27 January 2015

Love Ireland and wish to visit? Read Irene Truman's Review

"At the end of this book I felt I had lost a friend. This travelogue, which follows in reverse the route taken around Ireland by H.V. Morton  80 years earlier is a compulsive read.
It is a personal evaluation of Ireland’s colourful and turbulent history.
The book spans time from 2000 BC to present day; a veritable time machine encompassing Irish history, music, literature and culture.

It evaluates stark poverty in the north, comfortable affluence in the south via European funding; the violence of the I.R.A. and the Black and Tans; the peace and calm of Irish music and verse.
All this within magical, magnificent, majestic and inspirational coastline, crags, hills and dales, lakes and fairy glades.

John Butler’s careful and considered comparison with Ireland today against Morton’s observations in the 1930s reveal interesting anecdotes which particularly relate to an island culture.
The sights, sounds and smells of Ireland are set in high relief by his personal experiences with its people.
This journey is well researched and very enjoyable.

10 January 2015

I was intrigued by the book-cover, illustrating a beautiful manor house...

"I must confess I don’t read a lot of romantic fiction, being more of a blood and gore man myself, but I was intrigued by the book-cover, illustrating a beautiful manor house. Now, this was something I could get my teeth into! Like many people, visiting stately homes and gardens over the last two decades, has been one of my abiding passions. In addition to this, I do have a fascination for stories relating to World War Two, and from the very first page I was hooked. I don’t know how you could not like this all-too-short, glimpse into troubled times.
I’m still a little baffled as to why the story had such a pull on me, but the simplicity of line and style made the chapters fly by, for a very easy read.
The storyline concerns Sarah, a rich girl with the admirable ambition to become a nurse, and Joe, a young boy from a poor family. Their social and domestic situations could not be more different and they meet at a time when the whole world is in turmoil. Very soon Joe is whisked off to do his duty as a soldier and their unofficial engagement-to-be-married, has to be put on indefinite hold.

9 January 2015

‘Insightful and Sensitive, for parents, carers, and professionals...'

The Review
"Being unable to put it down, I read it at a sitting. Described as ‘insightful and sensitive’, this slender publication is designed ‘for parents, carers, and professionals who work with them’. As a parent and as a professional I have a thorough grasp of Maggie’s subject and can assure you that this small paperback is as good as anything I have read, and more readable than most. She speaks from the heart with a clear professional head. We know exactly what life’s journey has been for Em, from her early bereavement, through her further losses in childhood and adolescence, and, perhaps most importantly and optimistically, her painful road to recovery. Quite appropriately this is seen from the perspective of someone who believes in the significance of nurturing in human development, but no-one should underestimate Em’s inherent strengths.

8 January 2015

"This was an interesting read."

Playing Havoc, partly based on fact, partly a black comedy, describes one small British island’s battle to maintain some normality in the chaos after a coronal mass ejection, seen through the eyes of one man who had only recently moved there with the very intention of getting some peace.

The Review: "Once again, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the work of Steve Morris. It is very refreshing to read a story apart from the main stream, everyday context. The storyline is interesting in a way that makes you actually think about all that could and would go wrong. Giving you a better concept of not only the things and people around you, but of yourself as an individual. The main character is a likable sort of fellow, if not a little detached from the world around him. He grows as a person in his perceptions of the people and things around him. More importantly, he learns a lot about his inner self. This book not only deals with the relationships you have with others, but the relationship and understanding you have of yourself. The storyline is solid and very realistic. This story gives everyone who reads it food for thought. This was an interesting read. I can actually imagine the things in the story coming to pass. I'm very fortunate to have had the chance to read this book"
A review by Mechele, the Read For Your Future blog.

7 January 2015

A delightful medley of short stories - In ‘Serendipity’ there is something for everyone.

In ‘Serendipity’ there is something for everyone. If your taste is humour there are plenty including ‘It’s No Laughing Matter’, ‘Stop! …Don’t Go Any Further’. There are slices of real life in ‘Arthur’, ‘Lanky Franky’, ‘Death of the Hindenburg’ and ‘My Only Sunshine’. There is satire and irreligious ones–written without any malice. In the animal stories ‘The Dog’, ‘The Gulls’ Court’ and ‘The Camel’ the author gives himself full rein and enjoyed exercising anthropomorphism. In short ‘Serendipity’ is the word - take a dip and find your winner.
Author John Butler says “In this miscellany of fifty or more stories runs the gamut from humour, drama, satire, farce and fantasy to contemplative thinking, mystery and the supernatural. Serendipity embraces all the human emotions. Enjoy it! ” 

John Butler is a retired head teacher and lecturer, he has spent forty years in education. For many years he has taught creative writing to adult groups. Being an avid reader of short stories, the author has enjoyed journeying along with the likes of Mark Twain, O’Henry, Maupassant, Frank O’Connor and others of such ilk...
“Serendipity–a daring dip of short stories”

6 January 2015

"...One man’s journey through the turbulent, unpredictable and ruthless business world of the ‘Thatcher Revolution’."

From its opening setting of the innocence of university life to the closing satisfaction of cold, hard business dealing, ‘Making It’ takes you on one man’s journey through the turbulent, unpredictable and ruthless business world of the ‘Thatcher Revolution’.
Laurie Walker’s trauma of almost failing his degree, and a subsequently volatile encounter with the gay scene in Barcelona, sets the scene for his education beyond anything that academia could have taught him.
This is a journey through the social and economic upheaval of the 1980s and 1990s in a cutthroat business world where sharks lurk at every corner waiting for the unwary novice. Mark Edmondson’s portrayals of Chas Wray as the tycoon bully-boy and Laurie Walker as his unwitting victim are sharp, entrancing, and financially brutal.
The dual plotlines, converging inexorably, are a hark-back to the days when deregulation was the byword of the Tory government of the time. This, however, is no textbook, despite Mr Edmondson clearly researched business terminology and logic. Set in the same tone as Eliyahu Goldratt’s ‘The Goal’, the novel pulls at the emotions as you travel, along with Laurie, down his road to business, financial, and personal destiny.
Being an accountant, the book ‘spoke’ to me in terms with which I have been familiar for over thirty years, and yet its language is set very much in layman’s terms. Short, punchy chapters will have you racing to the end as the plot quickens with each page.
Highly recommended.
A review by Neal James, author of several crime detective novels.

5 January 2015

Ireland tour book with a visit to the (Patrick) Brontë country. A Brontë Blog feature.

Author of 'In Search Of Ireland Again', John Butler  talks about his new book.
"I first visited Ireland in 1947 – inspired by that King of travel writers, H.V.Morton and his ‘In Search of Ireland’. In numerous visits since, I have been struck by the changing face of the country, splintered by the formation of the six counties to become part of the UK.
The book tells of a country in desperate poverty, resurgence into prosperity, via the European Community, the fight for independence, the violence of the IRA and the Black and Tans. It tells of the eternal haemorrhaging of its people through emigration and a history bound up so tightly with our own.
The book is a personal account of the tours. It is more than a mere travelogue; it is a personal observation and evaluation of the traumatic phases of the country and its history – seen in past, present and future.
I am bewitched by the sheer beauty of Glengariff, see Cushenden and I’m reminded of Clough Elliss and Port Merion. See Donegal – now and in H.V.Morton’s time. Visit Knock and its commercialism. Visit Cong where the film’ The Quiet Man’ lives on. Attend Mass in Galway. Visit the Claddagh. Cobh – the saddest place in Ireland. Here the great liners waited for the emigrants – the haemorrhaging of her best and youngest blood. I kiss the Blarney Stone, discover drisheen, visit Mount Melleray, tour Brontë land. Take the rocky road to Dublin. Inform a lady in Drogheda that Cromwell is dead. Dublin and St Michans, shake hands with a Crusader, search for Uncle Barney, visit Guinness Brewery- the GPO and 1916 uprising – back to Larne and home."

4 January 2015

A review of 'Dane Mills Bosley' by Geoff Browne, The Leek Post & Times

A QUIET rural valley in the shadow of Bosley Cloud is the unlikely setting for 250 years of industrial development, ranging from the days of water power to high tech composite materials.
The business is hidden away from modern traffic on the Leek to Macclesfield road, but when the towns were linked by rail, “Dane Corn Mills” was a familiar landmark.
The industrial and social history of this rural hive of industry is told in a new book by former Leek man Chris Pownall, who was an engineering apprentice at the mills from 1959 to 1965. Although sited just over the Cheshire border, the mills have drawn many employees from Leek, Rushton and the surrounding area.
Read the full review.

3 January 2015

"This was an immensely entertaining read." - The Waif Review

"Imagine, for a moment, Thomas Hardy writing crime, and you have a close approximation to Julius Falconer’s descriptive talents in ‘The Waif’. Ally that to a style reminiscent of Edgar Wallace in ‘The Four Just Men’, and you have all of the necessary ingredients for a fascinating detective story. Now throw in, for good measure, ‘Bradshaw’s Guide’, and you are off on a journey filled with wonderful scenery as we traverse Europe in search of a miscreant so cunning, that DI Moat seems foiled at each and every turn.
‘The Waif’ sets Moat and his assistant, DS Stockwell, a seemingly unsolvable mystery going back three centuries, and culminating in what appears, on the face of it, to be a simple case of murder.
Falconer’s depth of knowledge of the environs, not just of Yorkshire, but also of several European locales, reveals a commitment to a level of research essential for a good detective thriller. Moat’s almost ‘Poirot’ characterization, and his invitations to ‘you dear reader’ to share in the story, will take you on an almost conspiratorial chase, as you tag along with them for the ride.
The three-dimensional Detective Inspector, depicted in wonderful detail is shown, not as an infallible entity but, in conference with his superior, having all of the human frailties which make the character totally believable.
The dénouement, when it came, though to me not unexpected, was delivered with such style as to have you reaching for the next in Falconer’s library.
This was an immensely entertaining read."
Neal James

2 January 2015

Life in your 50s – how to deal with it!

Trauma - and how mature adults deal with it
By Seth Emmanuel

Experiences and perspectives on life - love and marriage, divorce, politics, cancer, and other incredibly fascinating topics.

Have you ever wondered why the younger generations make so many mistakes in life? The logical conclusion is that they haven’t gained the wisdom and experiences of more mature adults. When we reach middle-age we have the benefit of hindsight, acquired patience and thoughtfulness. We make decisions and approach life’s traumas in a non-emotional, considered way and we are all too well aware of the consequences of bad decisions. We are too seasoned to repeat the mistakes of youth. Wrong! Regardless of age, it seems we approach traumas in the same irrational and emotional state of our youth.
The author also offers insights to those “in the middle” on how to deal with the traumas of life. Find out more

“Timely advice for baby-boomers” 

1 January 2015

Reviews of 'In Search Of Ireland Again'.

"Want a trip through Ireland with a congenial companion? Here's someone with a feel for landscape and its moods; for Ireland past and present (sharing its woes, hoping for better things); for a myriad places where history and memory interweave... John Butler raises innocent questions with his host, but can't suppress shrewd comments. He enjoys the cosmopolitan encounters of the tourist trail. And all this is a stream of succinct, sharp observations."
John Dixon

"It was a great surprise and pleasure to receive your lovely book, as a present from our friend. We spent 14 happy years living in County Antrim (1965 - 79),and had holidays in Connemara and Co. Kerry so your book is of great interest to us. I have to tell you that I read it from cover to cover in one go- it was so compelling, and learnt more about the history, and complex politics than during our time living there! Thank you for our treasured copy, which our son and daughter will also find absorbing, as they grew up in that beautiful place."
Joyce Fletcher