The Broccolis

J. C. Allan

Meet the Broccolis – your vegetable super hero family.
This is their first adventure together!
Next time, you will be able to continue the adventure at Barney’s Birthday. Keep an eye out for book two where their story continues.


This is a very short but lovely story about a young Broccoli and her first day at school. It is a wonderful introduction to the Broccoli family and their lives. Summer is a little bit of a handful, unable to sit still and often this leads to things going wrong. Namely in this book she ruins her younger brothers’ train set and bumps into him on the slide! But all is not lost as the eldest brother is on hand to fix everything. I believe that children would really enjoy this book and it could be a good opportunity to talk to children about starting school and how to deal with arguments between siblings.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: May 2020
Format: Paperback
Pages: 20
Genre: Picture Book
Age: Childrens
Reviewer: Faye
Source: N/A
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If Only They Could Talk

Ian Walker

Miles Goodyear’s whole life has been planned out for him. Born into a wealthy brewing family in Chesterfield between the wars, he knows he will go to the local grammar school, followed by St John’s College, Oxford. After graduating, he will then follow his older brother into the family business where he will remain until the next generation eventually takes over when he retires.
But life – and a series of bad decisions – go against him and, as a result, things turn out very differently from what was originally planned.
If Only They Could Talk is the story of one man’s reflection on his life, his failed relationships, his regrets and his dashed hopes. It’s about someone born with so much, who loses everything as he struggles to cope with a changing world. Or at least that’s what his relatives are led to believe as they clear out his house following his death.
Gradually, the house reveals its secrets, but nothing his relatives find there can prepare them for the final twist to Miles’s story.


Five Favourite Things About My Protagonist

On the face of it, it’s difficult to like too many things about my main character Miles Goodyear. For a start, he is one of life’s losers. Most men can only dream of the start in life that he had. After all, he was born into a wealthy brewing family and was destined to have the best possible education at the local Grammar School. Following this, he would go on to study at the illustrious St John’s College Oxford. This would have prepared him to take up a job for life as a director in the family firm. Yet despite all the privileges that his upbringing bestowed on him, he still managed to lose everything. Miles is also a drinker, an adulterer and a person who abuses his position at work. Nevertheless, you can’t help but like him. Would I want to go on a night out with him? Yes, I would. Would I want him to run my company? No, never! Would I ask him to give me advice regarding affairs of the heart? Absolutely not.

At the centre of Miles’s story is his friendship with Sprout and Herman. He meets the two of them on his first day at school and they remain close friends for the rest of their lives. That is something not many of us manage to do and it demonstrates the type of person he is.

In some ways, Miles is a bit like King George VI. Miles was never meant to run the family business. In the same way – albeit further up the social ladder – George VI was never meant to become king. Those were the roles their brothers were destined to take on, but didn’t. As a result Miles is a person who is deeply conscious of precisely what his family has achieved. He is fully aware of the responsibility he has to pass that legacy onto the next generation. In many ways it is a chain around his neck, a burden he has to bear. However he realises it’s his duty and he refuses to shirk his responsibilities both to his family and his employees. That’s despite the fact that he would have been financially better off if he’d decided just to sell up.

Miles is also a trier. As the world is changing about him and all his competitors start to fail, he strives to adjust, to bring in new ideas and new products in order to save his family business. Ultimately he’s not successful but at least he can say he tried his best.

One of the great things about Miles is that he is able to re-invent himself. Having failed as a businessman he tries his hand at something completely different. I’ve always admired people who are able to succeed in two quite distinct fields. People like George Forman who went from being a professional boxer to selling his grill on TV, or Glenda Jackson who successfully changed career from being a famous actor to becoming an astute politician. Nobody could claim that Miles was a successful businessman. But at least he was able to start all over again as a teacher in the school where he was a pupil in his youth. Eventually he even becomes moderately successful and is relatively happy in his new profession.

Finally, Miles is no cold fish. He’s the type of person who usually lets his heart rule his head and ultimately this leads to his downfall. We all love a flawed character like him. It’s the same reason why Nelson has a column in Trafalgar Square, despite the fact he was both impulsive and an adulterer. In contrast, the cool, calculating Wellington only has a very practical pair of waterproof boots named after him.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: May 2020
Format: Paperback
Pages: 270
Genre: Historical Fiction
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: N/A
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Dad You’ve Trumped!

Andrew Rogerson

This is the story of how a dad tries to explain away his moments of flatulent indiscretion to his daughter Poppy who is five. These are real moments. They are real excuses!


A book that is absolutely full of tongue-in-cheek good ole British humour! It is the tale of a young girl who is constantly hearing her dad trump and instead of admitting it, he blames everything around them instead. It’s a light-hearted read that would definitely work well being read between a father figure and a child. At the end of the book, it even suggests making the farting noises while you read to your child which would definitely make things a lot more interesting in my opinion! Definitely a fun and entertaining read that I am sure your child will want you to read again and again!

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: May 2020
Format: Paperback
Pages: 34
Genre: Picture Book
Age: Childrens
Reviewer: Faye
Source: N/A
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Walk a Narrow Line

Rod Graham

Driven on unrelentlessly not to be beaten down by failure, this is one man’s extraordinary true-life story, which highlights the ever-present need to find your way in the world. Across the diverse life adventures over a seventy-year period, a picture is painted of a life that has led from neglect to success and from abuse to knowledge. This book will inspire those who read it to do better.


Extract

That 1976 summer was¬¬¬ proving to be a really hot one; it’s on record as being one of the driest summers we’ve had; which is interesting because we had never heard of ‘climate change’ in 1976, it was just a great summer. If you thought about it; you could just imagine yourself jumping in to the river off a boat deck, splashing about in the water, creating waves, wild swim¬¬¬ming, the whole scene seemed to beckon ever harder with each longing thought you gave it.

This cabin cruiser was no Queen Mary, what did you expect for £50 in 1976? She was made of wood; marine ply, to be exact, you could be forgiven for being apprehensive about stepping aboard her, after all, wood was the customary material used to build boats for years. However, this particular craft may have been one of Noah’s castoffs; except that he probably didn’t have access to what looked like white emulsion paint. The whole boat had been liberally coated in it, you could see that someone had done a real job of freshening her up with a very clumsy hand and brush; even the windows had not been spared a daub or two of paint.

Our son Trevor; who was eleven years old at the time, couldn’t contain his excitement at the thought of this adventure. On to the boat he jumped right behind Nigel, the owner, a scruffy guy with long greasy brown hair, who was either a really good salesman or very proud of his vessel. He certainly had the gift of the gab. My wife Frances and I gave each other a sidelong look of disappointment at the sight of this shipwreck. My heart sank; like this boat probably would. I remember thinking, ‘what a mess; well… one man’s meat is another man’s poison’. Still; we both tried to keep an open mind.

There were indeed four bunks, which, amazingly, all seemed to be dry, there was a galley area with a gas cooker and sink. Nigel told us that you call the kitchen area ‘The Galley’ on a boat. There was a cassette toilet that smelt and looked a bit like an old-fashioned sewerage farm with a small sink for washing beside it. The mirror above the sink was interesting in that you couldn’t actually see your reflection in it properly for grime. I turned around and looked to make sure Nigel wasn’t watching me as I quickly drew a smiley face on the mirror’s dirty surface. I’m lucky in that I have a fairly good memory for faces; especially mine! The thing is, if you wanted to clean yourself up, comb your hair, shave or make yourself look pretty; you were going to need a good memory for faces with this mirror. The shipwreck did have a nice sitting area at the back, or stern if I’m to be correct with an outboard motor that had its own removable fuel tank, I noticed that Nigel didn’t offer to start the engine; he just pointed it out, saying that it was a good runner. But no matter, as this trip looked like it had been a waste of time anyway.

We climbed off the boat, although I had to practically drag Trevor off, as he already thought he owned it and was involved with cruising down the Caribbean, so he had a reluctance to end his adventure; Paula had not dared to come aboard, she remained on dry land pretending to be disinterested as she stroked someone’s golden Labrador that had wandered over inquiringly from another boat.

I told Nigel that we would like to look around, as there were other boats for sale in the marina.

Well, after looking over a few of those boats and hearing the amazing sums of money their owners were hoping to sell them for; it has to be said that Willie – that is what the shipwreck was called – started to look like a good proposition; after all, beggars can’t be choosers, she was still afloat, she had an engine and was dry-ish inside; we could hopefully make something of her.

Back to see Nigel we went, then after a bit of haggling for the boat and for the mooring which was rented, we were shortly the proud owners of Willie our very own cabin cruiser.

Every Sunday for the rest of that long hot summer would find us doing what must have been the equivalent of an hours training in a gym; just pulling the cord trying to start that outboard motor. Messing about on the river usually had to wait a while! Some days though, things would be messier than others.

There was that time when our daughter, Paula; who was a year older than Trevor; got a little too boisterous in the stern section and nearly fell overboard. Yes, she could swim but we were cruising along with the outboard motor running at the time and she went over the stern right beside it. As I watched her loose her balance, I had visions of my daughter being chewed up by the engine propeller. Don’t ask me how, but I turned around from steering the boat and caught her in mid-air before she even hit the water and hauled her back into the boat. It was one of those moments of magic. I have no idea what happened, or how I managed it, just like when you knock something off a shelf by accident, then react so fast, that with no effort at all, you actually catch it before it hits the floor and breaks, I expect you will have done that yourself.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: May 2020
Format: Paperback
Pages: 156
Genre: Non-Fiction
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: N/A
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Change Leadership

Bill Mann

80% of change projects fail. It’s a staggering amount. The most common reason is a reluctance to change by the people involved. It’s not surprising really: people make up a business and it’s those same people who must accept and adapt to change. The difference between change management and change leadership is making the connection between organisational change and the human impact on all involved. This book will show you how to lead change, not just manage it. Bill Mann, founder of The Keep Calm Guy, has learnt the hard way about change. After a long career delivering change projects for many businesses it was his personal experiences of coping with the trauma of a suicide bomb attack, and losing his wife to cancer, that taught him how to find a path through change that other people will follow. www.thekeepcalmguy.co.uk.


Extract

Businesses of all sizes, and across every industry, are constantly changing. It may be organically by growing or evolving products and services, or maturing and optimising, or possibly even declining and downsizing. It may be by specific actions such as a merger or acquisition, or a reorganisation, relocation, or simply by recruiting and moving staff to new positions. It may be something seemingly small such as changing the reporting lines of one individual, or something that affects the entire organisation. It could even be something routine such as an annual performance appraisal and pay review. Whatever the reason no business stands still – change is constant.

Walk into any business with more than a handful of staff and there will be change planned, being made, or people struggling with the unintended consequences of change. Structures will change, people are promoted, moved in to new roles, or even demoted or fired. The larger the organisation the larger the change programme you will find. If may be a formal transformation programme, or it may just be a collection of smaller changes spanning the organisation.

Change is always made for good business reasons at the time, and with the best intentions of those leading the change. There will be an objective regarding the future of the business and goals set that have to be achieved. Much work will be done looking at future sales, markets, competition, organisational performance, budgets, resources, operating models, functions, staffing levels, resource levels, roles, etc., etc. All of these are the nuts and bolts of the business, and the organisational design puts it all together to achieve a desired end state. There is only one thing missing, one thing hardly ever considered – the emotional engagement of the people that will either make it work or not. Winning their hearts and minds. This is not simply communication, people management, or a token gesture towards keeping staff on-side to be seen to be doing the right thing, it is an authentic and genuine care for the impact on people, and delivered with complete integrity.

“Clients do not come first. Employees come first.”
– Richard Branson

The people that make a business what it is are not ‘Human Resources’. Resources suggest a business asset to be utilised (which is how many see them), and ‘Human’ is just a depersonalised term to refer to the fact they are living breathing human beings. The people that walk through the office door every morning are husbands, wives, sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, friends, carers, and so on. They have ambitions, fears, worries, stresses, beliefs, and values. They have ups and downs, good days and bad. They are all unique and how they respond to change is what makes the difference to any business. The best plans and models will be extremely painful and costly to deliver without the support of the people that will make it a reality. In practice people are pushed, cajoled, bribed, and otherwise encouraged and forced into the organisational structure and new roles. If they don’t fit, then ultimately, they are pushed out. They are simply expected to ‘get on board’ with the changes.

Every change has an effect on the most important component – the people that run the business. From boardroom to shop floor everyone one is potentially impacted by even the most modest of changes. How they respond has very little to do with their role, skillset, or career path. It has everything to do with who they are as a person, what else is going on in their lives at that time, and what they value. By making sure every individual is understood and supported through the change with empathy and integrity, many if not all can be kept completely engaged – the critical difference between success and failure. This should not be dismissed as being ‘soft’ or unnecessary, this should be encouraged as enlightened leadership. Emotional intelligence is widely reported as a critical leadership skill for the 21st century.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: April 2020
Format: Paperback
Pages: 116
Genre: Non-Fiction
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: N/A
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Brilliant Baxter at the Funfair

Carol Cordrey

An exciting visit to the Funfair for Eliza, her grandmother, Grinny, and their much loved Labrador, Brilliant Baxter. This story’s easy rhyme and vibrant illustrations are certain to delight both children and adults.


Brilliant Baxter at the Funfair is a short but sweet picture book story about a family dog being incredibly protective of his family. It is a lovely story that has the dog rescuing some children while at a fun fair before they all have more fun. It’s perfect for those that enjoy dogs and love how instinctive they can be when it comes to protection. I think that children in particular would happily read this book and look to their dogs for protection in the future. It would also work well to warn of some of the dangers of funfair rides as something to talk through with the child you’re reading with.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: May 2020
Format: Paperback
Pages: 20
Genre: Picture Book
Age: Children
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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Music as Medicine

Daphne Bryan PhD

Music can play an important part in our lives yet how many of us appreciate the effect it has on our brains, bodies and moods, or understand how we can use music as a medicine? Music has the power to reduce everyday symptoms, such as stress, insomnia, pain, depression, and even snoring, as well as helping challenges found in neurological conditions such as freezing and gait problems, and difficulties with voice and swallowing.
With modern advances in technology, scientists are now able to measure the precise effect of music on body and brain. Music as Medicine presents many research studies which have examined the effect of music on various conditions, and offers clear suggestions as to how readers can use music to reduce various symptoms, whether a person thinks themselves musical or not. It covers three aspects of musical involvement: listening to music, moving to music and making music.
Daphne Bryan, PhD, takes a special look at the benefits of music for neurological conditions, Parkinson’s in particular. Music stimulates many areas of the brain and in the case of damaged brains, it can activate alternative pathways to act in the place of damaged ones. Many of the symptoms discussed are also experienced by people with other diagnoses and by those who are otherwise fit and healthy so this book contains much that is relevant to all.


Extract

Using music to heal body and affect mood is not new. In the course of human history, music has been used not only as an art form but also as a tool for healing. Frescoes dating from 4000 BC, depicting harp playing priests and musicians, are probably the oldest examples which suggest that music was believed to have healing properties at that time.

In the Bible’s Old Testament, Saul was said to suffer from depressive symptoms and his servants suggested that they find someone who was a “cunning player on the harp” (1 Samuel chapter 16 v 16 Revised Version).

“And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took the harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.” (1 Samuel Chapter 16 v 23. Revised Version)

The ancient Greeks developed music as therapy, with Pythagoras proposing that body and soul could be influenced by music, through the understanding of music’s law and order (Dobrzinska et al 2006). The Pythagoreans employed music in their daily routine, playing music before bedtime to calm them and provide a good night’s sleep with pleasant dreams. On waking, they would play particular compositions on the lyre to shake off sleep and prepare them for the rigours of the day.

The philosopher Plato considered music to be “the medicine of the soul” (Gfeller 2002). He claimed in The Republic:

“Music is most sovereign because rhythm and harmony find their way to the inmost soul and take strongest hold upon it, imparting grace, if one is rightly trained.”

Aristotle also believed in music’s ability to heal, seeing it as providing relief from negative emotions (Dobrzinska et al 2006). He had a theory that song, wine, and women were the three necessary components to create an optimal environment for man (Ansdell 2004).

Many primitive cultures considered music an important part of everyday life. Native Americans used music in their healing rituals, often in the form of singing and chanting with percussive instruments. The United States Indian Bureau contains 1,500 songs used by Native Americans for healing purposes. In the Middle Ages, the importance of music for keeping well was so highly regarded that the law mandated that those studying medicine should also appreciate music. At this time, specific musical applications were suggested for particular medical problems, for example, music which alternated flute and harp was believed to be a remedy for gout.

A plague occurred in Germany in 1374 in which sufferers danced uncontrollably till they became unconscious through exhaustion. Thousands died, and more outbreaks occurred across Europe over the next two centuries. The only way of stopping the mania was to have a musician play for the afflicted dancer (Harvey 1980). At a similar time, the illness tarantism, thought to be caused by the bite of a tarantula, was believed to be cured by listening and dancing to the music of a ‘tarantella’, a folk dance with a fast, upbeat tempo. It is possible that the wild dancing helped the problem by separating the venom from the sufferer’s blood.

During the Renaissance, music continued to be used to treat mania and depression. The Italian sixteenth century theorist, Gioseffo Zarlino, believed that musical harmony had healing abilities. He suggested music could be used to relieve pain, depression, mania, the plague and even restore hearing. In 1899, an article in The Lancet by J.T.R. Davison titled ‘Music in Medicine’ led to the now growing interest in investigating music and health (Davison 1899).

For many thousands of years, therefore, people have believed music to have a place in healing, but what properties in music give it this power?

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: April 2020
Format: Paperback
Pages: 112
Genre: Non-Fiction
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: N/A
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Charles Dickens: My Life

Derwin Hope

When Charles Dickens died prematurely on the 9th June 1870 aged only 58, he left behind a legacy unsurpassed in English fictional literature. But he also wanted to write his true life story and this remained undone. 150 years on from his death, I have found that sufficient material has now been uncovered to enable that narrative of his life story to be produced for the first time. Research amongst 15,000 of his letters, journalistic articles, documents and other relevant material connected to him have all combined to make it possible for me to piece together that evidence and, guided by the way he wrote his two travel books, has resulted in the production of this personal story in his own words that he so desired to tell. It shows exactly how, from difficult beginnings, he descended into acute humiliation and abject poverty, before then emerging due to his talent and incredible resolve, into one of the most famous men and popular authors the world has ever known. It chronicles his enormous public triumphs and his profound private turmoils, as well as the secret life he led when, on his own admission, he became “seized with lunacy”. It includes his two momentous visits to America, and his withering and radical opinions of institutions and situations he found there, as well as those he encountered at home – all expressed in his own inimitable style. This is his compelling and personal narrative, put together for the first time in a way that he wished his legacy to be told. It is the real and true story of his life.


How I Researched My Book

After hearing that Dickens may have led a secret life, I began by reading modern biographies of him to try and find out more and then turned the clock back to read the 3 volumes on his life produced by his friend John Forster shortly after Dickens had died in1870. I still did not feel I knew the real and true story about him when, by chance in 2004, I became a Judge in Portsmouth. I visited the humble house of his birth and as I stood in the bedroom where he was born, the question went through my mind: ”How did he get from here to the life of fame he went on to lead, and how much of this did he explain in his own words?” I then began further research, focussing only on things that Dickens had said about his life. This included not only what he had told Forster in secret about his childhood, but studying in detail 15,000 of his letters that had now been published, details of what he had written in his journalism and other documents relating to him, as well as verbatim transcripts of his speeches and faithful reports from people who had witnessed other things that he had said. I put this gigantic jigsaw of his reporting of his life into a continuous narrative form using his words, so that for the first time in 150 years the true sequence of his life is set out as he had wanted to do himself, but had left undone by the time of his untimely death at the age of 58.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: May 2020
Format: Paperback
Pages: 536
Genre: Non-Fiction
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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Dawn of the Patriot

Okimi Peters

Plagued by the mysterious death of his older brother, the unassuming yet highly spirited 19 year old Ziik will be thrust on the daunting path to becoming a vigilante in the Third World. Progressively finding himself as a symbol of light through the shadows of Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria, Ziik must not only weave through the present day complexities of his homeland on his quest for justice; he must also learn to overcome himself to find peace.


Extract

Click here to see a few pages from the Graphic Novel!

Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 2020
Format: Paperback
Pages: 30
Genre: Graphic Novel
Age: YA
Reviewer: Faye
Source: N/A
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The War of the Snakes

Julian Cheek

“Dreams can’t be real, can they?”
Such is the gnawing question reverberating through Sam’s head as he battles with a dilemma, which refuses to be ignored.
In his dreams, he is always confronted by one simple point: Muanga-Atua exists! And for some un-asked for and un-wanted reason, he – Sam – is expected to save this place from the calamity that engulfs the people of the Turangai. Not only that, but he is also supposed to have some sort of incredible power by which he is expected to destroy both the Bjarke and their leader, Lord Elim, the Turangai’s oppressors.
“But that is ridiculous! Right?”
Determined to ignore all that occurs in this so-called ‘dream world’, he does nothing. That is until one cold, grey, autumn morning a TV news flash captures a shocking series of events, which leads to one undeniable truth; what he has tried to ignore all along in Muanga-Atua has somehow incredibly exploded into his world and it is searching… Searching for him.
His do-nothing approach is just not good enough. Not now. He will have to go back to Muanga-Atua to seek out this power he was supposed to have obtained. Find the power, accept what it can do through him, and go out into that awful place to do battle with someone, or something that makes his very blood run cold.
But how? How can he go into this world and be all that the Turangai think he is, when he still cannot accept the truth? That he is ‘The One’. Sam, Wielder of the Staff of the Ethereals and saviour of their world. And now, apparently, of his own as well.


Favourite Things About The Main Protagonist

My favourite things about Sam, the protagonist in the Ethereal Series trilogy, is that he is both loveable and incredibly frustrating. At times, you want to encourage him not to give up and at other times, you want to pull him into a quiet corner and slap him senseless!

I have grown up with boys and I can associate with how Sam copes with his feelings of rejection from both his parents and his peers. We find out, at an early stage of “The Awakened”, Book 1 of the Ethereal Series, that a traumatic loss in the family, drives his parents into their own black holes and they cannot cope or deal with their younger son, who was only ever looking for some answers to questions which had none. As the reader follows Sam through Book 1 and Book 2 (The War of the Snakes), one begins to see the battles that Sam is having to deal with, both imposed from the outside and created from his own feelings of inadequacy. It is hopefully a scenario which the readers will be able to associate with.

Furthermore, he is a young man who is also being forced to listen to his own testosterone which refuses to bend to his pleading. He cannot help himself at times, and this is one area that I enjoyed playing on, especially with his interaction with Alice, proprietress of “Timber’s Tea House, and, as an aside, leader of the Anahim, who happen to be spirit beings in charge of the worlds he interacts with. Here, he is never quite sure of himself and, what he finds incredibly frustrating, is that he cannot put his finger on what is happening that she is able to get under his skin.

On the other hand when he encounters both Ma-Aka and Pania in Muanga-Atua, we begin to see another side of him that he has kept hidden all these years; A caring, gentle soul who, ultimately, wants the best of those he comes into contact with.

I tried to make him a very believable and honest individual, one we all hopefully, can see elements of in ourselves. I enjoyed creating this character who, at times, is so physical in his stupidity, that the reader really wants to take him to oneside for a good telling off. If the character is real enough, then the reader will want to engage with him. And this, I have enjoyed creating through his stumbling slow realization that perhaps, just perhaps, he is worth a damn.

In short, the main characters of the story are split into the two worlds. The main character in both, is Sam, a 17-year old boy. In Sam’s “normal” world, his parents, Margot and Paul Gilbert, who are introduced to the reader in Book One, “The Awakened”, struggle to cope with the tragic loss of their eldest son, David; Sam’s brother and closest friend. Their overwhelming grief is so intense that they are unable to see how it is affecting their youngest son, Sam. This is purposely not made clear at the outset as I want the reader to start to journey with Sam in his angst and turmoil, (which is a pivotal element binding all three books together.) and start to associate themselves with the very real scenario that happens to many families when their world is torn apart by the loss of a family member.

Binding the two worlds together, is Alice, Proprietress of “Timbers Tea House” and, unbeknownst to Sam, an Anahim, (a powerful and magical “angel” of sorts, sent by the Ethereals, the ultimate spiritual powers in Muanga-Atua) sent from the alternate reality to watch over him and hopefully, guide him into becoming what his destiny demands of him. Again, I did not want the reader to know this at first, but I have tried to weave the words in such a way so that the reader starts to guess but is never quite sure until the right moment.

In the alternate reality, Muanga-Atua, which he accesses whilst dreaming, Sam’s main “partner” is Babu, a Padme. In Muanga-Atua, no-one can exist without a Padme, which is revealed to each person when they reach a certain age. The fact that Babu happens to be a small, furry, lethal fang-bearing, snake-tailed apparition,does not endear him to Sam to start with. In the beginning, the reader is introduced to the fact that, for some reason, Sam has been to this place before, but cannot remember why. So whenever he meets other people who all seem to know him, his natural inclination is to strike out at them in defense, a trait roughly taught by his feelings of a total lack of love from his parents over the loss of his brother David, for which he blames himself!

In book One, the reader is introduced to a further three main characters who all interact with Sam during his journey. Ma-Aka, Pania and Ngaire are all woven into Sam’s world and become an unbreakable trio of companionship, friendship and love. In Book Two, these characters remain but now the reader is introduced more fully into the world of Muanga-Atua being introduced to five unique and challenging monks of the realm together with three strange men who become lifelong aids to his plight. The lives and workings of the Bjarke, the sworn enemy of the Turangai, are drawn out in stronger detail together with the direction behind the scenes of Lord Elim, the main person responsible for Sam losing his memory in the first place.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: April 2020
Format: Paperback
Pages: 600
Genre: Fantasy
Age: YA
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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