Monday, 26 November 2018
His family originated in England and he was born in Ireland, into a family which had military service through its very DNA.
One of his relatives earned a VC and he himself had an amazing record during World War 1.
It was 1919 when he left the British army and took his bride back to his country estate in Ireland.
He became the County Commandant of the B Specials, in order to fight against the IRA in the area.
It was perhaps a natural progression for him to enter the world of politics and he entered Stormont in 1929, and in 1933 he was to become a member of Lord Craigavon's cabinet.
Comment in the book is made about the speech at about that time on The Twelfth that earned him no little amount of infamy, at least in some quarters. The author examines in great detail the reasons behind what some would view as Sir Basil's antipathy toward people of the Catholic faith and does go a long way to explain what may have been the root cause/
He worked tirelessly to ensure the victory of the Allies against the Axis forces, earning fulsome praise from Churchill himself. In fact Sir Basil became Prime Minister in Stormont in 1943.
The postwar peace brought him no little amount of concern, as he was very uneasy about the Labour government in Whitehall, even though the government did make some decisions that were of considerable benefit to Northern Ireland.
Eventually he was ennobled by Churchill, becoming Viscount Brookeborough of Colebrooke.
It is a very interesting book, but it might have benefited from the inclusion of some images, but this is only a minor point.
It is published by The Book Guild at £15.95 (hardback) and will make a very good Chirstmas present for those interested in the history of the British Isles.
Sunday, 25 November 2018
She aims to use this book to reach girls about boys, being with them, break-up from them, and so forth.
They'll learn about how to deal with friendships and relationships, how to cope with the very real problem of bullying, what to do if a panic attack threatens, self-esteem and depression.
There's also advice on dressing yourself, fashion, how to deal with body problems from whiffy breath to whiffy bodies, make-up, periods, contraception, pregnancy, health issues, what to do or not to do when you go out, how to be 'streetwise', what to think about when faced with the possibilities of tattoos or body piercing, what to do should drugs make an appearance, etc.
There are also tips on dating, including on line dating and much more besides.
The book is aimed at teaching teenage girls how to survive and thrive during their teenage years, but it is written in a friendly, humorous and honest style.
It's available now and really should be in the top ten Christmas present list for the female teenager in your life.
It's in hardback from Matador and costs a very reasonable £15.99.
It details the life and times of Lucy Deane, who was one of the first female factory inspectors in Victorian Britain.
Lucy Deane was appointed to the role of Factory Inspector in 1983 by Herbert Asquith, when he was Home Secretary.
She was sent to inspect and issue reports on the condition of women workers in factories all over the British Isles.
Some of the male factory inspectors were upset and appalled by what they perceived as this encroachment by females on what they believed was a male only preserve.
Lucy had four other female Factory Inspector colleagues. There were no precedents for what they were doing and nor was any specialist training available.
Lucy's family, which was of a somewhat upper class, were in the main upset and horrified about what they considered as her "unladylike occupation."
Someone had given Lucy a very useful tip when she started her new role. They had advised her to keep her own private records on every aspect of her job, what she did, the people she met and interacted with.
She kept these notes in a total of 23 cheap exercise books. It was these notes made between 1893 to 1898 that form the basis for this biography of her life as as a female factory inspector.
Her notes cover her day-to-day working life, the factories she visited, her home life with her sister Hyacinth, the problems she had with keeping her bicycles from crashing, her travels to and from work and noting how, over time, how the opinions of her male colleagues changed toward her as they eventually realised what an asset she was.
She was awarded a CBE for her efforts during World War 1 when she had the onerous task of organising the Women's Land Army.
There are also a collection of illustrations to accompany this remarkable biography.
It is published by The Book Guild at £9.99. This book will be of interest to anyone interested in Victorian history, feminist history, the early days of factory inspection or those who love a good biography. It'll make a fantastic Christmas gift.
It's known that 1 in 60 children are somewhere on the autism spectrum.
Unfortunately in the UK there is a waiting period of anywhere between two years to 36 months for the condition to be diagnosed.
Many families of children on the autistic spectrum are bewildered by what is happening and are, understandably, desperate for help, advice and reassurance.
It is Dr Ng's hope and intention that her book will help to fill the very real gap that exists.
Based on her expertise and knowledge as an award-winning top paediatrician and her own personal experiences of raising her son, Brendan, May Ng offers readers a very helpful insight in to what it is like to be the parent of a child on the autism spectrum, what resources are available to families and also offers some very welcome practical advice based on her own experiences.
She has tried many different forms of treatment, some mainstream, some alternative, and can offer her own tips as to what works and what doesn't work.
Thankfully, Brendan is, at 13, a happy boy and is in a school that is dedicated to teaching children who have autism.
The book is a must have for parents of children with autism, GPs, paediatricians and school teachers.
It is £8.99 and is published by The Book Guild.
You'll possibly have read his previous work, The Veterinary Detectives: More Sherlock Holmes Than James Herriot. Which your reviewer can also heartily recommend.
In this book we read of Roger's further adventures, this time in Peru.
It tells the story of how Roger came to be awarded a richly deserved MBE for his work as a vet in Peru, where he gathered together a team of young and highly motivated team of young Peruvian vets and how he encouraged them, under his skilled leadership, to create and establish a new veterinary service to assist farmers in an area which was the size of the whole of England.
Of course, nothing worthwhile is ever easy and the newly established team faces not only the challenges of attempting to create such a service under troubled economic circumstances, scepticism from officials in both Britain and Peru, there is also a very real threat from the Shining Path terror gang who are a threat to both the farmers and the members of the team of dedicated and highly motivated team of vets and their support workers.
However, against the odds, Roger and his team (not to mention his concert pianist wife, Maxine!) are able to succeed in achieving what they set out to achieve, to create and manage a service of benefit to farmers, animals and the country of Peru. A land which Roger came to admire and love.
The book is very well illustrated and will make a superb Christmas present for the animal lover and vet in your life.
It's published by The Book Guild in hardback at £16.95.
But! Into the life of the grumpy and sometimes lonely Gnome comes a Fairy Princess who has more than a touch of magic about her.
The Gnome is disappointed in his garden. He knows what he wants his garden to look like, he wants it to be a green paradise, the reality is that it is an overgrown mess and he hasn't the first idea of what he can to to even start making it look better.
Fortunately for the Grumpy Gnome the Fairy Princess is a dab hand at gardening and when she comes to stay with him in his charming cottage she is able to help him to start to transform his messy garden into a garden to be proud of.
Whilst they are working on the garden they both benefit from learning about the changing of the seasons, the wonders of nature and the pure joys that a gardener can learn from growing their own plants.
Although this is a fun to read book for children and adults of all ages, it's also designed to help to introduce children to the pleasures and joys of gardening and it is wonderfully illustrated with some very colourful pictures. The author, Della Jayne Hayes has created a work of great charm and magic.
This book will make a great Christmas present and will be enjoyed as a book for sharing people children and adults.
It is published by Matador at £6.99.
Friday, 23 November 2018
Teenager Jack Watts is prone to jump to conclusions far, far too quickly.
One morning he finds something on the kitchen table of his family home which Jack decides looks like an explosive device of some kind.
Jack warns the rest of the family about his discovery. But the device isn't, after all, an explosive device. However, it is an object of considerable mystery that propels Jack into a world of unexpected adventures and a considerable amount of trouble.
Joe, Jack's neighbour who lives downstairs, is more prone to be sceptical about the whole story. He appears to have been proven correct, for the "explosive device" turns out to be a common stone, often found in gardens or on the beach.
However, Jack thinks differently. After all, didn't he, later that same day, have some strange experiences with an unusual visitor who Jack decided to name "Fred"?
Fiona is Jack's girlfriend who is a journalist. When she returns home from an assignment she becomes impressed by the apparent power that the stone exudes and she decides to convince the others that it would be an awfully good idea to spy on members of the Royal Family at a theatrical event. However, things do not go according to her cunning plan.
Eventually Jack and Fred travel backward through time and end up in the early 20th century.
This is a very well-written book and will be a must have for many Christmas stockings this year.
Apparently it took author S. M. Locke 12 years to write this book from when she first had the idea. It is to be hoped that he second book, and other subsequent books, do not take 12 years to finish because she has a unique and very readable style.
It is published by Matador at £7.99.
It is based on the life story of the Dragon Master and was written by a most trusted student.
Not long before his death the Dragon Master of the ancient art of Shaolin Chan Kung Fu entrusted an archive of his private papers to the safekeeping of a most trusted and favoured student.
He left instructions with his student that he should use the papers to write a full account of his life and of the ideals and aims of the art that he had devoted his whole life to.
However, the student is shocked to learn that within the papers are diaries that contain personal information that shock and appal the student, he learns that the Dragon Master had an obsession that call the principles that he claimed to adhere to during his life into extreme doubt.
Can the student square the circle? Can he find a way to come to terms with the apparent inconsistency and contradictions between the ideals of the Dragon Master and the reality of what he actually did with his life, or at least the part of his life which he kept secret?
The book is written by Patrick Grant and whether or not it is a total fiction or based on the notes from the student it is a highly compelling read.
It is published by The Book Guild at £8.99.
Andrew is a spiritual healing medium and, through his book, he hopes to allow others to look into the world of spiritualism.
Andrew has visited many spiritualist centres throughout Britain and also in Sweden.
As a result he has participated in hundreds of seances and in many different groups.
He reveals how he made his first steps into spiritualism, how he was able to witness things that would defy so-called rational explanation, from mediumship to becoming involved in what he describes as rescue work.
He has developed his own skills such as clairvoyance and clairsentience and also enjoyed allowing spirits to use him to create psychic artworks.
It is a fascinating book and will make a superb Christmas gift for someone who is interested in spiritual matters.
It is published by Matador at £12.99.
The Nethergate tobacco plantation is prepared for troubles as the rumbling threat of civil war becomes an ever present danger.
We meet a cast of disparate characters. There is Silas Killcaid, the Chief Overseer of slaves. He has a position of dominance at Nethergate, due to a combination of cruelty and cunning.
Due to the death of one master and the murder of another Killcaid increases his grip on the plantation, but even he cannot control the forces that threaten his position of power.
There's also the problem of the slave called Matthew Styles. He has a strong will and he is not the kind of man to accept his status as a slave. This earns him the hatred of Killcaid.
But new alliances are made and new relationships forged against the backdrop of the imminent civil war.
And when the civil war does come, Nethergate becomes a very dangerous place to be, with rebellion and murder.
Who will win? Killcaid or Styles?
Readers will be eager for the second parts of this trilogy.
It's published by The Book Guild at £8.99 and will make a great Christmas present.
It is Bruce's contention that learning English is of vital importance because, internationally, English is the de facto language for international business contracts, international contract law and international contract arbitration.
Bruce also states that, after a couple of decades of living and working in Malaysia, he came to realise that a major problem is not the words that are used but in making meaning and sincerity clear.
He believes passionately that getting one's meaning over is of much greater importance than the words that are actually used.
In his book he explains that "sorry could you repeat that?" is the most important question any learner can be asked and should be nothing to be afraid of.
The book focuses on how one can make learning English as a second language a fun task. Whilst also striving to put the English language in context to give the reader a genuine insight into the complex and, sometimes, odd people that British people can be.
He points out in his book that there is no need for the teaching of languages to be the boring, painful trial that they so often are. And shows ways that teaching langues (in this case, specifically ESOL) can be made something that will be fun and, as pain free as possible.
This book will be of great value to any teacher of ESOL, any ESOL student and also ot any teacher or lecturer of English, because there is much of general value in this book.
It is published bu Matador at £12.99 and should be bought as library stock by any organisation that teaches English.
And it will make a great stocking filler for this Christmas.
Monday, 19 November 2018
A teacher from Birmingham, she decided to change her career to that of a full time journalist in West London.
How did she make the transition from a teacher to a journalist? She had worked as a teacher in Ealing for a number of years, but she had written a weekly schools' page for the Uxbridge Gazette. An editor liked her work and suggested that she consider entering the world of journalism. Which she did. (Reviewer's note: A similar incident happened to your reviewer, which is why I made the switch to journalism, too.)
Barbara spent the next couple of decades writing for the paper, eventually becoming Chief Reporter before becoming Deputy News Editor.
The book is a whirlwind of a read, taking in the mundane points of local newspaper journalism, but also covering weightier matters such as the death of Princess Diana, and with her photographer colleague, faced the wrath of the ever fickle British public.
There were other incidents including meeting Nelson Mandela, covering hostage situations, being thrown in at the deep end on her first week, by being tasked to find a front page story, no pressure, then?
There were human interest stories, meeting with some great characters (such as Screaming Lord Sutch) learning all about the vagaries of the new data protection laws, coping with people who had just received devastating news, receiving hairstyles from celebrity hairdressers, dealing with alleged spies.
It's a very good read from a highly skilled writer and it was a real pleasure to read. (However, as a fellow hack journalist and fellow Brummie, I may well be a little bit biased!)
However, this book is a fantastic autobiography (complete with some relevant illustrations) and it is published by The Book Guild at £9.99.
It'll make a great Christmas present for the readers in your life.
Sunday, 18 November 2018
The poems in this collection are all about the many different facets of love.
There's romantic love, love which is tinged by tragedy, of loss, of the mundane, the different and the quirky and poems of joy and of healing.
Although all from the same poet, the poems are in a range of vastly different voices, from poems of love lost, love found, love regained or not regained.
At £8.99 (published by Matador) this is an ideal introduction to the world of poetry and poems and it will make a very good Christmas stocking filler.
It's more than 'just' a spy novel, as it interweaves adventure, elements of the thriller novel, heroism, romance, suspense and with a hint of political intrigue to make an extremely fulfilling read.
Carl von Menen has it all, or so it appears. Handsome, suave, wealthy, aristocratic and a high flying member of the German Foreign Office. All perfectly normal for a man of his calibre. All except for the fact that he has an utter hatred of Adolph Hitler and longs to assassinate him.
His longing for a Germany free from Hitler and his Nazi government seems to him to be an impossible dream. However, things might change from von Menen, when he is suddenly given an assignment in Argentina. The Nazis are interested in the rise to prominence in Argentina of the United Officers Group (OGU) a pro Nazi faction of the Argentinian military, under the guidance of Juan Domingo Peron.
But when he arrives in Buenos Aires, von Menen finds himself rapidly sucked into a vortex of deceit, treachery and the threat of revolution.
He meets with the apparently helpful and obliging Colonel Filipe Vidal. But what game is Vidal playing? Can he be trusted or does he have an agenda of his own, is he plotting to take the country for himself?
If so, can he trick von Menen into helping him with a honey trap?
Managing to scheme his return to Europe, von Menen is horrified to find his beloved Berlin in utter ruination and that the Gestapo are everywhere, even whilst the pitiless Red Army are closing in on the capital city of Germany.
Von Menen seeks vengeance and, at great personal risk, he works to convince the desperate Nazi leadership that Colonel Vidal can offer them a pro-Nazi deal that could save them.
All it requires is a daring robbery of the Reichsbank, a secret and highly dangerous submarine journey from Germany to Argentina and some unfinished business back in Buenos Aires.
Can von Menen succeed? Can he even survive?
At £9.99 this is an excellent adventure novel published by Matador.
The book, written by David Hills, is aimed at children aged 5 to 7.
It begins with a hedgehog called Hamish, awaking from his winter hibernation. He has tow goals. To have some fun, playing and to seek out 'the chosen one.'
A little boy called Alistair finds Hamish in his back garden. They soon become fast friends and set out on a range of adventures and Alistair learns a great deal about the lifestyle of hedgehogs, including an invitation ot a very special secret hedgehog party.
And Alistair is granted the privilege if an audience with the Queen of the Hedgehogs. And the Queen gives Alistair a very special award. Which you will be able ot find out about when you read this delightful book.
It is published by The Book Guild at £6.99 and it's a must buy Christmas gift.
His life is beset by stresses form both his work life and his personal life. His loving bond with his sister Maria is the one thing in his life that brings him joy and comfort. But Brett wishes that her boyfriend was not the abusive jerk that he is.
Brett is also bedevilled by his relationship with his ex-girlfriend, Lisa. They share the responsibility for raising their daughter (who is only four) but it is Brett's worry that Lisa is more fond of being a good time party girl rather than a mother to their child.
To make matters worse a local bully decides that he is going to goad Brett in public, trying to deliberate humiliate him informant of an ex-girlfriend in the public setting of a local public house.
Brett, somehow, keeps his cool. After all, he has his daughter to think about.
But what if the circumstances changed? What would happen then? What if a situation arose where the tables were turned and Brett decided that he was not going to take any more nonsense from bullies? Or, at least, one particular bully?
What if he were to metamorphose from a bullied care worker into an extremely dangerous nemesis?
After all, if you bully a man who has nothing to lose, what can you, actually, expect him to do?
This is an extremely well-written novel from Kelso Simon, it's gritty and gripping an although a fictional story it does carry the ring of truth.
It's published by The Book Guild at £8.99 and will make a super Christmas present for those who like gritty, slice of life novels.
Thursday, 15 November 2018
Silvers Model Circus took its creator David Hardie and his family almost 50 years to lovingly construct.
David Hardie was apprenticed to his family’s tent-making business in Sydney, Australia, and he began constructing the first part of the circus back in 1931 when he was only seventeen years of age.
Eventually David moved to the UK and with help from members of his family, they extended the circus down through the years.
It first went on public display back in 1982, after which event it toured the UK.
In 1984 it formed the centrepiece of the Christmas display in Cheltenham and was officially opened by Earl Spencer,Princess Diana's father.
The entire model is powered by a single engine. The circus is operated by a complex system of belts and pulleys all linked o a single drive-shaft.
Each item of the model was hand-crafted and is to 1:24 scale.
After David Hardie’s death in 2002, the model was stored in a variety of locations until, finally, it ended up in a storage container on a piece of wasteland next to a riding stable.
In 2017, Lucy Townsend, Hardie’s grand-daughter began researching the model and learned where it was.
Lucy said: “I persuaded my mother and uncle to take me to look at the model and see whether it was still in a condition that could be saved."
“When I first saw the container, my heart sank as it was half-buried by the dung from the stables but, eventually, we reached the boxes containing the model.
“Miraculously, much of the model was still in good condition and after months of cleaning and renovating, the circus has been restored to its former glory.”
The family have decided that they would rather see the model go to a new home than return to its container so it is going to be auctioned in London by Roseberys on 22nd November.
Wednesday, 14 November 2018
It's a fair old trek you'll be sharing with him, about 125 miles worth, from Broadstairs all the way along to Lewes.
This book is a successor volume to his two previous works Finding My Place and Walking My Patch. Combining the three books together you'll cover a very respectable 1,000+ miles of the countryside of Kent and East Susses.
The book is very sensibly broken down into four distinct chapters starting with Broadstairs to Canterbury, then Canterbury to Bethersden, Bethersden to Bexhill and the final leg of the journey, the walk from Bexhill to Lewes.
It's much more than a "mere" walking book. It's a travelogue, yes, but it also contains some of his original poetry pieces that are all inspired by particular aspects and features of his walking travels.
There are also highly detailed and well coloured walking maps (a curious omission in some walking guides, it has to be acknowledged) and there are some nice photographs taken by the author.
There's also a fund of interesting anecdotes and tales that he collected on his travels.
This well-researched and well-written book will be a welcome addition in the knapsack of anyone who is interested in walking and it will make an excellent Christmas gift for the walker in your life.
It is published by The Book Guild at £14.95.
Monday, 12 November 2018
The planet Earth is overheated and dying. He is taken from the Earth by Marlo, who is his mentor.
But! Magnus discovers that all was not quite as he had thought.
For Magnus is not a human from the planet Earth. In reality he is a member of a race called the Guardians of the Universe who are not only from a different planet, they are actually from a different dimension.
Wizardly Marlo is being hard on himself as he feels somewhat responsible for the fact that Murdamond was able to destroy the Earth, because Murdamond cannot resist taking anything that looks beautiful and shiny.
When they arrive at the village of Deruweld, Magnus finds that humans haven't evolved just yet and that dinosaurs are still roaming round the countryside.
To make matters more complicated Murdamond has already arrived and he has captured Magnus' parents and is holding them imprisoned in the dungeon of his new castle.
Magnus realises that he must use all of his powers and wisdom to defeat Murdamond. With the help of Marlo, some friendly dinosaurs and the Jewelled Book of the Universe. Even though it thought it might be helpful if it decided to change itself into the shape of a girl.
This is the first book in a trilogy about Magnus and his friends and will make a great Christmas present for children aged 7 to 9.
It is published by Matador at £6.99.
It starts with the initial thoughts about the possibilities of surrogacy and then proceeds through the decision to employ a surrogate to help create a family.
This is the story of James Phillips, from a single man, then as part of a same-sex couple and then onward to the story of how he met and fell in love with Krzysztof part way through the process and how they work together to create a family with the help pf a surrogate in Bangkok, and how they manage to deal with international red tape and navigate a variety of obstacles from the health of the surrogate to a bewildering array of rules and regulations.
And what happens when it is revealed there is not one baby on the way, but two, as they will be having twins!
This is an interesting at heartwarming book which will be of use to anyone who is interested in the field of surrogacy.
It is published by Matador at £11.99.
Throughout the novel Deborah takes her readers on a journey through the lives of a range of highly interesting people who are all, in one way or another, deeply damaged or disturbed in one way or another.
There's Sasha who is doing her best to keep her life together. She is raising her teenage son Zac. Although she isn't a single parent, she might as well be, as her husband is absent.
Then there's the problems presented by her elderly mother who is not only temperamental, her alcoholism also compounds the problems she presents.
But why has Zac destroyed a pair of scissors as he attempted to break in to a valuable antique desk which he has caused terrible damage to?
What was he searching for? What dreadful secrets does he believe that his mother is keeping hidden from him?
And what about Sasha? Does she have a dark secret from her past that she needs to keep hidden?
Her mother, Annie, is beginning to have problems with the past and the present, as they seem to coalesce together. What is true? What is untrue? Annie doesn't seem to know, any more.
She is certain of one thing. That Joe, her late husband, is waiting for her and watching over her. But is he? And what of a dreadful secret that she kept from Joe? How can she go to him with that on her conscience?
It's an interesting novel that takes the reader through the history of Sasha's family over several decades.
Old traumas are revealed and relived and once hidden secrets are brought to the surface, again.
It's published by Matador at £9.99.
Friday, 9 November 2018
That's Christmas: An ideal gift for the book reading women in your l...: It’s Christmas and you’re looking for the ideal gift for the women in your life. We have the solution to all of the women in your life! ...
Monday, 5 November 2018
It's aimed at children from ages 7 to 9 years old and it tells the story of an unlikely friendship between a badger and a crab and the amazing adventures that they enjoy together.
Badgers in the UK are under threat due to a campaign to cull them to stop bovine tuberculosis.
Badger finds himself a long way away from his normal night time feeding area. He is hungry and finds himself searching for food on a beach at high tide.
However, he hears someone calling for help. He doesn't want to abandon his search for food, he is very hungry, but he is a decent person and decides to halt his search for food to try to find the person who is crying out for help.
He finds a crab trapped under a rock and has a hard time in freeing him.
Crab later overhears a conversation between two moonfaces plotting an attack on a badger's sett that is not far away.
Crab realises that the badger who saved his life could be in danger, so Crab sets off to try to save his new friend.
Can he succeed?
This is a well written book that contains clear environmental messages in a fashion that is understandable by children.
It is well illustrated by Carol Davies and will make a super Christmas gift. It is published by Matador at £7.99.