29 August 2014

A review of Julius Falconer Series: ‘The Spider’s Banquet’

For me, one of the main attractions of the: Who done it; is to pit my wits against the criminal investigators and attempt to anticipate who the perpetrator is, before they do.
Author Julius Falconer allows Police Inspector Stan Wickfield to tell the story in his own way, warts and all, even to the point of interacting directly with the reader, right through the story. I find this very appealing, especially as the inspector is not some soulless, over-promoted wonder-boy, but a conscientious thief-taker who expresses his own self-doubts and is not frightened or ashamed to seek advice from his sergeant.
As we proceed through the book, I get the impression we are all in it together, almost as if we were trying to interpret the clues to a complicated crossword puzzle. We understand the policeman’s frustrations, as he encounters each dead end and has to rethink his strategy.
Some crime, novelists work on a totally different level, with convoluted sentences and padded chapters, which bear no relation to the plot, causing me to cast down their books in disgust. Not so with this author. His writing is crisp and sharp and the story moves on at a fast pace. At no time does he telegraph the ending.
We are treated to an insight into the closed, meditative life of an abbey, and you wonder, why do monks want to shut themselves off from the world? What drives them to do it? I’ve visited one of the genuine monasteries the author refers to and watched the brothers toiling in the fields, so this story possessed an additional interest for me.
Inspector Morse might be dead and gone but Inspector Stan Wickfield lives on. It was a pleasure to read and I look forward to getting my teeth into the next one.
Harry Riley

Paperback | Waterstones | Amazon UK

22 August 2014

The BookShelf Review - Julius Falconer Series

"Julius Falconer has managed to create a character, that is so real that the reader can see him in their minds, Falconer has made his characters so realistic it really feels like you are part of the book and involved in solving the mysteries. All of the inspector Wickfield books are intriguing murder mysteries with a fallible detective that doesn’t solve the crime in an afternoon, each one bringing a different mystery to solve. Think Miss Marple or Moorse and your on the right track, although these books are not as light as the TV programs, they are not like modern day gore. Each book gives the reader a job to do and clues along the way. These are excellent novels that are not in sequence and can be read in any order. Each book set in another area means that the reader doesn’t get bored with so many mysteries in one place and with an realistic-ness that ensures Inspector does not cover the same mysteries."

The Author: Julius Falconer, scion of an ancient (but unfortunately modest) York family, went to school in Leicestershire, studied for five years in Italy and finally, after working as a translator, qualified as a teacher in Leeds. He then taught Religious Education and philosophy at schools in Cornwall and Perthshire. Now that he is retired and able to divide his time between Yorkshire and rural France, his hobbies include walking, gardening, music and reading. His black-eyed Irish wife sadly died many years ago – the greatest loss of his life - leaving him at the mercy of his married daughter. His greatest moment was when he was introduced to a guest at a party, some years ago, and was greeted by the astonished question, ‘What, not the Julius Falconer?’.

Paperback | Waterstones | Amazon UK

Download the Julius Falconer Series Catalogue...

19 August 2014

"An incredible story of a desert runner" - Me and my Shadow by Ray Matthews

A review by Patrick De Jong (Desert runner and Friend)
"Throughout a lifetime, everyone has the opportunity to meet truly exceptional people. I have. But only very few times have I met someone who inspires, the way Ray does. He turns concepts around, demonstrating the relativity of the “biological clock” and what can and cannot be achieved by having the right mindset.
Who decides what the right age is to achieve your dreams.
How many times does society impose the things we should or should not do, and what is seen as “reasonable”, and what is expected of us. There is timing for everything. Ray demonstrates that destiny is in your hands, and not in the hands of what society expects of us.
Even today, practicing for sport, or in my work, or family environment, I still think back to the phrases, or moments I was able to share with this incredible man, and friend.
Ray truly is, an inspirational story himself."

Paperback | Waterstones | Amazon UK

16 August 2014

"An insightful book about reading"

A review by Grahame Howard*, author of the popular children's series - 'The Wishing Book'
"If you are not a reader, you soon will be after reading this very good book from Yomi Akinpelu. Yomi has the knack in being able to inspire and encourage reading of books. In fact, she brings a whole new meaning to why we should read and what we can receive from spending time within pages of well written books, whether fiction or non-fiction. For myself, I like to ‘get lost’ in a good fictional read and perhaps become the hero. I also have received much knowledge from studying good texts in order to gain qualifications. All of this has been reinforced by reading Yomi’s title. This is a book that will bring you insight into why we read and what we can get from this. It will also bring encouragement to dust that book off and make time to read it. It will bring you immense pleasure as you just allow Yomi to show you the way to enjoy reading."

*Grahame Howard is the author of the following four books: The Wishing Book 1, The Wishing Book 2 - Return To Mars, The Wishing Book 3 - Extermination and All Bagged Up.


8 August 2014

WhipEye Chronicles Book #1 by Geoffrey Saign

About the Book

Title: WhipEye (WhipEye Chronicles Book #1) | Author: Geoffrey Saign | Year published: June 20, 2014 | Publisher: KiraKu Press | Number of pages: 280 | Recommended age: 9+

WhipEye by Geoffrey SaignSummary: Samantha and her neighbor, Jake, have no idea that Samantha's best friend, a parrot named Charlie, is a thousand years old. Charlie is also at the center of a secret battle between magical creatures and an ancient, evil man. When Charlie asks Samantha and Jake to protect him, they are chased by monsters from both sides. To save Charlie, and two worlds, Samantha and Jake have twenty-four hours to figure out how to use the supernatural staff, WhipEye, and find the courage to confront what they fear most.

5 August 2014

Skies Like These | Author: Tess Hilmo

About the Book

Title: Skies Like These | Author: Tess Hilmo | Publication Date: July 15, 2014 | Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), sold by MacMillan | Pages: 240 | Recommended Age: 7 to 12

Skies Like These by Tess HilmoSummary: Twelve-year-old Jade’s perfect summers have always been spent reading and watching TV reruns, so she’s not happy when her parents send her off to Wyoming to her aunt’s house. She meets a boy who calls himself Roy Parker—just like the real name of the legendary rebel cowboy Butch Cassidy. Roy’s dad’s hardware store has closed because a chain store has opened up in town, and Roy thinks it is just like the big cattle barons in Butch’s day who put the local ranchers out of business. He wants Jade to be his Sundance Kid and help him pull some stunts worthy of Butch Cassidy. Sabotage the big store? Outsmart the store’s owner by doing reconnaissance on his ranch? Jade wants to be a good friend, but she’s not so sure about Roy’s schemes.

4 August 2014

The Secret of the Sacred Scarab by Fiona Ingram

About the Book

Title: The Secret of the Sacred Scarab | Author: Fiona Ingram | Publication Date: December 30, 2008 | Publisher: iUniverse | Pages: 272 | Recommended Age: 10+

The Secret of the Sacred Scarab by Fiona IngramSummary: A 5000-year-old mystery comes to life when a scruffy peddler gives Adam and Justin Sinclair an old Egyptian scarab on their very first day in Egypt. Only when the evil Dr. Faisal Khalid shows a particular interest in the cousins and their scarab, do the boys realise they are in terrible danger. Dr. Khalid wants the relic at all costs. Justin and Adam embark upon the adventure of a lifetime, taking them down the Nile and across the harsh desert in their search for the legendary tomb of the Scarab King, an ancient Egyptian ruler. They are plunged into a whirlpool of hazardous and mysterious events when Dr. Khalid kidnaps them. They survive terrifying dangers in a hostile environment (such as a giant cobra, as well as sinking sand), pursued by enemies in their quest to solve the secret of the sacred scarab. They must translate the hieroglyphic clues on the underside of the scarab, as well as rescue the missing archaeologist James Kinnaird, and their friend, the Egyptologist Ebrahim Faza, before time runs out. They must also learn more about the ancient Seven Stones of Power and the mysterious Shemsu-Hor. With just their wits, courage, and each other, the boys manage to survive … only to find that the end of one journey is the beginning of another!