Tuesday, 29 October 2019
It's set just before Christmas and Alistair returns home one day to discover that there is an unusual and very sparkly box on the table in the family dining room. It was sent to him by Hamish.
In the box, Alistair finds Oscar, who is a small but very fun filled rabbit, called Oscar.
Upon the eventual arrival of Christmas Eve, Oscar insists on taking Alistair out into the snow-bedecked garden to play. Oscar takes Alistair through a hjole in the garden where they are faced with a gigantic door made of ice.
Mr Tilly, Hamish's rat friend and Hamish greet them at the doorway and instantly the friends are all off on an incredible Christmas adventure.
There's a hedgehog sledding race, an absolutely splendid Hedgehog Christmas party and the wonderful opportunity to have an audience with the Queen of the Hedgehogs in her sparkling palace!
Then Alistair wakes up in bed, in his own bedroom. So, it was all as dream, was it? Perhaps not. But to learn what happens next, you'll need to read the book.
It's published by The Book Guild at £6.99 and it has got to be on your Christmas book gift list for Christmas 2019!
Children will learn about the vegetables that are available, but in a fresh and very fun-filled way.
There are rhymes to help the vegetables come alive to the children and a whole load of fantastic, yet fairly simple, recipes for Mums, dads and Children (under guidance from adults, of course!) to try out for themselves.
Read along whilst Alex and Morgan and their mum learn all about different and new vegetables, how to select them, how to prepare them and how to cook them.
The illustrations in the book are bright and colourful and the book was written by Alexandra Campbell in cooperation with Purely Nutrition Ltd.
It is published by Matador at £9.99 and really should be under every Christmas tree this year.
Michelle's life has been destroyed when she discovers that the love of her life, her partner is actually a cheating rat.
So, Michele decides that she'd like to dip her toes back into the dating pool.
But now, years after she last dated, the situation is vastly different. And she decides to surf the online dating websites in her searches for companionship and, hopefully, love.
She meets, or communicates, with many different men. There are men who are tedious, who are overly committed to their jobs to the exclusion of everything else in their lives, including love. No wonder they are on a dating site.
There are sports fanatics, the mentally deluded, men who are trying to operate a scam on the hapless women they try to get their claws into on the dating sites.
Michelle was horrified to discover a sub-set of the men on the dating sites who were leading a double life, pretending to be single on the dating sites, whilst pretending to be a loving, dutiful husband to the wife back at home.
And when questioned about their marital status, would come out with the old cliche: "It's complicated."
It's a book that veers from being utterly hilarious to quite moving. Michele Paul has written a very entertaining book that is all the more interesting because it's not fiction, it's actually a memoir!
It's published by The Book Guild at £8.99.
Monday, 28 October 2019
It's three years on from the most important referendum vote in a generation (the last such an important referendum vote was the first European Referendum in 1974) there have been many different Brexit Secretaries, several rejected deals, much debate that has generated more heat than light, yet the fundamental question remain, according to the author, what, exactly, does Britain want from Brexit?
Some people claim that the financial sector in the UK will be most at risk, which would have a knock on impact on the rest of the British economy.
Despite being able to access the Single Market, a substantial proportion of the financial services industry actually voted to leave.
The author points out that, far from being informed by xenophobia or anti-immigration sentiments, recent research indicates hat the leave vote was based on a rational analysis and assessment of the costs and the benefits of continued EU membership for Britain. As for the financial sector this was also influenced by "post-crisis regulatory reform."The industry, points out Peace E. Ani, was disproportionately impacted by Brexit due the "divergence of business models within the industry, based on the relative reliance on domestic, international or European trade."
As a financial services professional with in excess of 15 years' experience in the industry, Peace E. Ani is well placed to ask these very important questions and posit some answers to them.
Questions such as: What does the UK want from Brexit? will our economy suffer? Or could there be some benefits for Britain in a post-Brexit world?
The book is published by Matador and should be required reading for everyone be they pro-Brexit or anti-Brexit.
It is published by Matador at £8.99.
Johnny, Len and Danny are three typical teen lads of their era. Well, of any era, to an extent. Their lives revolve around sex, their motorbikes and rock 'n' roll music.
Johnny is a mechanic who is very keen to leave home, but he know that, twelve months down the line, National Service will come knocking on whatever door he is living behind.
However, he has his treasured Triton motorbike on which he lavishes his attention to take his mind off the stuff he cannot do anything about.
Then there is Len. Len is a bit different from his mates. He is an ex-public schoolboy, who has found himself sent off the the Royal Navy, (not a usual national Service posting, it must be said) and as for Danny? He is working as a farm labourer without, it appears, a care in the whole world.
The three lads enjoy their lives to the full, with bikes, booze and birds.
But what if there was a dark secret that lurked beneath the surface, a dark secret that was unspeakable and which could blow their cosy existence apart?
This is a very moving an thoughtful book that looks at some difficult yet important themes.
It is written by Morgan Smith who is an award-winning author. She has enjoyed writing since her childhood.
The book is published by The Book Guild at £9.99.book
It's April, 1746. Thomas Lovat was born on the last day of the Jacobite Rebellion that took place at Culloden.
As he was being born, his father was breathing his last, killed on the field of battle.
The rest of Thomas' life is coloured and deeply affected by the loss of his father and also by the impact of the subsequent Highland Clearances.
Thomas grew up aware of his heritage and also of the hurt and anger that the events had engendered. He was a somewhat confused young man, as he grew into his adulthood.
He leaves Britain and travels to the Middle East, where he meets and weds the first love of his life, who bears him a child.
Upon returning the Britain, Thomas joins the British Army and leaves for America, in the time prior to the American War of Independence. When the revolution flares up, Thomas finds himself conflicted as he struggles to come to terms with his oen Jacobite heritage and his sworn duties as an officer in the British Army.
It is a moving account with historical fact interwoven with intelligent and well thought out speculation to fill in the gaps of the historical narrative.
It is published by Matador on 28th November at £12.00.
Andy has spent three decades working as a civil servant, but his worsening health brought about a lengthy period of unemployment. following his unplanned and unwelcome early retirement.
But Andy has a family to look after and support, so the strain is beginning to tell on him.
Although his wife doesn't want him to do it, Andy decides to throw his lot in with a private hire firm that has seen better days and to begin to work as a driver for them.
This thrusts a bemused Andy into a bizarre new world where he spends every evening working with a mixed bunch of fellow drivers. A very mixed bunch, truth to tell!
And as for the strangers, sorry, I mean passengers, well, actually when you read the book you will see why I made that slip!
No two nights are ever the same and there's the little matter that, because of his new job, Andy gets to take a totally unexpected trip to Florida and the Caribbean.
It's a boom that is both amusing a very moving as Andy learns a lot more about life than he probably ever cared to know as he careers from one call out to another in his trusty Yellow Peril.
It's published by Matador at £9.99.
Monday, 7 October 2019
In June 1940 Hitler's next target was Britain. And whilst the vast majority of Britons would do anything they could to resist the invasion of Britain by Nazi Germany, there were some who not only would welcome such an attack, they were actually dedicated to helping to make sure of a German victory over their own country, so virulent was their antisemitism.
They were apparently ordinary Britons living seemingly ordinary lives, working in shops, offices and factories (some were even involved in important war work) but unknown to their neighbours and some friends and relatives, they were, in reality, dedicated to promoting the cause of Nazism in Britain and to helping sabotage the British war effort.
However, what they did not realise was that every move they made, every contact they undertook with their German 'spymaster' was actually all taken under the careful control of Eric Roberts, one of the most experienced and dedicated MI5 agents of his generation.
Formerly a bank clerk from Epsom, Eric Roberts had spent the years before World War Two dedicated to rooting out Communist infiltrators and members of the British Union of Fascists.
But at the onset of the Second World War, he became known as Agent Jack King and was given the dangerous task by spymaster Maxwell Knight of seeking out potential traitors and convincing them that he, Jack King, was a Gestapo agent.
It was called Operation Fifth Column and none of the traitors were ever aware that, rather than working for the Gestapo, they were actually working for MI5.
Jack King, working virtually by himself, built up a network of hundreds of Nazi sympathisers and was able to neutralise the impact that their treasonous behaviour would have had, should they have been recruited by a genuine Gestapo agent.
How did he do this? Eric Roberts had an amazing ability to convince people to place their trust in him.
Robert Hutton's book is very well researched and very well written and it casts a strong light on a hitherto unknown part of World War Two.
Why was it kept secret for so many years after the war? Hutton reveals these reasons.
This book is a must have for students of war history and the general reader.
It's published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson and the published price is £9.99, although it may be available for less on Amazon (check out the Amazon link to the right of book reviews) and other stores, also available as an e-book and an audio book.
I can heartily recommend this book as a must read.
Thursday, 3 October 2019
It examines a number of "secret" weapons (often based on new technologies) that Hitler insisted were "miracle weapons" that would halt the advancing allied armies in their tracks, reverse the fortunes of the German armed forces and bring the ultimate victory that he had long promised the German people.
However, what were these "miracle weapons"? Were they real or fantasies within the mentally diseased mind of Hitler?
In his book Fitzgerald examines the remaining records and archives of both Germany and the allied armed forces and he proves that some of the weapons were real attempts to use science to create weapons that would defeat the allied forces. A problem faced by researchers such as Fitzgerald is that many of the records were destroyed in allied bombing campaigns or were destroyed by the German armed forces or taken by Soviet army units.
He looks at the rocket programme of the Germans, flying discs, so-called foo fighters, alternative energy production and much more besides.
He also takes time to debunk some of the more hysterical claims so beloved of conspiracy theory fanatics.
For example he makes a detailed examination of The Bell. He writes about what The Bell wasn't (it wasn't anything to do with anti-gravity for example) it might, he speculates, have been designed to breed uranium or plutonium or could have been an early type of particle accelerator.
He shows that one of the apparent mysteries surrounding The Bell project was merely a mistake in transcribing the name of a female scientist involved in the project.
It's an interesting and informative book and is published by Arcturus Publishing and costs £7.99.
In this book McDonald takes the reader through the various and multiplicious theories of comedy and humour.
There is no one, single unifying theory of what makes people laugh and it is the aim of this book to do that, at least to some extent.
It critically examines the philosophical approaches to humour of great minds down through the ages such as Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Descartes Hobbes, Bergson, Kant, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Freud and Bakhtin.
However, the book also dips in to several other disciplines such as psychology and psychoanalysis, the theory of literature, religion, cultural studies, philosophy.
However, this is not a dry, theoretical work as it offers the student/reader the opportunity to partake in humorous creative writing exercises.
The book is published by Humanities-Ebooks and costs £11.75 and is also available as an e-book via Amazon at £3.72.