Archive for October, 2019

Archie and the Lawlor Cat Hotel

Jane Lawlor

Congratulations! You have just found the best cat book ever written. I’m Archie and I am a ginger cat and the manager at the most incredible hotel just for cats. I’ve written this book so humans get to meet me and my guests as we get up to all sorts at night including cat rodeo, cat casino night, cat sailing and even skiing. I can’t wait for you to meet my guests and get to know their real personalities, not to mention my team, which includes Dan and Louis the horses and my three faithful hounds Buddy, Dougy and Alfie. Get ready for the read of your life.


A Fun and Engaging Read

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book but I have to admit that I ended up really enjoying it and I am positive that this one will go down well with other cat lovers – and hopefully non-cat lovers too! Archie is the lead cat at the cat hotel and he has such flare that he really makes this book an interesting one to read. I loved all of the personalities of all of the cats, the pony’s and the dogs too. I think this was such a fun read that many children would absolutely delight over. So if you’re looking for a fun and engaging read for your kids, this is definitely a book that you should pick up.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: October 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 168
Genre: MG
Age: Children
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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The Grateful Boys

Francoise DuMaurier

When seventeen-year-old Hailey’s multi-racial, single parent family migrate to the tiny rural town of Corpus, Georgia (population 700), she would rather have moved anywhere but there.
That is, until she spots him. Mysterious definitely, perhaps even supernatural. Where Hailey is awe-struck by the young man of her dreams, her little brother, Mason, sees a soulless creature of the night, a half-man who may be responsible for a series of grisly murders across the southern gothic town.
Antwan Zeddman, the town’s first African-American Sheriff, must enforce a curfew in Corpus to ensure the safety of the townsfolk. He must contend with sightings of hellish winged beasts and investigate the slaying of an innocent young couple traveling through town. There is a growing sense of racial unrest. Hailey will find herself caught between her family, the residents of Corpus, and the vampire she’s falling in love with.
The Grateful Boys is an otherworldly Young Adult novel which explores the challenges of growing up mixed raced in the southern states of America, and the troubles of a young woman coming of age in a town full of danger and temptation.


Exclusive Extract

“Welcome to Corpus. A Quaint Town with Country Charm. Speed Limit 45.”
A man and his wife had just driven seven hours from Orange, Virginia. They made their way through the Carolinas, North and South, and finally hit their destination state, the professed buckle of the Bible Belt— the great Peach State of Georgia. It would take another ninety minutes before they finally crossed that “Welcome to Corpus” sign.
“Never heard of a Corpus, Georgia,” the wife said.
“Nor have I,” her husband responded through yawns, his hands on the wheel.
“How much longer until we reach Savannah?”
“Bout thirty-forty miles, I reckon. The drive through this tiny little dump shouldn’t take long.”
“I swear I don’t recall seeing it on the GPS,” his wife said spuriously.
“Nor have I,” he repeated.
It was dark out now. Very dark. After five minutes riding through Corpus, Georgia, the paved road itself seemed to have vanished in favor of a dirt stretch. But it wasn’t the dirt road that bothered them, it was the blanket of fog that covered everything around them. Their sights were limited only to the view allowed by the headlights.
“Dammit, I can’t see a thing. Never been in a town so foggy,” the man said as he clutched the steering wheel and leaned in.
“Nor have I,” his wife shot back ironically.
Another wheel clutching mile or so went by until the husband told his wife to turn the damned GPS back on.
“Are you lost?” she asked as she turned her phone on.
“Just wonna confirm we’re going in the right direction. To hell with these detours.”
There it was, the luck of the draw. The moment her GPS turned on, the engine of their beat-up old Volvo sputtered to a climatic end.
“Oh, not now. What did you do!?” she asked.
“Me? It was your idea to make the drive when we could have flown,” he mumbled.
“Don’t you roll your eyes at me. Get out and do something!”
The wife quickly snapped her head to side. She went wide-eyed upon hearing a loud horrific screech from outside their vehicle. Her husband could see her trembling.
“It’s nothing,” he said as he opened his driver door, slammed it shut, and lumbered toward the front of the car. Up went the hood and down went his head.
“So what is it?” the wife signed as she rolled down her passenger window.
“Might not be the engine. Might be the carburetor,” he said as he closed the hood after a quick inspection. “Either way, call Triple A. I don’t wonna be out here all ni–”
Before he could finish his sentence, a dark winged figure swooped upon him. His wife screamed as the black shadowy demonic figure slammed him onto the hood of the car. The wife’s deafening screams matched the screech of the demon as it pulled her now bloodied husband into the dark of night. His screaming stopped as he faded out of sight and into the fog.
Panicked. Sweating. Fearful. The wife rolled her up window at once, fumbled for her phone, dropped it under her feet, and fumbled for it again. With a panic attack on the rise, she dialed three numbers on her phone.
“911, what is your emergency?”
“SOMETHING JUST GOT MY HUSBAND! SOMETHING IN THE FOG! WHERE’S HE AT? WHERE’S HE AT?” she screamed.
“Ma’am, calm down. Tell us your location and we’ll have assistance respond to your emergency as soon as possible.” “Corpus, Georgia. Our car stopped. Something got him! Oh God! Something got him!” she screamed through tears. Nerves frayed. She couldn’t quite understand what else the operator was asking her.
A giant thud was accompanied by an immediately dent made upon the roof of her car. “It’s back!” she screamed into the phone.
“Don’t end the call, ma’am. Help is on the way,” the operator responded.
But there would be no help for the couple that drove seven hours from Orange, Virginia and intended to make a pilgrimage to Savannah, Georgia. The unintended stop they made in the tiny town of Corpus would be their last.
The operator asked the wife if she was still on the line. Before she could answer, her window was shattered into a million pieces. A hooked arm as black as the night itself, that could only be described as belonging to no human on earth, swooped into the car and impaled the wife. And everything went black.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: October 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 328
Genre: YA
Age: YA
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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North

Lucas Ehrenhaus

After one of the most decisive warring campaigns in European history between Barbarians and Romance, the sheer possibility of a full-scale Roman invasion into Barbarian lands launches a lifelong recruitment process, which drives to the re-discovery of old mighty forces in the long forgotten North. The most apolocalyptic pan-tribal conflict amongst central and northern European natives will ensue.


Exclusive Extract

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: October 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 136
Genre: Illustrated MG
Age: Children
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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Tigger’s Arrival

Jacqueline De Carteret

Sarah works at the animal shelter, and Tigger is a rescue cat there.
Sarah wants to take him home to live with her and her family. Will she be allowed to?
He could get up to all sorts, with the other cats. Harley, Midnight and Pumpkin.
Tigger is a real little character and loves having fun.
Come and join him and his friends, and see what they get up to.


All About Those Cats

This is definitely a book for cat lovers as it tells the tale of how a small kitten is re-homed with a family which already has three other cats. It’s an interesting story and should definitely help with children who are adopting cats for the first time or who just enjoy being around cats. Unfortunately, aside from the story of how Tigger arrives at the house and the things that he gets up to, not much else happens in this book so I’m not sure it will entertain every child. But it will definitely entertain those cat lovers and animal lovers for sure.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: October 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 26
Genre: Picture Book
Age: Children
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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The Magical Sunglasses

Nicole McGrath

What would you do if you had one day with magical powers? This fun, bouncy read captures the imagination, and demonstrates the power of courage and self-belief. Inclusive book for early school aged children. Message for everyone.


A Vibrant and Wonderful Read

I absolutely loved this little rhyming story. It has a wonderful message at it’s core about inner belief – or what the book claims to be magic. It allows some children to put on some glasses to accomplish some of their fears that they have. Upon returning the glasses, the teacher admits that their is no magic to the glasses at all and that the children conquered their fears all on their own. I feel that this is a brilliant book to read to children and get them to talk about some of the things they’re afraid of and help them to use their own self-belief to conquer the fear. It’s also really well illustrated and rhymes in a way that simply rolls off the tongue. I give this one top marks!

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: September 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 20
Genre: Picture Book
Age: Children
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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The Shell Collector

Robert Lyons

1973: the year of the oil crisis, the secondary banking collapse, the three day working week and the collapse of the stock market. In a riotous ride through the City of London we meet the characters and events that filled the social and City pages of the press in that roller-coaster year.
Guy Magnus, an ambitious young share dealer, makes a daring takeover bid in the face of opposition from the City Establishment. Will he follow their rules, or his own: never to fall in love with a deal? Will he come to repent his challenge to the powers-that-be? Is Guy’s story fiction or fact? Was a Norfolk Broads canal boat really moored in the marina of Monte Carlo? Did a Henry Moore sculpture really become the most expensive work of art in the world? And did a bet for a lunch at Maxim’s for the first to make a million, Guy or his friend and rival Harry Griffin, bring a merchant bank to the verge of collapse?
THE SHELL COLLECTOR tells a cautionary tale of the City when its buccaneering spirit was at a peak. Whether true or false, it is never less than entertaining.


Interview with Robert Lyons

What is your favourite thing about writing books?
The private satisfaction of getting something spot-on; whether a description, an observation or a joke makes no difference.

Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
It has to be “Yankee” Tate, Guy’s driver. First, the name itself: almost all of my characters are named after Romans/Britons surrounding Caligula, and I was lucky enough to hit on Incitatus, the horse the emperor is said to have made a consul. Then I loved creating his down-to-earth perspective on dealing on the stock exchange. Where others in the story may have had questionable motives, he was straightforward, honest and loyal. Only a cameo role, but great fun to write.

What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?
I’m teetotal – don’t touch a drop before teatime. I know I should keep taking fluid while writing, but I am my late father’s child: “Water’s for washing”.

Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
Yes; I tell my wife I’m busy when she needs me. But she is very understanding, and quite forgiving.

How do you research your books?
In the case of The Shell Collector, the most important source of all was the official report of the affair, some 500 pages long, setting out more or less verbatim the evidence given to the Inspectors by various participants. This provided me with most of the detail for the financial side of the story.

I spent many days in the basement of the London Library trawling through back copies of The Times and The Daily Telegraph, both for information specific to my story, including share prices, and to put together a background diary so it could be set properly in its time (miners’ strikes, Watergate, Royal wedding). I also ploughed through back numbers of Private Eye, particularly the City “Slicker” pages.

Finally, I was able to persuade one of the participants to give me a couple of hours of his time to answer questions. Without his input I wouldn’t have been able to retell two of the more amusing incidents in the book.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Is it possible to be only one or the other? To the extent that I set out a calendar of events and dealings before I began to write, I suppose I’m a more of a plotter; but once I’m into a new chapter I tend to fly along until the time comes to put the mess into order. Certainly one of the best things I did was to take my editor’s advice to change the order of some of the early chapters. Did this make me a hindsight plotter or a bungling pantser?

If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
What a question! It never occurred to me that such an option existed. I’m not sure I could have survived in the 19th century world described by my favourite novelists. I think I’d hate the inadequate lighting and the lack of the creature comforts of contemporary living, though listening to delightful young ladies playing the piano and singing prettily would have been some compensation. May I not just live in the here and now, please (despite the terrifying political mess that surrounds us)?

If you could befriend any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
If I chose Becky Sharp, I’d risk having my face slapped. Safer to go for Milo Minderbinder, who would make me a lot better off (financially) than my publisher ever can, and give me a fun ride on the way.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: September 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 340
Genre: Literary
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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The Legend of Sidri

Rauf Khalilov

In the mythical realm of Badalonium, a young boy named Sidri lived happily with his beloved parents. But the family is shattered by an evil figure from the afar, triggering a series of events that lead Sidri on a journey of self-development, friendship, family reunions and retribution.


Rauf Khalilov’s Favourite Books

1. Sans Famille by Hector Malot.
As a child I read this book probably a thousand times. I like this book because it showed the struggles and sufferings of poor people in capitalist France and England. The protagonist was probably the same age as I and I could relate to him and his struggles. I also loved the fact that he was in the end able to overcome his impediments and triumph. Every story must have a positive ending.

2. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo.
I like this book for several reasons. This book was very popular in my household and I grew up with various elements that were taken from it. For example, my dad always called my oldest aunt Cossette. I had no idea why this was the case when I was a child. I only found out the reason when I read the book. Les Misérables is a book about human nature. It’s a book about injustice, human suffering and sacrifice. My most favourite characters are Jean Valjean and Bishop Myriel.

3. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
This is one of the first books I read in English. I was fascinated by it because it described the harsh realities of 19th Century England. I was fascinated by Dicken’s writing because he could describe England and the life of people there in such detail that I could picture it in my head. Years later when I arrived in England, I noticed everything I had imagined whilst reading Dickens was exactly the same.

4. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevski

A masterpiece touching on a variety of moral and existential issues. One of my favourite moments is when Raskolnikov bows in front of Sonia and kisses her feet. He says “I did not bow down to you. I bowed down to all the suffering of humanity”. Of course, this sounds much better in Russian.

5. Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
I love persian poetry especially the ones by Omar Khayyam. I find Khayyam’s poetry very interesting because he talks about deep issues through poetry. As a poet I find this fascinating because I know how difficult it is to philosophise through poetry.

Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: September 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 50
Genre: MG
Age: Children
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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