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. 


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.