Saturday, 29 September 2018

Video book reviews. A new feature

There's a new feature about to be rolled out on That's Books.

There will be audio visual material to accompany book reviews on the site.

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Lifestyle Change With April

Lifestyle Change With April is an inspirational book from fitness guru and businesswoman April Laugh.

Do you want to live a healthier lifestyle? Need to drop a bit of weight? Or are you just looking to eat a bit better? Looking for ways to stay motivated?

Then this book is the right book for you!

It's not a book filled with theories, it is a down-to-earth, practical guide to healthy eating.

You'll learn how to stop binge eating, cut down on your cravings and eat more for sustained weight reduction.

April's also includes a free meal diary to help you spot every calorie and to make every meal count toward your ultimate goals.

There's also a highly effective seven day detox plan and the book is backed up with truly inspirational stories form some of April's very own clients.

It's copiously illustrated with photographs and colourful, inspirational graphics.

The book shows you that you aren't alone in your struggle to gain control over your weight and offers practical support to help you get where you want to be.

It's published by Matador at £14.99.

Ozzy & Izzy The Ospreys

Ozzy & Izzy The Ospreys is a wonderful book that is handsomely illustrated and, as one might suspect from the title, tells the compelling story of two Ospreys, Ozzy & Izzy.

Written by Paul Philip Gaunt and illustrated by Matija Sandric, it tells the story of how Ozzy migrates between Senegal on Africa's west coast and Rutland in the English Midlands.

It was in Rutland that Ozzy met Izzy.

It's the wonderful story of their 6,000 mile courtship, where they delight visitors to Rutland Water with their displays of aerial prowess and fishing abilities as they work hard to keep their growing family fed as they prepare their children for their return ship to far off Senegal.

It's an incredibly moving and very well told story and is aimed at children and young adults aged between 7 to 13, though I can see many older people and parents equally enjoying this charming book.

It's published by The Book Guild at £6.99.

The Perils of a Literary Life

The Perils of a Literary Life is a novel from the pen of Jennifer Weeks.

What happens when your grip on reality begins to falter?

It's a romantic tale set amongst the Yorkshire Dales, yet it also moves into thriller territory, too.

Alice is tired with being kept under the influence of her twin sister, who is just a shade too possessive for Alive's liking.

So Alice moves to the Dales where she can live a perfect life in a beautiful little cottage while she works as a teacher.

She meets William, the nephew of her ageing neighbour. William is an actor and a bit of a dish, so Alice quickly falls for his charming ways.

Alice soon realises that she is totally in love with William. They are, she thinks, perfect for each other. They are, in fact, soul mates.

However, she finds something out about William. She hears a furious row between William and his uncle, her elderly neighbour, concerning the heavy debts that William has amassed due to his gambling addiction.

Not long after the uncle falls to his death on the crags not far from the cottage. She is immediately suspicious of William. Did his uncle fall, or did William push him to his death?

And when William's aunt Annie becomes ill, Alice is convinced that William has poisoned her to shut her up about his uncle's murder. Alice begins to fear that his next victim will be her, Alice!

But exactly how far from reality might Alice have strayed? Can she believe anything, any more? Can she believe herself?

This is a thought provoking novel which raises some very interesting points about the perils of a literary life.

It is published by Matador at £8.99.

The Woman With The Red Hair

The Woman With The Red Hair is a debut novel from Clive Tuckett.

Harry Frobisher, along with many other young men, had suffered badly during the Great War. He was traumatised and left sightless.

He returns to his family's ancestral home on Bodmin Moor. He feels that he needs to seek reconciliation with William, his brother, after the murder of their parents.

But there has been a second murder on the moors. And not only that, but there have been reported sightings of the apparition of a woman with red hair out on the moors.

Some locals are convinced that is Morag Donaldson, formerly the secretary of Lord and Lady Frobisher, Harry's parents.

After being found guilty of the murders, Morag had been committed to an insane asylum.

The local police find themselves baffled by the case and so it falls to Inspector Edwards of Scotland Yard to come from London to take over the investigation.

His immediate conclusion? That the case was far more complex than the local police had assumed and that the whole investigation needed to be reopened in order for him to establish who had committed the murder and what their motive might have been.

This is an evocative and emotionally charged piece of detective fiction. The irst of many such novels from Clive, it is to be hoped.

It is published by The Book Guild at £9.99.

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor is a novel by Mo McDonald.

Way back in the 1980s, Jack Kelly was famous as both as a successful novelist and a celebrity broadcaster.

He had the lifestyle to match, an army of fans and the ability to do, pretty much, whatever he wanted, when he wanted. Life was good.

Now, moving forward to today, his secretary gives him an urgent call. She is warning Jack that a story on social media concerning Jack has gone viral.

It brings to light details of a relationship he had with a woman called Marian Davies, 30 years previously.

Why this? Why now? Especially at a time when Jack is ready for a very important career move, he doesn't want or need even a hint of scandal.

He takes the time to examine his life of the last three decades, looking back to a time that was pre-social media, the last time he had seen Marian, during the time when a celebrity could fairly easy control the narrative of their public persona.

But the question remained: Where had Marian been all these years? And why had she reappeared?

And would there be a price for Jack to pay all these years later?

It's a debut novel and hopefully the first of many novels from Mo.

It's published by The Book Guild at £8.99.

An Urgent Murder

An Urgent Murder is a thrilling detective  novel form Alex Winchester.

A murder had to be performed. And urgently! Should the victim be made to suffer? Perhaps.

And if the blame could be placed on an innocent person? So what?

A murder is undertaken in a home. When the police find the murder weapon (a jar of poison apparently with the fingerprints of the killer on it, the police declare that the case is closed. The nurse (whose fingerprints were those on the bottle) does not admit to the murder, but then she doesn't actually deny it, either.

However, there's one detective who isn't quite so certain about her guilt.

John has had a long and chequered career as a Met detective. His attitude to policing is perhaps a little flexible, but he is surprised when he is teamed up with Alison who is a young officer from the Sussex Police force, who does it all by the book.

There are many twists and turns in this fast paced thriller. Who was the murder victim, really? Why did he have to die?

Can Alison trust John? Can they trust their own police force, or, as they suspect, is there a mole within their organisation feeding information back to a shadowy crime baron?

Can they use their skills and experiences as police detectives to bring the killer to Justice?

And will the killings stop?

Published by Matador at £9.99, this is a must read for all thriller and detective fiction fans.

The Arnolfini Connection

The Arnolfini Connection is a novel from Brenda Turner.

It is a compelling historical novel from the pen of Brenda Turner.

Vilnius is an important city, dear to the people of Lithuania, the capital of which it is.

However, in the first part of the 20th century the city was populated almost completely by non-Lithuanians.

Not surprisingly Lithuanians were very unhappy about this situation and would go to almost any lengths to address this problem. Even if this meant they had to seek the help of outside powers.

Amidst this tense situation a clandestine love affair between two youngsters from two opposing families brought about a reprehensible assault.

Circumstances resulted in their separation between London and Vilnius. they find that circumstances totally outside their control shatter their lives even further, with the advent of the Second World War.

However, the young lovers are linked by a joint passion for a Renaissance painting from the 15th century.

Can this be the key to getting them back together?

The story is very well-written and draws on the family links of Brenda Turner to Vilnius.

It is published by The Book Guild and costs £8.99.

Monday, 24 September 2018

When the Ice Dog Comes

When the Ice Dog Comes is a new book from author P K Bell.

It tells the story of Westie Lady Corrie-Rex Arabella Jayne, in the sequel to Letters to Daddy.

Granpappy has sent a message in the form of the Ice Dog. And so our Westie heroine. She must  discover what fate had befallen her long lost Mammy and Pappy, stolen by dog kidnappers, and never heard from again.

She decides to leave home, trusting the safety of her humoan family to Max the Muckhart Warrior.

But Max is a Westie who is capable - of getting everyone into trouble!

During a family holiday in Scotland he finds the Loch Ness Monster (or does he?) Can Daddy be counted to come to the rescue?

This is a modern, action-packed adventure for children and adults of all ages (it's ideal to read together) and it is charmingly illustrated throughout by Paula Jasper-Osbourne. And the illustrations are specially designed so that you can colour them in!

It's published by Matador at £5.99.

Rude Rousing Revenge

Rude Rousing Revenge is a new novel from Robert Hobbs.

The protagonist, Karen, is a no nonsense kind of a woman. She's highly successful. And she's also heading toward her 40th birthday.

She is beginning to wonder about her life. Is this all there is? Why now, amidst all this success, is she starting to feel unchallenged? As if her near perfect existence might not be enough?

But then Karen's life is hit by the terrible news that her sister has been brutally slain.

Six months after this tragic even and with the police nowhere near to finding the culprit, Karen decides to take matters into her own hands.

If the police cannot track down and expose the person responsible for the brutal murder of her sister, then she will!

However, someone is watching Karen's efforts with alarm.

What if she should discover the truth about what happened and why it happened?

Perhaps it would be better to have Karen removed?

And why do people keep getting shot to death?

There's also a very dramatic twist that I will leave you to discover when you buy the book.

It's published by The Book Guild at £8.99.

Mercy or Mercenary

Mercy or Mercenary is a new, thought-provoking thriller from Sheila Parker.

The impact that Alzheimer's can have on an individual and their family can be devastating.

But does that excuse someone who decides that they should have the power of life or death over someone?

Leo Adare, a famous actor, is having his biography written, by a team of writers. Ralph Maguire, Ralph's friend Duncan Sinclair and his doting wife, Isabel. What is remarkable about this is that Ralph is suffering from Alzheimer's.

However, Ralph dies and the post mortem reveals that he died as a result of the medication that he was taking.

But there's a twist that interests the police and everyone else involved. It would have been impossible for Ralph to get to the medicine cabinet in the bathroom without help.

So, who was it administered the fatal dose? And why did they do it?

Was it a mercy killing or a mercenary killing?

There are many twists and turns in this thriller that takes an interesting peek into the murky world of mercy killings.

It's published by Matador at £8.99.

It's Wake-Up Time

It's Wake-Up Time is a highly poignant and moving story written by Angela Skelley about life in Bristol in the 1960s and 1970s.

From the first page which details her depression, all the way through to Canada, it details life in Bristol in the 1960s and the 1970s.

People generally didn't have telephones at home and only the more well-off neighbours had the luxury of a TV set.

Angela and her siblings were packed into a tiny prefab home which froze every winter, so life back then was not always easy.

There was pop music of the day, featuring visits by such luminaries as The Beatles, make-up (some homemade based on folk wisdom) and first jobs at age 14.

And then there was emigration to Canada.

This is an interesting memorial and it is published by Matador at £8.99.

Friday, 21 September 2018

Mind Your Will

Mind Your Will is a highly welcome book from Dr Hugh F. O'Donnell.

It is a highly welcome book that is a practical guide to protecting your will.

Not only is the author a Doctor he is an experienced counsellor who has developed years of experience.

In this book he shows the reader how to stop those using undue influence in their tracks and how you can use the power of the law to protect the vulnerable.

It covers cases like that of Gordon Lambert who made 31 wills in the last year of his life. This caused tremendous ill feeling as it was alleged that these wills were made whilst he was under undue influence and brought about a bitter dispute.

You will learn how some physical and mental health issues can bring about situations where a person can become victim to undue influence, how physicians can be of assistance in testatory matters, the definitions of capacity and how it can be assessed and how vulnerable people can be protected from the venal and the grasping. Which might include greedy councils and other interested bodies.

The book is published by Matador at £12.99.

The Importance of Being Maddison

The Importance of Being Maddison is a new novel from Helen E. Highton.

It's a very amusing novel which takes a wry look at the life of a typical family, through the lens of a girl of seven!

It looks at the McLaren family and how Maddison fits in to the life of the family.

Maddie is a little pocket rocket who seems to have not been fitted with an off switch!

There's her mother, Liz, who seems to be going from one Maddie inspired disaster to another (she always seems to be apologising for what Maddie has done, or trying to explain it.

Then there is Joe, her Dad, who seems unable to suffer fools gladly, or perhaps at all.

There's her sister, Rachel who looks at her little sister with a mixture of shock, amusement and perhaps a hint of jealousy.

And what about brother Robbie, going through the traumas of being a teenage boy, who is frustrated and exasperated by his little sister and her antics.

This book will resonate with everyone who had a little sister like Maddie, and make everyone else who didn't have a little sister like Maddie very, very grateful for that fact!

It's published by Matador at £8.99.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Lizzie's' Dream

Lizzie's' Dream is a romantic novel set against the backdrops of the horrors of the Great War.

Lizzie is 15 and she knows what she wants to be. She wants to be a governess.

However, the fact that she, along with the rest of her working class family, work in the local mill, this dream job looks to be more of a piper dream than something she can attain.

However, She meets a young solider called Harry who is stationed locally, but as their romance seems to be blossoming, Harry is sent away as part of the war.

Whilst she is trying to forget about Harry, she becomes a companion to Molly, who is the daughter of the family that owns the mill, for Molly is a sickly girl and is too ill to attend school.

As well as being her companion, the two girls swiftly develop a genuine friendship and Lizzie is able to teach Molly everything she knows.

Could this mean that Lizzie's dream might have a chance of becoming a reality?

But then she receives a letter form Harry, who has been injured and is now recuperating in a military hospital.

What happens next?

This is a charming and somewhat bitter-sweet romantic novel and it is the debut novel of poet Beverley J. Tucker.

It is published by Matador at £7.99.

They Were There on the Western Front 1914-1918

They Were There on the Western Front 1914-1918 is a remarkable book from Alan Weeks.

He has painstakingly researched an absolutely amazing collection of first-hand accounts from 100 people who were there on the Western Front.

The 100 are made up of a wide variety of different nationalities, British, Americans, Australians and French, from all walks of life, officers, conscripts, regular soldiers, engineers, medical staff and more besides.

It is profusely illustrated with photographs, drawings and maps which help to support the diary writings of these 100 people, including Alan's own father.

It explores topics such as why would someone want to keep a diary in the hell that was the Western Front?

There's also extracts from the diaries of Harry Patch, who died at 111, the last veteran of trenches of World War 1.

Not only are there diaries, but also extracts of letters that were sent back home.

This is a very moving and thought-provoking work and it is one that the serious student of the First World War will want on his or her bookshelf.

It is published by The Book Guild at £11.99.

Friday, 14 September 2018


Yoi is an important book, for it is the first published biography about Edith Cornelia Crosse, who was a most remarkable woman.

Widely known as Yoi, Edith was born in Hungary to a British father and a Hungarian/Polish mother.

Eventually Yoi moved to England where she lived with her grandmother.

She settled down to life as a married woman and a mother. But her life was to be changed dramatically when a major scandal blew up and changed her life for ever, when she ran away with a young lover.

Yoi had a love of travel and she roamed far and wide, visiting Tehran and Italy, where she lived with her second husband, a sculptor of some repute called Antonio Maraini.

Yoi began to find success as a writer, publishing several books of her travels, books which met with some success.

She also published a variety of articles in newspapers and magazines in Britain, including an interview with Mussolini.

Yoi was an interesting woman, cultured and refined yet not averse to stirring things up a little, if she felt so inclined.

The book is well researched and profusely illustrated and does bring to life Yoi.

The book is published by Matador at £17.99.

Field of Dust

Field of Dust is a novel by Angela Jean Young, but it is based on a true story.

On September 3rd 1878 the paddle steamer SS Princess Alice hundreds of passengers are enjoying a moonlit cruise on the Thames Estuary.

Unfortunately the SS Princess Alice was in a collision with a collier the Bywell Castle. Within minutes the SS Princess Alice was destroyed, cut in two, sending it to the bottom of the Thames.

650 Londoners lost their lives in the accident and for days afterwards bloated corpses were being dragged from the water.

This recovery operation is taking place watched by children from a community known as The Creek. The tragic events are locked into their memories for the rest of their lives.

One of the children, Florence Grant, also has troubles in her own life, her own family has been destroyed by the secret lives enjoyed by their parents and she and her sister were harshly abandoned by their alcoholic mover.

However, Florence is an extraordinary young working class lady, she will not allow her past to control her future.

But it was the speech of a young and impassioned young union official that caused a major development and brought change into Florence's life.

This book scores with the reader on two counts: The quality of the writing and the quality of the research, both of which are absolutely meticulous.

It is fictionalised history rather than pure fiction and all the better for it.

It is published by The Book Guild at £8.99.