31 December 2014

Five star review of Jumble Tales by Dan Wright, Read 2 Review

"Even thought Jumble Tales can easily be read in one sitting, I took my time reading this book as I always like to do with short stories. I like to take in each story one at a time, analyse their structure, take in the message that they carry (if any) and just enjoy the story. And there is a lot to both analyse and enjoy in Jumble Tales.
Each story focuses on a part of real life, whether it would be a football match, an assault in Iraq, a band trying to make it, or even just finding lost love in the most bizarre of places. The tales are nicely told and flow very well – and there is always a nice little twist at the end. The good thing is that it’s rare you can see what the twist is and it’s always a nice surprise. Only on a couple of stories did I guess what the ending would be.

In short (no pun intended), Jumble Tales has a great mix of stories that will make you think, but are not overly preachy and can be enjoyed just for what they are. A lot of time and effort has clearly been put into each story and it shows in this collection. 

30 December 2014

A gripping, wartime movie, sandwiched between the covers

Alles Fur Deutschland
By Karl Brockmann

An action-packed, wartime novel about the 1943 Eastern Front featuring retreating German front lines fragmented by a massive Russian offensive.

Author Karl Brockmann says “The novel Alles Fur Deutschland originated from my deep interest in this part of our world history. I have been an active member of a WW2 re-enactment society for some years… Over the years I have met many colourful and interesting people including elderly veterans from both sides of the conflict. These gentlemen would often talk about all types of situations they found themselves, situations which most ordinary people could never imagine. It is from listening to these events that I have been inspired to finally put pen to paper and to write my first fictional wartime novel.”

“A sweeping, action-packed, wartime movie,
sandwiched between the covers”

29 December 2014

An absorbing fast-paced thriller with conflicting relationships between characters

A thrilling fictional novel–flawlessly blended with a noxious brew of intimidation, drug smuggling and murder. “Coffin maker, Pat O’Donnell finds himself reluctantly caught up in a web of fear, intimidation, drug smuggling, and murder. He is an orphan who was abused by his guardians and when provoked his violent multiple personalities surface.
Teresa is unwillingly in the drama. She is a stranger to Pat, and as the story unfolds he feels drawn to her appealing nature, her mysterious background and the tangents of themes and interests her life has taken. But what is she doing at the graveside with these killers?"

“A gravely intriguing crime thriller”

Ebook | Kobo | Google Play | Amazon Kindle | Apple iBook | Nook

28 December 2014

How do you cope in a complete black-out with no electronic device?

Playing Havoc
By Steve Morris

Just how would we cope in the event that every electronic device on our planet was rendered useless in an instant? If all electric power, industry, basic utilities, transport and the very communications that we all take for granted were zapped in a moment, how would life carry on? What skills do we possess to help us rebuild life from its very foundations? Find out how the people of a small island managed to survive. Find out more

Author Steve Morris says “Playing Havoc is a story based on fact. CMEs occur on average around once a century. The last event like this fried the world’s early telegraph network at a time when we still travelled by horse and cart. There are a few more electronic gadgets around these days … and you know how you feel when only one of them lets you down. We are now overdue for the next solar flare!”

“An intriguing black comedy with a sci-fi twist”

Paperback | Waterstones | Amazon UK

27 December 2014

An easy-read collection of thoughtful & poignant poems

Poems and Rhymes for all Times
By Natalie Mason

An enjoyable collection of poems relating to life experiences designed to lift your spirits, including some light-hearted rhymes guaranteed to make you smile. Moments put into words that make you pause and reflect on what really matters most in life, helping you connect with your inner-self.
As you read you will be reminded that you are not alone on your own personal journey along life’s winding highway. Someone has walked the path you are on and has felt what you are feeling–your tears and joys.
This is the perfect book to inspire, comfort and invigorate you throughout a lifetime with an ample assortment of topics to delight every palate.

Author Natalie Mason says “I have been writing poetry from an early age for special occasions and was inspired by my Granddad Harry. These poems are like moments captured and framed into verses that make you stop and think! There is a wide variety of poems with something to suit every occasion.”

“A refreshing ‘spa’ of words”

26 December 2014

A review of Julius Falconer Series: ‘A Time to Prey’

Here is another gripping page-turner from a master storyteller. The chapters simply roll by, as you follow ace sleuth, Detective Inspector Wickfield and Sergeant Hewitt, through a myriad of possible theories about a fatality: each one having to be diligently considered, before filing, and moving on to the next.
The story breaks with the sudden death of the Bishop of Worcester in 1966. His body being found in his official castle study, with the doors and windows locked from the inside.
It could have been a perfectly straightforward accident and to another, less efficient and inexperienced officer, it might have been, but Wickfield is immediately suspicious; something doesn’t smell right. Looking around the room he sees things that others might have missed, and like a dog with a bone he gnaws and nags away at the problem, leaving no stone unturned until he’s interviewed everyone with the slightest connection to the high churchman.
In a few short days following the death, and together with his sergeant, Wickfield digs deeply (with highly personal questions) into private lives, searching for a cunning murderer, one who wanders abroad at the dead of night.
Gradually, armed with forensic information and by a process of methodical elimination, the policemen piece together a timeline, a significant window of opportunity for the crime, coming up with startling results.
We are treated to an insight into the workings of the Anglican church, ancient saints and relics and a woman who dabbles in Wicca (a pagan religion) plenty of fishy red herrings, all tied up in a classic, locked door mystery. As in so many of his cases, it is a chance remark from Inspector Wickfield’s wife Beth, which helps to cut through the darkness, and cast a bright light on the killer.  
You couldn’t wish for more, except perhaps to feast on the next one!
Harry Riley
Paperback | Waterstones | Amazon UK

25 December 2014

Dane Mills Bosley: An Overview by Congleton & Biddulph Chronicle newspaper.

'Dane Mills Bosley' dates back to the mid-eighteenth century when the machinery was driven by water wheels, powered by water from the River Dane. Over the years, the Mills have been engaged in many different business activities including, Metallurgical, Textiles, Corn Milling & Organic Fibre Production. This book provides detailed information about the people and the industrial processes in place, at Dane Mills Bosley, during the 1960s, in a small village in rural Cheshire.
Author Chris Pownall says “I trust this book will capture the culture of the Mills where I served my engineering apprenticeship between 1959 & 1966. It should appeal to those interested in social history as well as followers of our industrial heritage from a bygone era.”

24 December 2014

A review of 'The Wholesome Truth about Healing'

"This book presents a very well reasoned and persuasive argument in favour of Divine healing for today. Beginning with an identification of prejudices against healing and moving on to an investigation of the phenomena, both from the Bible and from Church History, Yomi Akinpelu builds a case for encouraging people today to be open for God to heal them from all kinds of sicknesses and diseases. From here application is given on how to receive healing and throughout the book is laced with testimonies and stories of God’s intervention in people’s lives to bring about such healings. The thorny issue of why some are not healed is also addressed and advice is given on how to live a healthy lifestyle.

Along the journey through this book, Yomi takes note of scholarly opinion, both for and against divine Healing and the conclusion is an enlightening and convincing affirmation that Divine healing did not cease with the early church but is available for people, whether believers or non-believers today."
Richard Bradbury*
*A Church leader in East Yorkshire and the author of 'Losing My Religion' and 'It’s the End of the World as we know it'

23 December 2014

'Sharks That Walk on Land' | 'To Boldly Go' - Readers' personal note to the author, Ron Palmer

"I thoroughly enjoyed your book: ‘Sharks That Walk on Land’ and I finished reading it yesterday as I could not put it down. Well done."
Captain (Navy) Cedric Steele MsM, CD.

" Just finished your book 'Sharks That Walk on Land', and I'm writing to say how much I have enjoyed it. Needless to say it is one of those books that one wishes would never end, and I must say that I have never read a better book on this subject."
Dave. (Dr. Naismith)

"Re: To Boldly Go. What an adventure. It was so interesting to read about all your tribulations and moments of joy as you sailed the seas despite the frustrations, time and money it often caused you."
Pam Brookes, Mission BC.

"Re: To Boldly Go. I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your writing and admired your courage to do such a journey and overcome so many obstacles that a life at sea must present. I also really appreciated the little history lesson and quote at the beginning of the chapters." - Thanks, Keinan.

22 December 2014

An awe-inspiring account of tours around Ireland - A travelogue

In Search Of Ireland Again
By John Butler

This is a personal account of the author’s tours of Ireland. The book tells of a country in desperate poverty, resurgence into prosperity, the fight for independence and the violence involved. It tells of the eternal haemorrhaging of its people through emigration.
Be captivated and bewitched by the sheer beauty of this glorious land as the author takes you on an unforgettable and ‘guided’ tour of Glengariff, Cushenden, Donegal, Cong, Knock, Claddagh, Dublin, Galway, Mount Melleray and more. Clever, compelling and complete with photographs!

Author John Butler says “My love of Ireland inspired me to write of my tours … I do not see it only through my own eyes but through those of the King of travel writers, H.V. Morton, eighty years ago... ‘In Search of Ireland Again’ is more than a travelogue; it is a personal observation and evaluation of the traumatic phases of the country and its history - seen in past, present and future.”

“Well researched, highly enjoyable and witty travelogue”

Paperback | Waterstones | Amazon UK

21 December 2014

A review of 'OTOLI' by Sue Mahoney

"The story revolves around three main characters: Alice, Kieran and Jenny and a group of bullies known as the Popular's. Alice Turner is a year eight pupil at Stowton Middle School who has become a victim of bullying by the girl gang – the Popular's. Deeply unhappy, Alice finds herself wandering into a cafe called OTOLI that she has never noticed before. There she meets Jenny the mysterious waitress who always seems to be scrubbing the same table clean. Alice is initially excited to have a friend, but she soon realizes that this friendship may come at a price.
At times we depend upon one another and our life "depends upon" another, enough to manipulate someone into convincing you to make bad choices and live with regret. Accept your intuition and go with the thought that this is not right and everything has to be done to stop it. The author is trying to alert the world that bullying is very destructive and has severe consequences and it should become a priority to stop it from continuing.
What if you found a friend who accepts you unconditionally but then begin to realize that something is not right here? We've all been there, question is - do you continue the friendship or walk away? It is hard to make choices when you're a teenager, events and challenges arise and an individual is on the outside looking in and needs to choose between being morally right or immorally wrong and go with the peer pressure or rebel against it. This is such a story about bullying and how each character, Alice, Kieran and Jenny decides to deal with the emotional consequences of being bullied."

Paperback | Waterstones | Amazon UK

20 December 2014

A Review of Julius Falconer Series: ‘The Bones of Murder’

Having now had the pleasure of reading several of the ‘Wickfield’ chronicles, I find the stories just keep getting better and better. What I want to know is, how does the author do it? The writing makes for effortless reading and seems to cover all aspects of human nature.
In The Bones of Murder, the police have to delve quite deeply into the seamier side of life, in order to get at the truth of family conflicts, disappearances and possibly murders, which happened decades ago. The bodies of three people; are dug up by the Hothersall’s: new house owners, as they prepare for renovating projects, and the skeletal remains, show distinct signs of murder. This is clearly one for Worcestershire C.I.D’s, finest: Detective Inspector Wickfield and his trusty assistant, Sergeant Spooner.
Apart from the fact that this is a baffling cold case, presenting many difficulties, not least that the murderer may be long dead, the reader is let in on a personal conflict, between Inspector Wickfield and the author, as to who is the most trustworthy: apparently Wickfield is upset that the author is portraying him as a bit of a buffoon, lurching from one failed theory to another.
I seem to recall, Sherlock Holmes taking issue with Doctor Watson about the way some of his cases had been dealt with.
I have to say I take the author’s side in this debate, as this is what makes the stories so interesting. Unlike some American detectives, who are unbelievably, all seeing and all doing 24/7, superheroes, Wickfield comes across as an ordinary chap, having to do an extra-ordinary job. We see him, as he is - warts and all!
Eventually, after many leads have failed to unmask the culprit, the detective discusses the case with his wife Beth, and the conversation opens up new initiatives, leading to an arrest and conviction.
A gripping tale and definitely one to share with your friends!
Harry Riley
Paperback | Waterstones | Amazon UK


19 December 2014

Review by Kitty Bullard, "Great Minds Think Aloud”

'In All Probability' and 'Jumble Tales'

"These are two wonderfully delightful books by a man that has clearly had his own ups and downs in life. Steve Morris weaves tales of good fortune and hardship with a master storyteller's pen. I am use to anthologies that range from romance to horror and almost any other genre you can think of, but this is the first time I have read a book about the lot life can hand you and the good or bad that often comes with it.
I'll admit I was skeptical going into these books but I was surprised to find the mixed bag of tales that both contained. These books prove that true life can often be just as wonderfully exciting, adventurous, and fantastic as tales woven from the gossamer fabric of fantasy.
I will be looking for more to come from this UK Author!"
Kitty Bullard

Jumble Tales Ebook | KoboGoogle PlayAmazon KindleApple iBook | Nook
In All Probability Ebook | KoboGoogle Play | Amazon KindleApple iBook | Nook

18 December 2014

Move over Percy Jackson. Find out what everybody is talking about!

Zoe and Zak Collage

About the Books

Have you ever gotten hopelessly lost in a strange land?
Talked to an elephant?
Ridden a magic carpet?
Been jailed by an angry parrot?
And discovered that you have the power to change the world?
Zoe & Zak hadn’t either. But that was before their lives were turned upside down by a mysterious creature called the Ghost Leopard. Now, they find themselves attending a strange school high in the Himalayan foothills, where nothing is what it seems and anything is possible.

The Zoe & Zak Adventures contains the first three full books of the middle grade fantasy adventure series, where two semi-normal kids begin to live absolutely extraordinary lives.

In Book One, The Ghost Leopard, Zoe & Zak take their first trip to India where they learn that they’ve been chosen to protect a mythical creature from a terrible fate.

In Book Two, The Yogi’s Curse, Zoe & Zak are back in India, this time to attend Moonstock Academy, a strange and sometimes frightening boarding school where weird events seem to occur on a regular basis.

And in Book Three, The Tiger Temple, Zoe & Zak take on their second semester at Moonstock and their most terrifying challenge yet.

If you love to laugh out loud, if you like adventure, and if you’re dying to go on the wildest ride on this side of the Himalayas, pick up the Zoe & Zak Adventures today.

17 December 2014

'Losing My Religion: The Radical Message of the Kingdom'

"Ready for a challenge?" 
"This is a challenging and thought-provoking look at the centrality of the message of the Kingdom of God and how it should impact the life and faith of every true Christian believer. It is not written as merely the opinion of the author but is thoroughly grounded in the scriptures of both the old and new testaments.It is extremely well-structured and has a very detailed table of contents which help when returning to the book in search of a specific passage or scriptural reference. For a book of such depth of study it is also remarkably easy to read though the challenge of the message it contains may make the half-hearted believer rather less than comfortable. Don't miss the opportunity of reading this book!"
Mrs Christine Webb

"Exciting and encouraging book"
"Loved the book. There were things that I thought I understood but this has added to my knowledge and understanding and has brought so much to life for me. I loved the fact that it was encouraging and I could apply it to my life. I've always thought that I wasn't a 'proper' church person and can see now that I am a Kingdom person and that is exciting, it is a totally different focus and way to live."
Mrs Angie Spence

16 December 2014

A Moat is Not a Goat: Poems for Clever Little Girls | Author: Elsa Takaoka

About the Book

A Moat is Not a Goat by Elsa TakaokaTitle: A Moat is Not a Goat: Poems for Clever Little Girls * Author: Elsa Takaoka * Illustrator: Fanny Liem * Publication Date: November 27, 2014 * Publisher: Independent * Pages: 32 * Recommended Age: 4 to 8

Summary (Amazon): This is a collection on 16 beautifully illustrated poems about sweet and charming everyday experiences, especially written for little girls. This book will teach, inspire and empower little precocious lassies, opening their hearts and minds to the delightful world of imagination.

Amazon (Paperback) * Amazon (eBook) * Goodreads

15 December 2014

A review of Julius Falconer Series: ‘Mr. Carrick Is Laid To Rest’

Here is another baffling and highly enjoyable, Inspector Wickfield case.
The Worcestershire C.I.D detective again has Sergeant Spooner’s able assistance.
However he needs nothing short of a crystal ball to get to the bottom of this strange affair. Fortunately, when he’s tested his brain to its utmost, and run himself ragged into the bargain, with very few positive results, Wickfield is not too proud to talk things over with Beth, his inspirational and long-suffering spouse. He calls her his muse. She is one step removed from the investigation and thus able to zone in on a piece of information he may have treated too lightly or simply overlooked.
The story revolves around the apparent suicide of a male teacher in a private girls’ school. It seems the coroner’s verdict of suicide would put an end to speculation. But question marks arise when a local man comes forward with new information to cast disturbing light on the death.
Nothing is quite as it seems and involves the detective in a lot of foreign air miles, as he tries to uncover the true facts. Was the dead teacher quite the ordinary, respectable citizen he portrayed to his colleagues, or did he lead a double life?
The story is intriguing, as there are suggestions of an international art-dealer cartel and gangster involvement, beautiful young women and many false trails.
Assuming the reader is armed with all the information Stan Wickfield has at his command, it is quite possible to work out your own conclusions. Long before I reached the final page, my own ‘virtual jail’ was full to bursting with guilty prisoners. Unfortunately I got them all wrong. Nevertheless, it was good fun and a damned good read.
Harry Riley
Paperback | Waterstones | Amazon UK


5 December 2014

A Review of 'Resonate' by Derek Purnell, Urban Presence.

Resonate is a great little book, the genius of it is that Terry Durose keeps things simple (though not simplistic)!  Sharing our faith should be one of the most natural things we do but fear and specialised approaches from experts can make it appear beyond our ability.  This book provides adequate information to increase our understanding and sufficient encouragement to increase our confidence.  Much of the encouragement comes from a very incarnational human attitude, working from a position of weakness and vulnerability - we do the human bit and leave God to do the Divine!
One of strengths of this book is that it is not prescriptive and it does not provide us with all the solutions, neither does it attempt to solve all the problems we may encounter in sharing our faith, it assumes that the Holy Spirit is there to help us.  There are gaps in this book, ones that can only be resolved by experience.  Evangelism is a practical subject and we need to practice it to get more proficient.  This book provides enough direction to help us on our way.
Derek Purnell

*Derek Purnell, BA MPhil is a an Urban Ministry Consultant with Urban Presence, his work also includes developing and teaching Urban Ministry courses. He Pastored an inner city church for an number of year and now is a member of a small Missional Community.
Terry Durose is the author of 'Resonate'