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Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Walking Football Imrove Your Life

There are two wonderful types of exercise, walking and football.

What if someone could combine the two together? In actual fact. that has already happened. And in his book Walking Football Improve Your Life Tom Moran explains it all and how you can get involved with the new sports hit, walking football.

Tom lives in Middlesex and is a Walking Football player himself, for Barnet. In fact he is also a member of the WFA (Walking Football Association) England over-60s international squad.

Walking Football is thundering across the landscape of Britain and beyond, with some 1,200 clubs, an estimated involvement of 40,000 players and international teams being formed globally.

It is aimed at people who are 50s plus, who want to continue being involved in football, or who just want a way to keep fit or to become more fit. Perhaps they are recovering from a heart attack, surgery or just want a gentle and comparatively easy way to burn off some calories.

The NHS is now involved and medical professionals are prescribing Walking Football and other community-based health activities, so it's receiving more publicity amongst the general public.

In his book Tom introduces his readers to the concept of Walking Football, how you might be able to get involved, what to do when you get involved and what you can expect from it and what can be expected of you.

Tom also covers the rules and regulations of Walking Football and some information about the sport's governing body, the WFA.

He also includes anecdotes from a wide range of other Walking Football players including Sid Tobias, who can still play a good game at 84, Keith who is 67, Kevin who first heard about Walking Football from a friend from Portugal and Paul Murtagh who had his football career cruelly cut short before it had even began, when he had a severe knee injury at age 15.

Tom also includes tips on how to play the game and also features a very useful list of teams from around the UK including the Birmingham WFC, the Bury Relics and AFC Blackpool Senior Seasiders.

Got an older family member in your life who you think could benefit from getting involved in Walking Football? Then this book will make a first rate Christmas present for them.

It's published by The Book Guild at £7.99.

The Lodge

Got a horror fiction fan that you need to buy a Christmas present for? Then you should buy them Chris Coppel's new horror novel The Lodge.

There's a remote hunting lodge in the hills of the Sottish Highlands. It's the Christmas holidays and there has been a report of an accidental death at the Lodge, so the local police, in the form of a young constable, PC Andrew Whiting, from the nearest police station is called out to the lodge to make preliminary enquiries.

As he drives toward the lodge he finds himself driving through an ever-worsening blizzard. 

When he reaches the Lodge he finds himself trapped there along with the surviving guests. But for how long would any of them survive? Was the death really as accidental as it had first appeared? Or was it a deliberate act of malice? And if that was the case, how many more of the residents of the Lodge would be killed before the culmination of the hellish nightmare that was to befall them?

But who or what was targeting the residents of the Lodge? What if the hunted animals had decided to return and seek a bloody, violent revenge? If so, how could they undertake their brutal vengeance?

This is a truly bloodthirsty book, so will be a real hit with the horror thriller fan in your life.

It's published by Matador at £9.99.

The Mersey Estuary a Travel Guide


 The Mersey Estuary a Travel Guide is a wonderful new book from Kevin Sene.

When people think of the Mersey Estuary it often brings to mind The Mersey Tunnel, the ferry, the iconic Liverpool waterfront and the Liver Building.

But as Kevin shows his readers in his book there is so much more to the Mersey Estuary than that. All 30+ miles of it.

You will learn of places to visit in Cheshire, Widnes, Warrington, Liverpool, Birkenhead, Port Sunlight including the museum and the Lady Lever Art Galley.

There are many museums to visit including the International Slavery Museum, the Merseyside Maritime Museum, the National Waterways Museum, Birkenhead Priory and many more throughout the area.

There are nature reserves, plus places for birdwatching, working canals, country walks, National Trust properties and coastal resorts such as New Brighton. 

Plus shopping from Liverpool's famous shopping quarters to traditional markets. Also a bewildering range of places to dine at.

The reader will also find guided walks and cycle routes throughout the area in this wonderful book.

The book is well illustrated with photographs and maps.

From how to travel in the area to the amazing superlambanas, from Fiddler's Ferry to the iconic Liver Building, there's just about everything in this amazing book which will make a stunning and very welcome Christmas gift.

It's published by Matador at £19.99.

Tuesday, 15 December 2020

The Hanged Man


The Hanged Man
is the latest historical novel from Andree Rushton.

The author takes their readers to Castignac which is a gorgeous farmhouse in South-West France. It's been turned into a holiday home for a group of British holidaymakers.

The idyllic situation was brought to an abrupt and tragic end with the totally unexpected death of Ian, one of the members of the group.

This has overwhelmed the once happy associations that the surviving members of the group fwlt for Castignac and they take the decision to sell the house.

But group member Tessa has an uneasy feeling that there is more to the situation that they know and she is determined to try to learn more to uncover any secrets that she somehow senses are hidden beneath the surface.

How is the present day linked with the past? What does the story of a previous inhabitant of the farmhouse have to do with the present day situation?

It appears that one person does have all the answers that Tessa is seeking. But he has secrets of his own. Can Tessa learn what she needs to learn about what happened at the farmhouse?

This is a very intelligently written novel which will be enjoyed by people who like reading good fiction. (Put it in their stocking this Christmas!)

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



Crooked


In Crooked we meet someone who believes that, at the age of 16, she is headed toward great things. As an extremely successful con artist.

Ashia "Ash" Cox looks to have it all, she's good at her chosen career as a career criminal con artist and things are going well for her, her crew and her family.

That is until Harry Holmes, something of a big wig in the world of professional criminals, comes in to touch with Ash and her family. And he ruthlessly destroys all that Ash holds dear.

But Ash is not going to take this lying down. She manages to form an alliance with another con artist by the name of Esther Crook. 

She's a legend amongst others of the fraternity, known for her ability to pull more than the wool over the eyes of unsuspecting marks.

Esther is more than willing to assist Ash because she has her own reasons to wish for harm to fall upon Harry Holmes and his cronies. 

Ultimately Esther puts together a new crew with Ash at the heart of it. However, as the con progresses they feel that they are in a pincer movement with the law on one side and other criminals on the other.

As their plan progresses toward its fruition they begin to have some misgivings and uneasy feelings. Who is masterminding the situation? Who is really pulling the con? Who can they trust?

It's a riveting, pulse-quickening story about some anti-heroes that you will come to admire and, perhaps, love.

It's written by published author and Creative Writing Degree owning Bronwen John and will make a great Christmas gift this year.

It's from Matador at £9.99.

Almost Human

 A new science fiction novel is always welcome, especially if one has a science fiction fan to buy a Christmas present for.

The new science fiction novel from author H. C. Denham, Almost Human, has been published (coincidentally) just in time for Christmas.

What would happen, what could happen, if scientists decide that they should start creating robots that are more than human? Robots that are fully rational (more so than humans) but which (who?) are smarter, better loooking and have empathy built in?

The Universal Robotics Corporation is working to use robots to green a desert area. 

UCR decides to it's time yo experiment with interactions between the robots and humans who are working on the greening project.

The male participants think that all is going well and have no problems. But an agronomist with the project, Stella Mayfield, is not so sure and she has misgivings about what is happening.

Seven years later  Stella has returned to the UK and she notices that these humanoid robots are apparently everywhere.

Her misgivings return to haunt her. What exactly were they up to? What were they capable of? Could they be trusted to interact with humans in ways that were always of benefit for the humans?

It's a well-written and very intelligent book that takes a deep look at what such a society might actually be like. Fans of Isaac Asimov's books featuring robots will really enjoy this book, too.  

It's published by Matador at £8.99.


Sunday, 13 December 2020

Holiday Shorts

 


In Holiday Shorts author Garfield Collins presents his readers with a collection of stories that are very special because they are carefully crafted to provide the maximum amount of information and entertainment in the most compact amount of words possible, but without losing any of the zest of the plots and story ideas through the medium of what is called 'flash fiction.' Another term used is bite-sized fiction.

In 130 stories readers are introduced to the story of a girl and a pearl necklace (read more about the importance of this story in his preface to his book).

Learn what happened to Carol in Coffee Pacifica, what happened when Gerry met Shelley, how Felix was introduced to the concept of Serendipity by his walkabout uncle Jim.

Find out how an article in New Scientist caused a reversal in the smooth running of the space time continuum, but in a good way.

And learn about Rocco and how he established his Fiction Factory. And how his concepts came back to really give him a very factual boot up the rear.

It's described as being perfect for the busy reader, which is true. It's also perfect for the reader who loves good, entertaining and innovative fiction.

It's well over 330 pages of great fiction and will make the perfect Christmas present for the bookwork in your life.

It is published by Matador at £8.99.

Successful Key Account Management

Are you looking for an ideal and much-welcomed Christmas gift for the business to business (b2b) sales account person in your life? Or maybe you are in b2b sales and want a little bit of self-gifting this year?

Well, look no further, because David Hughes' book Successful Key Account Management is the book that you need.

David Hughes writes with all the knowledge and experience that four decades at the very top of being a Senior Key Account Manager in b2b sales, covering chemicals and plastics in industrial sales.

If you are a new accounts manager this book will be an absolutely outstanding primer for your career; and if you are somewhat of an old hand in the field you, too, will find much that is of value within the pages of this remarkable book.

It's a very well planned book and is nicely set out so that all the information that you will require is at your fingertips.

What will you learn? Why you need customers, best practices in Key Account Management, how to cope with and manage time, what exactly sales is, health and safety and why it is not just confined to people who work in dangerous factory environments but also covers sales professionals no matter where they are working. The author also raises the important but often misunderstood issue of mental health and stress.

There's one very important lesson that he states "Nothing we do at work is worth getting hurt for."

There's also a very workable and useful ten point plan, how appraisals should be handled and when they should occur, plus how to negotiate, talking about money and much, much more.

At £14.99 this book should be in the briefcase of every sales professional in the world.

It's published by Matador at £14.99.


No Way Home


In her novel No Way Home author and teacher M S James brings us a remarkable insight on what life was like in the Saudi Arabia of the 1980s.

Kate Thomas leaves the UK with her two children to join her husband who is living and working as an architect in Saudi Arabia.

She finds a job as a teacher in a private school that is intended for expatriate Muslims. To describe the school as "organised" to any degree would have been somewhat unfair as the school was anything but organised.

She finds that her attempts at teaching are somewhat stymied by lunatic administrators and a shortage of lesson materials. As a result she finds it necessary, if she is to actually do any teaching, to use her own imagination to teach her pupils.

There are also other issues for her to contend with, such as quickly learning how to cope with living in Saudi Arabia which, for all its controls, a far more potentially dangerous place than one might suppose.

An invitation to a Saudi wedding takes her by surprise and gives Kate a new insight into the life of the real people of Saudi Arabia.

However, things go disastrously wrong when Kate and her family venture out into the desert and a vicious sandstorm suddenly strikes and whips her tiny daughter away.

A frantic search is instigated. Will they find her, or has she been taken away from her family, buried in the desert sands, or has an even worse fate befallen her? Would they find her? And if so, when and where?

It's a complex and very moving story and is based in part on the experiences of M S James when she lived in Saudi Arabia.

It's published by Matador and costs £9.99. It's going to be in many Christmas stockings this year, I think.


The Woodcarver of Krakow

In her second novel, The Woodcarver of Krakow, Rachel Clare brings to her readers the story of two brothers.

Tadeusz and Jacek Lewandowski are two brother who are bound together by a very firm bond of brotherly affection. 

Their life is disrupted when their father is away with the Polish Army and they lose their mother under tragic circumstances.

As a result they must go and live with their highly skilled woodcarver grandfather in the Tatra Mountains. Their childhood their is idyllic and they are safe and content in the knowledge that they are together and will always be their, one for another.

But that certainty and their idyllic life is brutally smashed to pieces by the arrival of the 1939 alliance of Nazi German and Soviet Union soldiers as they both march into Poland.

Tad has to abandon his studies at university and he must flee for his life across enemy occupied Europe. The passage across Europe is a perilous one, but the lessons of his brother Jacek help him to succeed. Eventually he finds himself in the Lancashire coastal town of Blackpool, where there was a large number of Poles at the Polish Air Force Training Centre, who were loyal to the cause of freeing Poland from Nazi and Soviet occupation.

He joins the Polish Air Force and helps fight against the might of the German armed forces. 

One brother would return, one would not.

This is a remarkably well-research and beautifully written novel that captures in intimate detail the harrowing and sadly true stories of so many families who gave so much and suffered so much during the war to free Poland.

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

It needs to be in the Christmas stocking of anyone who loves a good, well-written piece of historical fiction with a hint of romance.

The Forbidden Zone

In The Forbidden Zone retired mining engineer and author Jon Gliddon bring his readers a story of African diamonds, Nazi smugglers and bloody, violent revenge.

It's set at the very start of World War 2, in the August of 1939, in the diamond-rich Republic of Namibia, previously the German colony of German South West Africa.

In the build-up to the looming conflict, diamonds were in very high demand for the precision manufacture of high tech military equipment. 

The nations of Europe including Britain and Nazi Germany and America and Japan were desperate for diamonds, but due to the previous decade's Great Depression many diamond mines had closed down and diamonds as a consequence were in short supply.

Theft of diamonds and diamond smuggling became more and more prevalent and Great Britain and the Union of South Africa were working to protect their mines and smashing the Nazi smuggling rings who were attempting to supply their Nazi masters with diamonds for the Nazi war effort.

A Cornish mining engineer by the name of Harvey Tremayne is an employee of the largest diamond mining company in the world in South West Africa. He is given the job of stopping a planned attack by Nazi thieves to steal diamonds.

But Harvey has a larger and more personal goal. He seeks revenge against the person who murdered his wife. His search takes him to some extremely dangerous locations and he finds himself drawn into the ambit of the British Secret Service. For they, too, are seeking the same target as Harvey, but for entirely unrelated reasons.

Who was Sidewinder? Had he killed his wife? And what was Sidewinder? What was he hoping to achieve? Could Harvey and his colleagues defeat him and thwart his intentions?

It's a rip-roaring exciting adventure novel with more twists and turns than on Nurburgring's  Nordschleife race track. It's an ideal Christmas gift for lovers of well-written and well researched old school hard-bitten adventure yarns. So, add this to your Christmas gift list!

It's published by The Choir Press at £7.99.

Algernon Arbuthnot Arrives

 

Algernon Arbuthnot Arrives is a wonderful story for children. 

P. G. Bogle tells what happens when a suitcase is opened after their family has arrived back from a cruise on an ocean liner and Luke and Lexi meet Algernon Arbuthnot, who has arrived at their home, with them.

The remarkable thing? Algernon Arbuthnot is a small white mouse who can talk.

He reveals that he has descended from a popular Hollywood movie star, who had been on a Grand Tour of Europe.

The children convince their parents to allow  Algernon Arbuthnot to stay with them (as their pet white mouse) after an interesting first night Luke and Lexi introduce Algernon to their Aunt Rita who has a background in fashion and is able to turn her skills to creating an absolutely stunning wardrobe of clothing for his trip.

So, what on earth could go wrong? Unfortunately quite a lot. In fact, a great deal, because Algernon has the ability to bring chaos and confusion when there was none!

The family join him on the Grand Tour. Algernon boasts about the great and daring deeds of his ancestors, but are they really what happened? 

This is a fantastic present for any child of nine and above, or younger if they are an advanced reader.

It's from Matador at £6.99 and will be ideal for family reading sessions and bedtime stories.

 

Child X

 


In Child X former private investigator and gambler Mick Lee brings his readers a new novel, this time he has penned a psychological thriller.

What happens to a child who kills but who feels absolutely no remorse? Does he deserve a second chance? 

What if there is a second child who did not do anything to prevent a murder, who is offered redemption? What should happen?

The novel opens in 1999 at the cusp of the new millennium. We are introduced to Ray. Ray is a private investigator who is having something of a hard time both professionally and personally. He is addicted to gambling and his debts are dangerously out of control. Why dangerously out of control? Because Ray owes money to some very, very dangerous people who would not hesitate to use violence against him now that he has stretched their already very slim patience beyond breaking point.

However there comes a chance of redemption for Ray from a rather unlikely source. A gangster (a retired gangster, to be more precise) comes to Ray with a business proposition. If Ray will use his experience and resources to find a man, he will pay off all of his gambling debts.

I mean, what could possibly go wrong? But Ray really has no choice in the matter under his current perilous circumstances and he begins to track the man down. He discovers that the man is hiding within a cult that is pretending to be nothing more than an ordinary telemarketing outfit.

The man has employed several different identities over the years but is now enmeshed in a death that means he will become much more visible.

As Ray closes in on the subject of his investigation he finds a dark secret from the man's childhood. However, there is a eerie link to something in Ray's past. 

The story will end badly. But for whom?

It's a rapidly paced, dark novel that will be in the Christmas stockings of many fans of psychological thrillers.

It's published by Matador at £8.99.  


Gethsemane Revisited


In Gethsemane Revisited James Brophy, in his debut novel introduces us to a fairly ordinary young man, Jerome.

But Jerome is not as ordinary as he might appear at first sight. Because Jerome has a remarkable and very special gift. Jerome can travel back through time.

However, there are certain rules that affect Jerome's adventures. He will never be able to prove to anyone else what he can do, only he can remember his visits and he is unable to change history. 

Obviously his visits to the past mean that anything he does or says has already taken place in the past.

He finds that he can meet historically famous people and ask them questions that he has always desired answers to. 

However, eventually as one would expect, Jerome has a strong need to actually share his secret of being a time traveller with other people. Obviously his family should know of his wonderful gift, right?

So Jerome shares his secret with members of his own family, by telling his brother. But his family are concerned about Jerome's stories of time travelling as they are convinced that he is suffering from some sort of delusional condition.

Are they right? Or is Jerome right? Is he a genuine time traveller or someone who is suffering from a delusional mental disorder?

Jerome realises that he needs to set off one one last time travelling adventure to settle matters once and for all. Is he right? Or is his family right?

It's a stunning debut novel filled with adventures and well told at a rapid pace that keeps the attention of the reader.

The ending is truly stunning and very, very moving but I will not spoil it by letting slip what it is.

The book will make an excellent Christmas gift. It's published by Matador at £10.00.

Hopefully this novel will be the first of many from James Brophy.

Saturday, 12 December 2020

Some of Millions

 


In his book Some of Millions Jethro Bor brings together the stories of a number of people from all walks of life who have undergone mental health breakdowns and other mental health issues.

He has carefully collated and edited their stories in a sensitive and constructive fashion. The book also has a forward by Patrick Cockburn.

Jethro is no stranger to the problems brought about by problems with mental health, having suffered with the impact of mental illness for many years himself, he wanted to shine a powerful but friendly light upon the impact of mental health issues on sufferers and their families. It's a sobering fact that at least one in four of us will have to cope with a mental health problem in their lives.

We read of the problems faced by journalist Patrick Cockburn when his art student son became mentally ill when Patrick was reporting on the war in Afghanistan. 

There is the story of Charlotte, who was shocked to be diagnosed as having bipolar disease, because as she points out, she had always considered herself a level-headed person.

We read of the first panic attack suffered by Rebecca in her twenties. The rages she had felt after her parents had divorced when she was seven were to have serious consequences in her adult life.

There's Edward, who had been diagnosed as having paranoid schizophrenia in 1990. He began talking back to the voices he was hearing, a bad thing to do, he would be told, later.

There's Pic, who became depressed at age eight or thereabouts, who began cutting herself as she became older, something she kept secret until she became married.

There's also cases where the mental illness of others can impact upon family members or close friends. For example Andrew's father committed suicide when Jim was 17, although nobody was quite certain why he had done it. Andrew was stoical about it for the sake of his mother, but later on he became depressed and attempted to take his own life.

The book contains highly relevant and helpful advice from Jim,  who offers sage and helpful advice.

There are some beautiful illustrations throughout the book by people who have been through the mill of life. as it were. 

This book is important as it enables the reader to have a glimpse into the lives of people who suffer from a wide range of mental health issues.

It will make a perfect gift for someone who has mental health issues or for every nurse and doctor in the land, so it deserves to be in Christmas stockings up and down the land. I think mental health professionals might like to order multiple copies for their practices.

It's published by The Book Guild at £9.99.

Monday, 7 December 2020

Perfectly Imperfect Mum

 


Perfectly Imperfect Mum
 is a new book from mum and author Sheena Tanna-Shah.

It's sub-titled: A Fun and Inspirational Guide for Busy Mums to Staying Mindful and Thriving Amidst the Chaos.

And that's exactly what this jolly and very helpful book is.

As well as being a mother, Sheena is ideally qualified to provide fellow mums (and future mums, too) with her mixture of wise and thoughtful advice because she has a wide variety of expertise. Her skillsets range from being an optometrist, an NLP practitioner, a rapid transformation therapist, a life coach, and a practitioner of mindfulness and meditation. If that wasn't enough, she's also a nutritionist who specialises in vegan nutrition.

So, what will mums (and dads!) learn from this book?

How you can feel calmer in even the most stressful of days, how to help you actually enjoy being a mother, but more importantly stuff you can do to help you get back on track when you are beginning to think that things are getting a bit much for you.

You'll learn coping skills, different ways to deal with difficult situations, how you need to master your thoughts and not let your thoughts master you.

Find out what foods help boost serotonin and dopamine levels in your body (both good for helping you boost your mental health) and other nutritional hints and tips for you and your family.

Learn how not to wave goodbye to your own identity, find out about yoga and other exercises, how to keep in touch with your social circle and how to be a great mum to your children, whilst still  being everything else you want to be.

It's nicely illustrated with fun line drawings.

It's published by The Book Guild at £9.99 and deserves to be in the stocking of every mum, mum to be and grandparents this Christmas.

The Mathematical Murder of Innocence

 


The Mathematical Murder of Innocence
is a new courtroom drama, more chilling as it is based on a real miscarriage of justice.

Michael Carter brings us a harrowing case of a mother who, after losing two children to cot deaths, becomes wrongly accused of murdering her infants.

The court case becomes electrified when the judge invites a juror to cross-examine an expert witness, a professor who claims that the chances of a cot death is extremely rare, standing at only one in seventy-two million.

But was that the truth? Was the professor as "expert" as he claimed? Or was it the case that the professor was claiming expert knowledge that was well beyond his purview?

Was it that his knowledge of statistics so badly lacking that he risked accusing an innocent woman of committing murders that were not murders at all?

One field of expertise possessed by the author Michael Carter is that of statistical analysis. He immediately realised that the claim expressed by the expert witness in the trial was, as Michael Carter, opined: "The assassination of statistics."

He began to wonder what would have happened had he been on the jury and able to cross examine the "expert" witness?"

The result is a compelling story that, sadly, is based on a genuine case and a very real blunder that condemned an innocent woman to a living hell.

This book is of interest to more than (like your reviewer) lovers of mystery and "crime" novels. It should be read by every judge, magistrate, solicitor, barrister and legal executive in the country as it shows that sometimes what you are told in a court case might not, by accident, be the truth or correct. And as a result, it should be a Christmas gift for the law person in your life.

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

Saturday, 28 November 2020

An Extraordinary Charge Against a Clergyman


 An Extraordinary Charge Against a Clergyman
is an excellent account of the fascinating and perhaps bewildering life of the clergyman the Reverend  Edward Muckleston MA by Janet Mackleston.

I was already aware of the Reverend Edward Muckleston and his unusual life so I was intrigued to read this biography of his life.

We learn that he was a self-centred and rather selfish man who behaved in ways that seem, even to modern eyes, to have been antipathetic to his calling and vocation as a priest in the Church of England. 

For example, how was he able to square with his calling and his own conscience the extraordinary fact that he declined to pay his washerwoman, was an inveterate dodger of fares on the railways or that he had deliberately and maliciously damaged the trees owned by a neighbour?

Edward was born into a family of well to do Shropshire landowners. But he managed to lose all of it, resulting in terrible suffering for his own family. Due to his rather unfortunate ways (to put it mildly) he was forced to resign from the parish in Shropshire and he was able to find a position in a smaller parish in the county of Warwickshire.

Despite the fact that he was the parish priest there for nearly 50 years (48 to be exact) he was forced to attend court many times to defend the validity of his appointment to that parish. In fact he died whilst serving as the priest there.

Janet Mackleston (who has a family connection to this story) is a member of the Shropshire Family History Society and was able to piece together his rather extraordinary life using stories from contemporary newspapers and local history archives.

She was surprised about what she found and is able to share this with her readers who will be as intrigued as I was.

This book is another of my picks for an ideal Christmas gift.

It's published by The Book Guild at £9.99.


The Story of Warrington


 In his new book The Story of Warrington Bill Cooke takes his readers on an exploration of the town referred to as "The Athens of the North."

Does Warrington warrant such a description? If you read his book, you will learn a great deal about Warrington. 

The RSA claimed in 2015 that Warrington was "the least culturally alive town in England." Was this a fair claim? A valid evaluation? 

It was the RSA's claim that helped encourage historian and philosopher Bill Cooke, a relative newcomer to  the town of Warrington to make a study of Warrington and to find out what he could learn and also share with the world.

Who was it who declared Warrington to be "The Athens of the North?" Why had they formed this conclusion?

What about the history of Warrington? It's architecture? What of the role of Warrington in helping to being a peaceful culmination to the Cold War? What links did it have to the slave trade and to the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution?

Written by an academic with a rare gift for writing in as fluid and lucid style, readers will be able to judge for themselves if the RSA had any valid points as Bill Cooke takes his readers through the past and present of Warrington.

Bill Cooke lectures in philosophy and religious studies at Warrington's Priestley College. He's also president of the Warrington Literary and Philosophical Society, and is the convenor of the Warrington Chapter of the Philosophy in Pubs organisation. 

He has published six books in the UK, New Zealand and the USA.

It's published by Matador at £20.00 and will make a neat Christmas gift for people who love Warrington, history and who like to see the truth behind stories in popular culture.


Flowers of Languedoc


In  Flowers of Languedoc Philip Devalle, the half French and half Englishman returns in a new novel form Judith Thomson.

It's the ultimate decade in the tumultuous 17th Century and it is a period of constant battles between the King of England, William and the Sun King of France, Louis XIV.

The situation is especially troubling for Philip Devalle, as it stretches his twin loyalties even further than previously, as his two nations are in mortal combat.

He finds himself wearing of politics and war so he fashions a new plan which he hopes will free him of both.

But the life of Philp Devalle is never easy or simple and there are his enemies who want to see that whatever aspirations, plans or ambitions he has should comer to nought.

His latest arena for his operations are the mountains and sun-kissed slopes of Languedoc. He finds new enemies who wish him harm as he becomes embroiled in the desperate plight of the Huguenots and, of course, there is the struggle for ultimate power of the two Kings to contend with.

However, Philip is a resourceful, brave and clever man who has many loyal friends who will help him to work to secure his inheritance and that of the future of his family. But in the uncertain times can he succeed?

It's published by Matador at £9.99 and is a must buy Christmas present for lovers of historical novels and the works of Judith Thomson.

 

The Golden Calves of Jeroboam

 


The Golden Calves of Jeroboam
is another collection of meditations and religious writings and essays from Adrian Leak.

He has an easy style of writing which is known for being witty and to the point. 

Adrian Leak is a retired Anglican priest who now works as a freelance author and writer and in this work he has brought together an eclectic combination of some refreshingly brief and well-crafted pastoral sermons and religious meditations.

He has also included a collection of vivid word portraits of a rich collection of figures from history. Some whom you will probably already be aware of, some whom you could be meeting with for the first time.

This book will make an ideal Chirstmas gift for the religious scholar in your life.

It's published by The Book Guild at £13.00. 

You can purchase this book (his third work) at the Church Bookshop, Waterstone’s, Blackwell’s, Foyles or Amazon. Price £13.99.

Adrian Leak also has a website (from which the above image is from) at https://adrianleak.co.uk/the-golden-calves-of-jeroboam/

Thursday, 26 November 2020

Are We Doing the Stelvio Today?

 
Are We Doing The Stelvio Today?
is a very compelling account written by biker, blogger and adventurer Martin Smith.

Readers will join Martin on an exhilarating journey through the Alps of France, Switzerland and Italy by motorbike.

Cheadle, Cheshire-based Martin spent his formative years on the rear of his dad's bikes. Eventually he went on to own his own motorbikes, but at some point bikes lost out to cars and he bought his first four wheeled vehicle.

Later on he decided to put right the error of not getting his full motorbike licence and sorted this out in 1991, but it wasn't until several years later that he got around to buying another motorbike.

Several years? Well, 22 years later to be exact, when he decided with grown up children and a highly successful career as an IT consultant, that it was time to take up biking, again. First was a Kawasaki ZX636, which, a year later, was replaced with a BMW S1000RR.

His bike rides gradually became longer, weekend day trips grew into weeks as far afield as the Highlands of Scotland and Martin decided that change was required once again. This time? Sports riding was to be replaced with the life of an adventure bike rider and the BWM was replaced with an R1200GS Triple Black. 

On this bike Martin has seen much of the British Isles and sometimes much further afield.

Martin has blogged about his adventures, helpfully outlining his routes for the assistance of other bikers. Having found his writing wings he progressed to writing articles in specialist magazines. And out of this came his first book. 

Owners of this book will be able to make use of Martin's abilities to create workable and practicable itineraries. They'll also have a damn good read, too as he has a very good, readable style. 

It's £9.99 from The Book Guild and with Lockdown issues currently getting in the way of Christmas present hunting, it's a great stocking filler for the biker in your life. Or it'll make a perfect self present!

Sunday, 15 November 2020

The Notorious Third Lord Lucan: An Embattled Life

 In his book The Notorious Third Lord Lucan: An Embattled Life scientist, author and biographer Tom Blaney provides an interesting look on the life of the Third Lord Lucan.

Who was the Third Lord Lucan? And why was he considered to be "notorious"? And why might his life have been viewed as "embattled"?

Blaney's interest in the Third Lord Lucan when he lived in an apartment within Laleham house, which had been the home of the Third Lord Lucan.

Blaney alludes to the more recently famous seventh Lord Lucan, a troubled professional gambler who, after being implicated in the murder of the family nanny and the severe injuries to his wife vanished, never to be seen again.

However the third Lord Lucan is the subject of this book and in a number of ways including his involvement in the Crimean War as an officer, including the disastrous Charge of the Light Brigade.

Blaney acknowledges a previous book published in 1953 The Reason Why by Cecil Woodham-Smith. Woodham-Smith points to certain character flaws within the makeup of the third Lord Lucan. In her book she brings attention to the fact that Lord Lucan had a very bad reputation as an absentee landlord in Ireland. With arguably good reason he was known as "the Great Exterminator" due to his actions and inactions as a landowner. He also had a reputation as being an army officer of a less than glorious reputation, especially during the Crimean War.

Lord Lucan's reputation was traduced by the book written by Woodham-Smith and in the 1968 film The Charge of the Light Brigade (based on that book) but was he really as bad as he was portrayed? Detailed and extensive research undertaken by Blaney indicates that the truth is somewhat different to that previous portrayed by Lord Lucan's detractors. 

He has worked hard to provide a more balanced and less hysterical view of the third Lord Lucan. He has drawn a more full and far more accurate picture of Lord Lucan. Yes, as with everyone of us humans, he had flaws but he was not, as Blaney proves admirably, not the monstrous caricature foisted on the public by those who should have known better in your reviewer's opinion.

The book is illustrated with contemporary images and will be much admired by those with a love for history and high quality research.

It is published by Matador in hardback at £20. 

Saturday, 10 October 2020

Luck

What would you do if you had the uncanny gift to influence other people? To get them to do your bidding, without them even realising what was happening to them? Or why they were doing what they were doing?

This was the situation facing Daniel in the new thriller from Californian-born author and scriptwriter Chris Coppel, Luck.

Daniel learns that his strange power can be used for good or for ill. As his ability grows in strength, so does Daniel's desire for acceptance and power.

How can Daniel achieve his ambitions? He eventually realises that the best vehicle for his ambitions would be the political stage of the United States of America. 

Once he moves into the murky world of politics he soon realises that he no longer needs to concern himself with influencing the few. Now he can begin to unleash his power to influence others to control the minds of the mass population.

However, can he do this without it having any determinantal impact on his own psyche? Is it a gift or is it a curse?

The story begins before Daniel's birth, with the apparent death by suicide of his parents. Why did they do it? Why did they smile at each other at the moment of their deaths? Had they had a premonition? Had a force beyond them dominated their lives to the point of ending them?

This novel is a thrilling and chilling account of what happens when power does not corrupt but utterly destroys. The author uses his skills and experiences with scriptwriting to bring the big screen onto the printed page.

Read this novel and you'll be thinking about it for a very long time.

It's published by Matador at £9.99.


Friday, 18 September 2020

Red / Black


 Red / Black
is a debut novel from new author Rachel Atherton-Charvat.

It tells the story of Sarah Hughes. Sarah is a dedicated wife and mother. She loves her husband, she loves her children. But she has another, secret, passion. She is a closet gambler.

Although Sarah's life looks to be idyllic, settled to a nice, comfortable life in leafy Cheltenham with her husband of 20 plus year and her children. But there are secret issues that impacting on Sarah, she has never recovered from the loss of a child killed during a car accident when Sarah was driving the car.

The trauma is revisited upon her when her husband decides to accept a job at a British military base in Germany.

When the family has moved to Germany she finds that her depressive illness has returned. She feels isolated and the problems of the military life worsens her problems and she takes up online gambling, in secret. After all, what harm could it do?

However, as her gambling escalates to a level where it might become a problem for Sarah in more ways than one, she starts to realise that there are problems within her marriage that she had either not noticed or which had been hidden from her. 

Is her husband all that he appeared to be? Can Sarah save herself from her gambling addiction? And what other disasters will impact on her life before the end of this epic tale?

It's a finely crafted novel which examines mental health issues in an intelligent and thoughtful way, yet without losing sight of the compelling interwoven stories.

It's published by Matador at £9.99.

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

The Unfinished Painting

The Unfinished Painting is a novel from Mercedes Aguirrel. It begins in the era of Victorian England, when a young artist called Alexander Knight is found dead in unusual and violent circumstances.

The story then moves to the present day when Anna Carter, a student of art history who is studying at Cambridge University, finds herself having recurring dreams which link her to events that took place long ago and with an unfinished painting.

How is the past linked with the present day? How can she be linked to the aggressive and bewildered  young man called Lucas who is also troubled by recurring dreams, which also draw him to the museum and its art gallery?

But what about Julian? How was he connected to this series of strange events?

And how would resolution come to them all?

It's a moving and compelling novel which is translated from the Spanish by Richard Buxton.

I hope this is the first of many books from the author.

It is published by The Book Guild at £8.99.


Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Poetic Justice: Fame

In Poetic Justice: Fame readers once again meet with the ultimate anti-hero, Fran Ray's Randal Forbes.

Forbes believes that his telepathic powers are a gift. In fact he refers to it as "the gift."

But could it all be going wrong? Everything seems fine. After all he has achieved fame as a business entrepreneur and writer.

But the cost to other people has been horrendous, leaving murder victims and shattered lives in his wake.

The police are suspicious of him, but what can they prove?

His relationship with his loyal companion and devoted partner and protector Clive Hargreaves is as strong as ever and there is Forbes' wife to be, Alison Whitaker. Of course, Alinion is blissfully unaware of her fiance's gift. As is everyone else, of course. Or are they?

Because what if there was someone else with a dark power that equalled that of Forbes? Could they be able to stage a challenge to him? But why would they?

And if they did, who could possibly win such a monumental physic battle?

But can Forbes murder and trick his way to victory, again?

This is a gripping and utterly chilling continuation of the Randal Forbes story.

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

Straw Hat

Straw Hat is the second novel from the pen of Sussex-based author John David Harris. You may have already read his novel Beyond the Castle Arch.

The novel tells the story of John and Susan Grant, a married couple who are comfortable in their middle years. Having had to leave their ill daughter at the children's war of St Richard's Hospital, Chichester, they make a decision to visit a local auction room, where they both fall in love with a painting and successfully bid on it.

The painting depicts a young boy who is fishing on the River Arun which is local to the city.

But there was something that they couldn't have known. A link with a dreadful event that occurred many, many decades previously.

When they take the picture back to their farmhouse it becomes increasingly obvious to them that something is dreadfully, horribly wrong.

That their apparently beautiful picture is serving as a portal to past problems and misfortunes that are somehow dragging their .lives into a hellish nightmare.

The story also deals with the concept of a strong and burning unrequited love and how people deal with this type of situation.

It's a moving and poignant story which is very well told and gripping in its own way.

It's published by Matador at £9.99.

Monday, 14 September 2020

The Island of Animaux

Why don't you come down to the Island of Animaux? Because it's a very interesting and weird place.

Milo McGivern shows us an island that is populated by animals who can talk. Most of the animals there have no idea about the world outside their magical island.

Why has t never been found? Because it has the ability to move its location on the Earth on a daily6 basis.

Milo explores the island by way of a series of connected tales set on the island, concerning its amazing inhabitants.

There's Aubrey (who is a turkey) who has the idea to open a zoo. Does that take off? You'll find out when you read the charming stories and enjoy the illustrations by Yulia Somina.

What happens when they meet a vampire? What does Clifford the Platypus get up to?

It's a great book for children and the adults in their lives will enjoy sharing this book.

It's published by Matador at £6.99.

Monday, 7 September 2020

Ordinary Miracles

In Ordinary Miracles, a novel from Martyn Carey, we learn that even wizards need training.

Trainee Wizard Mike Frost has his magical powers suddenly and unexpectedly increased whilst he is at London's Paddington Station where a train has mysteriously crashed fatally, apparently caused by Mike's powers.

As a result he is dispatched to a special training centre in York so that he will be able to control them.

But who or what had used Mike to cause the train to crash? And was Mike correct in his belief that whoever or whatever had been responsible for causing the crash had trailed him to the training centre?

Following another fatal accident, Mike and his friends must work out what is really happening and find out who is behind the deadly incidents and to put a stop to them before they have the opportunity to kill again.

Can they succeed? Will the killings be brought to a stop? Can Mike control the powers behind the killing?

It's a stunning and powerful story very well told by an undoubted master of his craft. It grabs the read from the first paragraph right to the last. I will look out for the name of Martyn Carey in the future.

It's published by Matador at £9.99.


Fatal Revenge

The latest James L. Williams novel, Fatal Revenge, begins with the delivery of a package by a fake delivery man, with a limp.

Sergeant Vic Holland and Natalie, his wife and their two young children are now living a wonderful family life in Canada. And more children are on the way.

Now Vic works for the RCMP and becomes concerned and surprised when his father-in-law, Frank Jardine, a retired RCMP inspector, is able to shred light on a series of as yet unsolved crimes that are linked to England.

Vic goes back to his former beat to obtain the evidence required to solve the cases. But he also uncovers something far more shocking and potentially deadly. For there is a plot to mete revenge out on a number of people, including his own family back home in Canada's Pine Creek Falls.

But who is behind these attacks? And what is the apparent link between the attacks and Vic himself?

Vic must hurry back to Canada to save the lives of his beloved family and his own life, too.

Why was Frank attacked by a bear? And why was Vic's own father killed years previously?

And why was Vic shadowed by a mysterious limping woman on the flight back to Canada?

Would Vic even make it back alive?

It's an exciting and vibrant read of a crime thriller.

It's published by The Book Guild at £8.99

The White Phoenix

The White Phoenix is a debut historical novel from the pen of Catherine Randall.

It's 1666 in London. Lizzie Hopper is 13 and after the unexpected death of her father, Lizzie, along with her mother, must take over the management of the family's bookshop, The eponymous White Phoenix.

The bookshop is overshadowed by the imposing medieval St Paul's Cathedral.

But England is living through troubled and troubling times. The country is at war with France, threatening prophecies are being uttered and spread around and there is talk of an invasion by the French and there are reports of plague.

Against this backdrop and riots and the threat of blackmail, Lizzie must try to fight to keep the family bookshop open.

But then came the catastrophic Great Fire of London. Can she help save the bookshop and its stock of books? But there's a secret that Lizzie was keeping, a friendship she should not have had. Can she save the shop and her friend?

The story brings the London of 166 alive, with the prejudices and problems of the people of London.

It's a great historical novel ans hopefully the first of many novels from Catherine Randall.

It's published by The Book Guild at £7.99.

A World of Trouble - Fateful Decisions

A World of Trouble - Fateful Decisions is a debut from a new novelist, Jacky Renouf.

It tells the story of three women, Marion, Stella and Rachel and what happens when Marion and Rachel find themselves trapped behind enemy lines when the Germans invade the Chanel Isles.

The occupying German military forces are a ruthless invader who force the islanders who could not or would not participate in the evacuation by the British military.

Along with the other civilians on the islands Marion and Rachel lack basic supplies as the German occupiers become more and more draconian and more ruthless.

But what can they do, what will they do in order to survive? Stella is in England but she is separated from her friends and family and has to struggle on alone trying to work her way through a life that is very different to what she was expecting.

But can romance blossom in even the most unlikely places?

It's an interesting novel told through the stories of the three friends and letters sent between them.

It's published by Matador at £9.99


Friday, 28 August 2020

The Journals of a Victorian Traveller

In 1942 a house in Canterbury, Kent, fell victim to one of the infamous Baedeker Raids, during which the Luftwaffe used the travel guidebooks of Karl Baedeker to target historic British towns such as Bath, Exeter, Norwich, York and Canterbury.

This house, however, was different from the other houses bombed during these raids. For in the ruins of the house were discovered the  travel journals of Julia Errington Biddulph which were removed to a place of safety.

The travel journals in The Journals of a Victorian Traveller tell the stories of the travels of Julia during the latter decades of the 19th century.

Prepared and retold by Martin Laurie this book is a stirring and romantic story of the world of the latter part of the 19th century.

Her first journey to India took seven weeks. But by the latter part of the period covered (30 years later) the same journey took just under 14 days.

She met royalty, generals and other notable person and they suffer the vicissitudes of weather by turns monstrously hot or monstrously cold.

She married Colonel John Bidulph in April 1882. He was, we learn, the author of a number of books some on military matters, although he also wrote on other topics. He was also a naturalist and sent specimens to the British Museum.

Laurie points out that, over time, Julia's journals show that she matured from a rather timid girl at the time of her fist visit to India into a mature and confident woman.

The book is well-illustrated with photographs from the family album and I feel it is a must read book for those interested in history and/or 19th century travelogues. 

It is published by The Book Guild at £9.99 in paperback.



Wednesday, 17 June 2020

A Life of Power and Persuasion

A Life of Power and Persuasion is the autobiography of Keith A. Elliot MBE.

In his book Mr Elliot shares with his readers the details of his long and extensive career as a police officer.

He reveals how he came from a working class background and then moved into and upwards as a career police officer.

Her served as an officer in the West End of London and was able to meet many influential and wealthy persons during his service, for which he was granted the honour of the MBE.

Upon leaving the police he looked around for a new role in life and he launched a business offering a consultancy service to the film industry working on in excess of 75 films. These include the Harry Potter series a V for Vendetta.

He was able to use his considerable personal charm, and persuasive nature to make certain that directors and assistant directors and varied film crews stuck to the agreements that he had negotiated with the authorises in London and other parts of the UK.

It's an interesting and thought provoking book as much of what he writes about policing is still fresh and relevant today.

The only minor quibble I have is that there are no photographs, not even an image of the author, which is a pity.

It's published by Matador at £18.00 in hardback.

When the World Falls Down

When the World Falls Down readers meet Bethany Hannah Morgan. Grief has come into her life as her best and sole friend in her life, has died.

But her grief is lessened, a little bit, when she finds that a simple cupboard door takes her to a new and mysterious world called Edimor. In Edimor she meets a bewildering array of characters, scary monsters, space travel, pirates, wizards and a great deal of mystery.

She soon makes friends with Grollp who is a troll pirate. He owns a locket that is capable of controlling great power.

However, all is not well with Edimor, it appears to be under threat from a mystery child and the carer who is with it.. But who or what are they? What are their intentions toward Edimor and its inhabitants?

It is Grollp's aim to employ the locket to save his world. Unwilling to return to her own pain-filled world, Bethany joins the fight filled with determined to help protect and save Edimor.

Can she succeed? Will she? And at what cost?

This is a fantastic, gripping and thrilling adventure book for children aged 12 and upward, including their parents and grandparents. 

Somewhere in Europe

Somewhere In Europe is a new humour-filled novel from author P J Vanston

Kevin Crump liked his job at the Foreign Office, but sadly the Foreign Office didn't like him. Well, not enough to keep him and his job is lost due to a process that is now called 'rationalisation.'

We first saw Crump a decade ago in Crump, and now, after regretfully leaving the Foreign Office Kevin Crump finds himself with a teaching post in Cambrian University, based in South Wales.

The years have not been kind to Cambrian University though it's been declared "most improved" so there is that.

The culture at Cambrian University is a culture shock to Crump. He finds it a victim of Political Correctness 2, free speech is unheard of and unheard, no-platforming is a way of life, underhanded anti-Semitism is rife, gewnder politics holds saw, all classic books aren't merely prefaced with trigger warnings, they are banned. Positive discrimination and 'diversity' is to the fore and amidst all this, Brexit rolls along.

Cambrian University has a trick up its sleeve. It has found, or so it is claimed, a document that dates back to the foundation of the university and which, with the appropriate royal approval, means that it is able to declare freedom and independence from the United Kingdom and to declare continued fielty to the European Unuion.

Most of the staff and students are absolutely delighted by this bizarre turn of events. But things in the weird way of life at Cambrian University are not quite as straightforward as they might at first sight appear.

So, what is Kevin Crump to do? Will he go with the considerable flow or throw some spanners in the works? 

What with berserk South Sea Islanders, the data stick with all the compromising evidence, a dead person apparently responsible for its onward dissemination, armed students and songs by The Beatles, what on earth could possibly go wrong or right?

It's a very well-crafted and well-written book. Anyone who has worked or studied at a university in Britain over the past decade will recognise some of the issues, the staff and students in this novel.

It's published by Matador at £10.99 

Sunday, 14 June 2020

Beneath the Blood Moon

Beneath the Blood Moon is a debut thriller novel from Darren Will.

The marriage of Dominic and Laura have had problems within their marriage, but they are both working to rebuild it.

But to Dominic's shock and bewilderment, Laura vanishes and he is left to try and pick up the pieces and try to come to terms with what happened and to try to understand why she went.

But after several months, Laura returns and Dominic should be very pleased by this turn of events. But is he? Should he be? Because he begins to realise that all is not right. Yes, Laura has returned, but she is different, somehow. Changed. And not for the better.

As time went on, things become even stranger and the behaviour Laura displays is growing even stranger, more bizarre, in fact.

Clearly this causes stress and tension between the two of them and Dominic begins to wonder just who, or what, Laura really is.

Danger is lurking, death is on the way. But for whom? And how does this relate back to the events of 35 years ago when a woman sold her baby?

Eventually, Dominic is arrested for murder and the police cannot believe the story he is telling them. Well, it's too fantastic to believe. Isn't it?

It's an extremely well crafted novel with many twists and turns to keep you guessing throughout the book.

Darren Wills is a name to watch out for.

The book is published by Matador at £8.99.

Glory is Bought With Blood

Glory is Bought With Blood is a new novel from published author N. L. Collier.

It is the summer of the year 1917. The air war over the Western Front has become ever more deadly. Despite earlier successes against allied forces, Great Britain, France, the USA and the British Empire forces, the might of Imperial Germany is being brought to its knees as Germany is becoming surrounded by its enemies.

The blockade is causing shortages and resources needed to prosecute the war are in short supply. The German commanders realise one important fact. Either they must take decisive action and win the war, or lose everything in a catastrophic defeat.

Franze, Karl and his brother Johnny and the other brave members of their squadron are now not only fighting for Germany, they are fighting for their lives against a growing array of faster, newer and better Allied fighter planes.

The planes of the squadron are kept going by the mechanics, but they are becoming increasingly unreliable and the continuing lavk of parachutes fills them with fear.

Green pilots fresh from the flying schools are lasting, at best, for a few weeks, before being shot down and killed.

The top aces can be sure of earning the highly coveted Blue Max. But at what cost in the lives of their fellow fliers?

The war has been going on for three years for Karl and Franz, will they survive when so many of their companions have died?

It's an emotional continuation of the series which covers the airwar of The Great War from a different perspective, that of the German pilots who fought bravely for their country.

It's published by Matador at £9.99.

Friday, 29 May 2020

Naomi Rose

In Naomi Rose, we meet Naomi Rose. She is ten and an already dedicated and avid reader.

Her mother is dead and she finds it a struggle to grieve whilst attempting to follow the guidance of her father that she must be composed and be self-restrained.

However, her father's way of coping with his grief is to climb into a bottle of alcohol and so Naomi feels abandoned and locked out by the one person in her life who should, by rights, be there to offer her their love and support.

As a result she decides to seek solace and attention outside the home and she finds happiness devising very tall tales that shock her school friends. In fact it seems to be the shock factor that she relishes?

Naomi is befriended bu Ozzy a boy of Turkish origin. He is confidant and charming and in Ozzy, she feels, she has found a person she can trust.

But Ozzy embarks on a relationship with Molly, a girl Naomi hates, so once again she feels bereft and alone.

A young English teacher, Mr Adams, recognises her creative talents and nurtures her writing abilities. Unfortunately Mr Adams is a naive young man and cannot see that Naomi's obsession with him is potentially very dangerous indeed 

Naomi has a plan. A plan that will rekindle her father's attention and also punish Mr Adams for rejecting her.

But what exactly happens when she realises that people actually do care for her? And what happens to Mr Adams, Naomi, her father and her friends?

This is a highly charged novel from Kisten Esden and writer who, I feel, we will hear more from in the future.

It is published by Matador at £9.99.



IVF Got This

IVF Got This is a compelling memoir from Colette Centeno Fox. It describes her journey to motherhood.

However, it was not so simple and straightforward as it often is. Because It describes the fertility issues that face her and husband Michael, as the struggled with the problems that infertility can brjng to a couple.

The book is an honest and moving account of the problems that they faced together. The losses of babies and the trauma that resulted, set backs and waiting times, the treatments that she had to go through.

It touches on matters of her personal faith and how she employed this to help her cope, how badly people with depression are treated, it's often, as she points out, mistaken as a sign of weakness, rather than something to be treated.

If you are looking to get IVF, then this book is a must buy. And if you are working in the field of IVF this book is al must buy, in fact, for you it is a must read as it will help you to understand your patients and what they might be going through.

How does the story of Mike and Colette end? Oh, come on! That'd spoil the surprise that Colette had!

It's a wonderful book, it's published by The Book Guild at £8.99.

Guess What I Found In The Playground!

Guess What I Found in The Playground! is a wonderful new book for children (and the adults in their lives) by first time children's author Victoria Thompson.

It's aimed at children from ages five to seven and it tells the story of what Tilly found in the playground.

But merely telling her dad what she had found in the playground would totally spoil her fun. She wants to make her poor old dad guess what she found, instead. But can he beat Tilly at her own game? Can he outfox his own daughter and guess what she found?

Did she find something to collect?

Did she find some food that had been leftover?

Her missing welly... which wasn't, actually missing in the first place?

A book?

A frog?

Can her brother help their daddy guess?

Well... can he?

This is an absolutely fantastic book with wonderful and very vibrant, impactful and colourful illustrations which children and adults will enjoy reading and looking at for a very long time indeed.

It's published by Matador at £9.99 and is in a very good large format, so is easy to share.

The Long Way to Get to Me

The Long Way to Get to Me is a coming of age novel from author Marc Lindon.

It's about Kevin. Kevin is young and he works in a betting shop. Like most young men, Kevin thinks about sex. But in that idealised way that the inexperienced young man does this.

The reality of sex doesn't seem quite so alluring. Well, at least until Laura comes into his life.

Could fantasy and reality coalesce into something that is not just magical but real?

However, there are problems that must be addressed. Vandalism and anti-social behaviour are becoming a very real nuisance in the area.

But the police don't seem to be interested in the slightest. And if the police will not address these issues. who will? Someone must! And I'm sure you will see where these ideas might lead?

This is where David comers onto the scene. David is a police officer. Actually, that's not true. David wanted, longed, to become a police officer but that wasn't possible for several reasons. But he is given a role working with the police, even though the officers don't take him seriously and subject him to derision and resentment.

But unlike his police colleagues, David is convinced that there is a dangerous gang of vigilantes operating in the local area. David is convinced that he can solve the case and prove that everyone has been wrong about him all along!

I mean, what on earth could possibly go wrong?

It's a well-crafted debut novel with angst, humour, danger, drama thrills, spills and love, too.

It's published by Matador at £8.99.

Robby: Will to Live

Robby: Will to Live is a book authored by Hugh Franks,

It tells the story of Robby and his fight against the disease Muscular Dystrophy, for which there is, as yet, no cure.

At the age of six Robby was diagnosed with the condition and it relates how he bravely faced the problems this brought to his life.

Unfortunately his birth father was unable to cope. His heavy drinking and his constant berating and beatings of Robby caused many problems and Robby's mother threatened to leave him. But she didn't, hoping that he would change. But he never did.

However, onto the scene came a former school friend of her husband, Hugh Franks. His own post-war marriage had recently ended in divorce.

Robby's father virtually abandoned his family, spending more and more time involved with his business interests in Europe. So it was natural that Robby's mother would turn to Hugh for support when Robby was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy.

The situation was worsened when Robby's father denied that he could shave any responsibility for Robby's health problems and blamed Robby's mother, Judith. He also, cruelly, refused to return to England and said that Robby must take it on the chin. At only six years of age.

The problems with the MD had, actually, been observable for some time and the only answer that Robby's father had was to severely beat the boy for accidentally smearing a small amount on jam on the banister.

Eventually Hugh and Judith fell in love, Judith divorced her husband and the story really begins in earnest.

It's a story of tragedies and of triumphs and of football games played between Robby and Hugh. Of medical assistance for a disease for which there is still no cure. And the loving bond between Juditch, Robby and Hugh.

It's a heartwarming book of love, humour and of resilience in the face of terrible odds.

The book has a forward by Sir Richard Attenborough, CBE.

It is published by Matador at £8.99. I recommend this book to any family which has a MD person as a member or a friend and also to any MD, nurse or hospital consultant or health worker who may come into contact with a person who has MD, because this book will be of immense value to you.

Sunday, 17 May 2020

After Exta Time and Penalties

After Extra Time and Penalties is the biographical memories of BBC football corespondent Mike Ingham MBE.

He was Chief Football Corespondent at the BBC for a quarter of a century and only the third person to hold this illustrious position following Brian Moore and Bryon Butler.

During his working life as a football corespondent he attended eight World Cups, gave commentaries on 28 FA Cup Finals, worked with ten different full time England managers and also introduced Sports Report.

His autobiography is an honest account of what he saw and participated in as football and football coverage changed beyond all recognition throughout his long career, as a professional onlooker and observer.

Learn why he had to drive home one night, naked from the waist down (it really wasn't his fault) find out which players he rated, which he didn't rate and players who he rated yet who, for reasons he still can't figure out, were really not given the opportunities he felt they deserved.

It's well illustrated with a nice selection of photographs and this book is absolutely perfect for any football fan, no matter what team they support.

It's published by The Book Guild at £12.99.   

Far, Far the Mountain Peak Book Three

Far, Far the Mountain Peak Book Three is the latest in this series of novels from Arthur Clifford.

When we next meet up with the protagonist, John Denby, he will soon enrol at Stirling Academy, a very prestigious seat of learning.

We have followed him through his troubled childhood, seen him struggle with his sexual identity as he suffered the education of an 'experimental' comprehensive school in a dire council estate, dealing as best he could with deliquescent and criminal pupils.

At 16 excellent exam results are propelling him toward greater and better things at Stirling Academy.

Can he make good on his academic potential? Will his homosexuality which he previously tried to hide with a succession of girl friends, really mark him out as different? Cause him any more anxious moments?

Only time will tell as we follow John on his journey through his young life.

It's another captivating read from Arthur Cliffoird, published by The Book Guild at £9.99 



One, Two, Three, Four

One, Two, Three, Four is a biographical book by legendary studio recording engineer, Brummie Richard 'Digby' Smith.

It's January 1st, 1970. Back in the day, people in England did not get January 1st as a Bank Holiday, so that morning saw Richard 'Digby' Smith, at 19 years of age, joining the West London based Island Records as a staff engineer.

Island Records was a very important independent record label which developed the careers of many of the UKs top musical talents and the studios played host to many pf the leading musicians of that time.

This is Diby's interesting and wide ranging look back at a career in being a studio sound engineer that has spanned 50 years, working in London, California (LA, in point of fact) and many other places around the worlfd.

Digby will tell you what it was like to reside in LA back in the early 1970s, rubbing shoulders with the elite of Hollywood.

He is also honest about his fight to beat the twin evils of alcohol and drugs, and how he made his way back to Britain in the middle of the 1980s.

He worked with, and helped the careers of a wide range of stars like Bob Marley, Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Led Zeppelin, Robert Palmer and even full orchestras, making sure that they all sounded as good as they could.

It's a wild and eclectic read. Learn how Digby learned to cope with Type 1 Diabetes (not his own) and proper football matches played in Hollywood by a whole range of people, including Marty Feldman and the best place, at the time, to obtain a real British fix in LA. Jammy Dodger biscuits, real Cornish ice cream and genuine English butter.

It's a great read and contains some nifty line drawings by Laura Callwood.

It's published by The Book Guild at £9.99.


Scotland Beyond the Bagpipes

Scotland Beyond the Bagpipes is a new book by author Helen Ochyra that explores the country of Scotland.

She takes her readers on a long and interesting journey, looking at the Scottish capital city, Edinburgh, Fife, the Highlands, the far north of Scotland, taking in the legendary John o'Groats, the coastal areas of Scotland, too.

Helen travels to the islands that are off the coast of Scotland, the great industrial city of Glasgow, the Glens of Scotland, the mountainous regions of the country and also walking over ancient and long extinct volcanoes and the lochs and rivers of Scotland.

As an experience travel writer Helen does paint a warming and compelling word picture of Scotland.

However I must point out that I was disappointed that the illustrations are non-existent, limited to the colour photograph of the cover and one extremely sparse line drawing map.

But the book is still a must buy purchase for people who are interested in travelogues, especially about Scotland.

It's published by The Book Guild at £9.99.


Callum McBride

This is Michael Riding's debut novel.  It features young Callum McBride who is twelve years old and who is easily distracted and thus, can quite easily, become bored.

At the opening of the novel he is already bored, at home from school for the school holidays.

However, Callum has a surprise. He has a magical ability to enter the minds of animals and to control them. He temporarily vacates his own body during this process.

However, he meets up with a girl called Emma who has abilities of her own. She is a super hacker whose skills have already brought her into contact with MI6.

As their friendship blossoms, Emma discovers that there might well be a link between the fact that as a baby of under one year old he was found, alone, on the ferry that travels between Iona and Mull. Which brought about his adoption by a local family.

Whilst trying to find out who he really is and where his strange ability came from the two friends soon discover themselves enmeshed in a plot to steal a nuclear weapon.

Can the two friends complete their quest and defeat the enemy they have discovered? Only time will tell!

The book is an exciting read and is written specially for young people who can easily be distracted to read and to enjoy.

It's published by Matador at £9.99.