amazing imagination and muddled up thinking of Sheena.
However, all is not well in Stargazey World and Sheena and Carys eventually find themselves facing injustice and wickedness when they are attacked by a group of weird beings. Including a nasty leather wearing rockstar who goes by the name of Thunder and his crazed and very dangerous sister, Lightning.
They also have to face a hoard of other equally bizarre and evil creatures, as they attempt to thwart them with the assistance of the wallpaper animals.
It's a must buy Christmas gift for every girl out there. It's published by Matador at £7.99 and can be bought here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
It's an extremely well-written account of the time in the early 1840s when there was the Disruption in the Church of Scotland, when a large number of dissident clergyman were dismissed from their roles as clergymen.
One such personage is James Bantrie who, in common with many fellow dissenters, found themselves thrown out of their comfortable lifestyle and forced to seek alternative employment.
Bantrie and his family journey to a tiny parish on the Isle of Orchy, which is off the Argyll coast. The chief occupation of the islanders is the slate quarrying.
Doctor Alexander Beaton also turns up in the village of Eisdalsa. But he is not a newcomer, he is returning home, fully expecting to inherit his father's medical practice and to seek the hand in marriage of his childhood sweetheart.
However, he is heartbroken to discover that, in his absence, not only has his older brother managed to secure the ownership of their father's medical practice for himself, he has also taken Alexander's sweetheart for his own bride.
With nothing in Eisdalsa for him he replies to an advertisement for settlers at the recently established colony of Otago in New Zealand's South Island.
However, when the new settlers arrive after an eventful sea voyage, they find that they are less than welcome in the newly established town of Dunedin, as, despite what the advertisement promised, it is far from ready to receive any new settlers.
The novel is based on detailed research undertaken by archivist and author Mary Withall. This included the detailed letter books of the doctor who had been appointed to the Easedale quarries in the 1890s.
It's a warm and compelling account of the trials and tribulations of the Scotish people who, in the 1840s, were instrumental in the settlement of New Zealand. Although, points out Mary Withall, this is not a period of Scottish history that has been well covered.
The book is published by Matador and is a great Christmas gift for lovers of well-written historical fiction.
It can be bought here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
It's illustrated, though not by Fred, the illustrations (as quirky as the writing, it has to be said) were drawn by Ann Onymouse.
There is the story of the extra special buttons of Elsie and Doris and the gang of button thieves who attempted to steal their extra special buttons.
Then there are the tit for tat gardeners, the narrow victory when Wilmot Walmesly beat Jogger Jaggersnout by one vote to win the election to become a member of the council.
The true story of the elephants who were on holiday in Devon one Christmas season. (It's a true story, because Fred tells us that it is true.)
There are tales of deranged teapot collectors, vanishing horses called Daisy, Harry and his unbreakable bottle a mysterious suitcase and more besides.
An ideal book for a post Christmas dinner snooze, it's published by Matador at £7.99 and it can be obtained here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
The poems cover a wide range of subjects and topics which are, by-and-large, informed by the philosophical view of Cox.
Sleeplessness, homeless children, the exact meaning of the term atheist, the philosophical basis for keeping pets, natural phenomena such as rivers, sunsets and a speck of dust, children, evolution, recycling and even more besides.
The style is sparse, yet compelling and the thoughts behind the poems are lucid and clear.
It's an interesting debut for a poet. Let's hope that this is merely the harbinger for much more poetical outputs from Mark Cox.
It's published by The Book Guild at £7.99 and will make a great Christmas present for the poetry reader in your life.
You can purchase it here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
The point behind this book is that every coach must first coach themselves. The sub-title of the book is "A Coach's Guide to Self-Reflection".
The book is an invaluable resource for all coaches and workplace supervisors (both those who are newly minted or have several years of experience under their belt) who want to be the best coaches and supervisors that they can be.
The book raises, and answers, some very important issues, such as: Why is it of critical importance for coaches and supervisors to employ the technique of self-reflection?
How could they enhance their own capacity for self-reflection?
What methods, models and tools are appropriate for self-reflection?
And, of vital importance, exactly what is self-reflection and how can we learn to employ it? (You'll learn that on page 6.)
Although heavy on academic references and credentials, this book is not a worthy and dry-as-dust academic tome. Rather it is a heavily researched, well-written and easy-to-use tool for workplace coaches and supervisors to enable them to employ self-reflection as an important tool to help them to be effective coaches and supervisors.
It's published by Matador at £12.99 and will make an excellent under the Christmas tree present for the coach, supervisor or manager in your life.
You can order it from https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
He has seen experience not only in the UK but has worked as a consultant and project manager in 20 different countries all over the world and is currently an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham.
The book is a distillation of the knolwedge and experiences of Curtis. The book is a series of hard hitting essays that shine a spotlight on various aspects of responsibility, governance and the like.
It covers a wide range of topics and issues, the key theme is, however, that good governance is a matter of exercised responsibility.
He points out that there is an avoidance paradox that as soon as an agreed allocation of responsibilities is arrived at, with obligations and commitments established and enshrined, with accountability protocols designed, avoidance can creep in and undermine the public good.
Curtis points out that institutional corruption and decay are real and persistent problems that must be addressed by society. "Responsibility is not good unless it is shared" is a key lesson in this book.
Every politician, company manager, educationalist, charity officer, management student or business executive needs to have a copy of this book, so it will make an excellent Christmas gift for them.
It's published by Matador at £17.99 and can be bought here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
It is an intriguing book. Part philosophical discourse, part novel, part fictional autobiography, part book of poetry.
It's an imaginary account of the life of an old drunk, a man who, due to a variety of circumstances, becomes an elderly man who is a homeless alcoholic.
The book is written from the perspective of the old drunk and is designed by the author to help raise public awareness of the plight of many homeless people, especially the older homeless person.
The old drunk -we never do get to learn his name- is an engaging type of a fellow, has his life turned out differently he could have been a well known and popular wit and raconteur, perhaps appearing on our television sets every evening, but, as they say, there but for the grace of God go I.
We learn of the two great loves of his life, of course, even homeless people are capable of becoming emotionally entangled, how hard life on the streets can be for the homeless. Although the old drunk's attitude to some other homeless people is, perhaps, a little dismissive and somewhat superior?
He despises the fact that they keep grumbling about living on the streets. As the old drunk says: "But what do we expect? We're living on the streets, people - this ain't no hotel. This ain't no holiday spa."
It's published by Matador at £9.99 and will make a good Christmas present for the members of your family who like to think about stuff.
You can purchase it here: https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
Saturday, 16 December 2017
It tells the story of young Johnny. Johnny has a passion for the movies. It is his dream to actually work in the movie industry.
However, the fact that he comes from one of the poorest, most poverty stricken areas of Dublin in the early 1950s, and that he was forced to leave school due to this poverty seems to work against him.
Johnny retreats into a safe world, the world of the movies, the movie plots. This serves to isolate and protect him from the harsh realities of life in the Dublin of those times.
Johnny could tell a good tale, so the family sent him to the cinema so that he could tell the other members of his family about the movie, the plot and what happened.
In a way, his descriptions are so powerful and so compelling that they help sooth the stresses of his family member. Almost acting like an ersatz form of therapy, but without the coach. Or the fee!
However, complications arise and Johnny appears to be forming an attachment with the gorgeous daughter of a rich army major.
However, against all the odds and circumstances that seem to be stacked against him, Johnny endeavours to keep on going, to (somehow) complete his schooling and to try to discover exactly how he can get into the movie making industry.
It's an interesting novel, witty, yet sensitive and is in the great tradition of Irish literature.
It's published by The Book Guild at £8.99 and will make a fine Christmas gift. You can purchase it here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
Patrica's aim in authoring this book is a creditable and noble one: She wishes to help instill in the younger generation of people the confidence in themselves and their country.
It's target audience is a broad one. People who are from ethnic minority backgrounds and those who have not had to face the unique problems that can impinge on the lives of people who are from such backgrounds.
It also aims to bring to the attention of readers the current situation in Africa, of the problems faced by ordinary Africans, whilst their nations are ruined by violence and corruption.
It's an interesting book and will be of interest to not only the layman and laywoman but also to academics who study African and ethnic minority interests.
It's a well-written, important and inspirational book.
It's published by Matador at £10.99 and could be an interesting Christmas present and can be ordered here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.
It's a tale of mystery and magic about a family which is having trouble coping with the high-paced, modern world.
Their house seems to be under constant threat with mysterious break-ins and a variety of strange and mysterious events, including the loss of several chickens from the garden.
What is going on? Rita believes that the family home is being targeted by an army of thieves and bandits. But the police who investigate can find no evidence of any crimes.
But members of the family are beginning to act strangely, too! What is Gary up to? Why would he attack Rita? Why is there a talking gnome? And what ancient secret does the house harbour?
And who were the Little Tree People? And what were they doing at White Windows?
It's an interesting story for children and I am sure this is not the last we shall hear of White Windows.
Great story for reading with children and it's got to be on the Christmas list for Christmas 2017!
It's published by Matador at £6.99 and can be bought here https://goo.gl/wdCFDG.