Archive for the ‘Big Book’ Category

Into The Summerland

Julian Cundy

The eternal question – what happens when we die? Is there a consequence from how we lived? Is there a reckoning?
Henry Ashton’s turbulent life is at an end. As he moves on from this world, he discovers how elusive the final peace can be.
With a spirit companion by his side, Henry learns there can be no peace without reconciliation, no rest without acceptance. He must walk his own path to absolution.
“For some souls the transition from mortal life to eternal peace is an easy one, soon completed. For others, who have been troubled in their life or who cannot reconcile the events and their part in them, the journey is longer…and harder. But every soul will find its rest.”


What is your favourite thing about writing books? Who is your favourite character in your book and why? What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?
My favourite thing when writing books is that moment when you hit the synergy. You’ve got the idea, you’ve figured out how you are going to express it and – finally – you’ve got the right words to set down. I have been sitting chuckling away to myself, sometimes with tears, sometimes with electricity crackling in my veins at that moment when it all comes together.
That’s when you don’t care if it’s a best seller or just one that your Mum likes. It’s the moment that you validate yourself as a writer and enjoy the achievement.
In a wider sense, the great thing about writing books is that you have time and space to develop your ideas, opinions and present them in a measured way. In the heat of discussion, debate, argument and confrontation it is often hard to remain focused. At the desk, you can take your time, articulate your thoughts and let the words flow.
My favourite character in my new novella Into the Summerland is the main protagonist Henry. He has all attributes we admire and find frustrating in the war baby generation: Stoic and principled, stubborn and prejudiced. His development and eventual reclamation, whilst keeping his dignity intact is what I’d wish for to all those souls.
My favourite writing drink is tea (of course!) Steaming hot, strong with a little sugar to taste.
If I’m wanting to relax my mind into the nocturnal zone, I will quaff some Southern Comfort with Coke.

Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
Since I quit smoking (5 years and counting!) I’ve been on the look-out for a new bad habit.
Since most of my downtime waiting for the next burst of inspiration involves walking miles and miles along the Essex coast, I don’t really suffer from indulging in any foodie treats.
I guess the worst thing that those around would say is that when I’m in the writing mindset, I get real tunnel vision to the point that the house could be on fire and I’d keep typing. But they’re all pretty considerate and I do take everyone out to dinner to celebrate once it’s all done!

How do you research your books?
With Into the Summerland there were many references to faiths both old and new. Not overtly, I wanted to keep them subtle! But it’s critical if you are going to stray into areas that are special to people that you get it right. The old religions as well as new ones, along with general philosophies and modern life coaching tips have more in common than their followers would admit, but woe betide you for a misplaced edict! My collection of online bookmarks and library of reference books grew quite a lot during that period.
If I’m writing in the ‘real’ world then I spend a lot of time checking timetables for planes, trains and ferries. Time zones, languages and currencies all have to be right if you want to be taken seriously when writing an international thriller.
It’s also always good fun to go out and meet the experts where you can. I walked into Chelmsford Police station a few years ago to check the exact wording of a caution, much to the desk sergeant’s bemusement. Maybe I should have reflected that “You do not have to say anything…”
On a very practical level, when I’m reviewing the manuscript, I’ll make sure the story is hanging together, whilst drawing big blue crosses next to the entries where something needs to be checked. It’s important to get things right, but not as important as making sure you’ve written a great story!

Are you a plotter or a pantser?
When I get the first sketch of an idea, I figure out how it’s going to start and end. What the key plot slices are and which characters need to end up where. Then it’s just a case of how they all get there.
Which I guess makes me the classic Planster. I need the signposts, but I need freedom so the story can be flexible.
I can’t imagine having everything worked out in advance. That would be too restrictive. But I can’t imagine an open-ended writing odyssey without even the slightest notion of a destination.
When writing a previous book, things were really not working out right. I’d completed the manuscript but wasn’t happy. So I changed the ending, removed a couple of chapters and gave one of the main characters a wife.
All of which needed new back stories and a new plot line to get the now-married character to the critical part of the story. As well as a forensic line-by-line re-examination for impacts.
It was at times tortuous, but I came out with a much better book. Upshot being I guess that I need to work on my inner panster!

If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
As my Steampunk style would suggest, something within the 19th century, where the worlds of Charles Dickens and HG Wells would come together in a cacophony of social rectitude and dazzling, anarchic adventure!
I’d revel in the exchanges of social niceties, knowing the underlying tensions that crackle under the surface. I’d join the mad inventors, reaching to the skies and beyond in challenging all known laws of physics, time and gravity.
I’d pick from the finest collection of gentleman’s attire and walk out along the fine streets of London, then donate the rest to the desperately poor that even to this day still live among us.
I’d attend the presentations of the most overblown, sumptuous launches, toasting the lunatics pledging to venture to the moon and back before the smoky chimes of Big Ben call all good subjects to their beds.
There must be fun, or life has no meaning. And there must be compassion or life has no purpose.

If you could befriend any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
Sydney Carton from A Tale of Two Cities. A tragic hero. A waster who falls in love with Lucie Manette, already pledged and then married to Charles Darnay.
Sydney has no time for social niceties and apparently has no concern over how he is perceived. His careless manner belies the relentless drive – initially we believe catapulting him towards an early demise.
Whatever Dickens plugged into to bring this fascinating character to life, I recognise and understand totally. In a world that requires conformity, the rebel shall find mischief, mirth but a long road to peace.
His triumph – and final valediction is by laying down his life for the man who makes his true love happy. He has no affection for Darnay, but complete devotion to his unattainable wife.
I’m sure that Sydney would be highly suspicious, if not highly amused by my interest in him. But he would be splendid company. And spending an evening with a bowl of punch in a tavern with him would be wonderful!

About the Author

Living in Westcliff-on-Sea Essex, Julian Cundy is a British adventurer, dedicated day dreamer, wordsmith and observer of life and all its absurdities. He is a recognisable character in his home town thanks to his eye-catching outfits comprising fine hats, cravats, tails and spats.

Publisher: Little Bang Publishing
Publication Date: March 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages: 77
Genre: Spiritual
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy

The Awakened

Julian Cheek

My name is Sam. I am nothing special but apparently if I don’t wake up, both this world and that other one will be destroyed. Nice One! All I wanted was to disappear into my own world and be left alone. But, No! Even THAT was taken away from me.
Well just wait. You want me to fight? I’ll show you “fight.”
You took the most important thing in my life away from me, and now I am coming for you.
Hidden away in your mountain stronghold, even the rocks around you will not stop me getting to you.
You started this war.
I am going to finish it!
Seventeen year old Sam just wants to be left alone!
He has enough to cope with in his invisible, suburban, existence without having some fantastic and, frankly, unasked-for, alternate reality drop into his life asserting that he has powers beyond his wildest dreams. And that unless he does something, both his world, and that of Muanga-Atua, will come to a horrible end.
A terrifying episode one blustery night may be enough to start to erode the impregnable shell he thought he had built up around himself. A shell, not to keep others out, but to keep the rage in. Could he afford, as was the norm now, just to do nothing?


What is your favourite thing about writing books?
For me, my favourite things is the wrestling, trying to find the right/best way to describe a scene such that the reader is instantly transported into that environment, regardless as to whether they have ever experienced the same for themselves or not. And when there, for them to then associate with the scene, experience or event unfolding, and this, star to associate with the story as a whole

Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
Alice! I loved playing with the fact that she is a total enigma to Sam. He doesn’t know whether to blush, curse, get frustrated or run away, but there is something about Alice that gets under his skin, so he is almost powerless to keep away from her. Without giving too much of the story away, Alice is also key to Muanga-Atua, the alternative world Sam discovers. The reader is slowly introduced to her, and hopefully, is kept guessing till the very end.

What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?
Part of the reason for writing this trilogy, (of which “The Awakened” is book one) is because when my partner and I went to New Zealand on sabbatical, we were so amazed with the place, in terms of the scenery, culture, grandeur… and coffee, that we wrote a blog (http://www.hobbitsandseals.wordpress.com) about our experiences, and interestingly, an awful lot of coffee is consumed. So, coffee, which I find comforting, or a G&T, which is of course, the best cold drink, ever

Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
Of course not! Although I am sure my partner, Mitch, would easily be able to rattle off numerous habits, which, whilst not bad in themselves, annoy her! I will leave it for her to come to my rescue. Probably looking out the window and day-dreaming, rather than concentrating on the subject at hand…. And waffling, I am very good at just rambling on and on and…. Hmmm. Enough said.

How do you research your books?
I do a lot of reading and go online frequently during research periods. Another aspect, for example, when describing the scene in Paris (and, no, I will not be writing any spoiler alerts here!) is that we travel a lot and soak up the culture and landscapes as much as possible. We both write, and this comes naturally to us, so we are not describing areas or places which are unrealistic.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I take my writing seriously and so I would describe myself generally as a plotter. The story needs to have some structure from which to build itself. However, once I have refined this “skeleton” I would rather that certain aspects are allowed to wander into the “pantser” home, rip off the curtains and turn up the music till the windows crack. Both feed off each other.

If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
In Piers Anthony’s Adept Series, he paints a fantastic world called “Phaze”. If one could combine the world of Phaze with that of Lord of the Rings, that is where I would like to live. I love wide open scenery with huge mountains that break the skyline, and then disappear into the forests where mankind becomes so small in relation to the ageless trees, earth and nature.

If you could befriend any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
Thomas Covenant, from the Stephen Donaldson series, would probably be the one fictional character I would love to try to befriend. It would be fascinating to sit with him and learn all about wisdom carved from adversary. But, like most best friends, it would be bloody difficult to stop myself thumping him at times for his sheer bloody-mindedness. Sorry, am I allowed to say, “bloody”? No? Bugger!

About the Author

Living in Petersfield, Hampshire, Julian Cheek has worked for over thirty years as an architect working on several major projects including Mercedes World, a competition for Battersea Power Station, NikeTown and most recently a high rise, Versace branded residential building in London. When not designing he is embracing his other creative interests, writing. His first book, You should not wake a hibernating Puff-Adder (2011) was a series of short stories inspired by his childhood growing up in South Africa.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: June 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages: 306
Genre: Fantasy
Age: YA
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy

The Past is Present

Kathleen Webb

After the untimely death of her mother and father, twenty-four year old Catherine Morgan leaves the Cambridge home where she has spent the better part of her life, to move to Cornwall. She takes a job as a teacher, working in an old rambling school which has been converted from a domestic home, perched high up on a hilltop, overlooking the beautiful Cornish coastline.
Out of the blue a letter arrives from a bank in Switzerland, advising Catherine that she is the sole heir to a fortune of over thirty million dollars. With no living relatives, save for a great aunt in the USA, Catherine sets out to uncover the source of this staggering inheritance, and to unravel the mystery that lies behind it.
With the help of her great aunt, Catherine begins to dig deep into long forgotten family secrets. Strange dreams begin to plague her. She is haunted by the eerie feeling that someone from her family’s past is trying to help her. Catherine must work to make sense of the past while defending herself, and her fortune, from someone in the present who will stop at nothing to secure the money for themselves.
The Past is Present is the debut novel by Kathleen Webb.


My favourite thing about writing books
I think my favourite aspect of writing is plotting the story line. All the twist and turns gradually come together and the characters come to life!

My favourite character in my book
My favourite character in my book is Great Aunt Izzy. She is quirky and a little eccentric. At the age of 83 she wears long Laura Ashley floral frocks, floppy hats and trainers, but she is highly intelligent and quite canny!

My favourite drink while writing
My favourite drink when I write is a nice cup of tea, several in fact, together with a slice of homemade cake!

Bad habits whilst writing
The only bad habit I think I have is ‘grazing’. I tend to graze on nuts, chopped fruit, dates etc. It helps me concentrate on the plot and keeps my energy levels up. Not good for the waistline!!

How do I research
I research nearly all information on line. I do have a set of encyclopaedias which I refer to from time to time.

Am I a plotter or a pantser
I am definitely a plotter. I devise the beginning and the end and fill in the body of the story as I go along.

Which fictional world would I live in?
I would live in the world of St. Mary Meade; the village in which Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple lives. This period of history is fascinating and the village looks beautiful.

Which fictional character would I befriend?
This would definitely be Miss Marple. She is such an interesting clever character. She comes across as unassuming, but has a wonderful knack of solving all the mysteries.

About the Author

Living in Hertfordshire, Kathleen Webb has always held a passion for writing and since retiring she’s finally found the time to realise her dream and complete her first novel. When not writing she can be found spending quality time with her grandchildren and children and baking delicious decorative cakes.

Publisher: ClinkStreet Publishing
Publication Date: June 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages: 256
Genre: Contemporary Horror
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy

Fabulous Riders

Ryan Bloodworth

Hackney, east London in the early 90’s and jungle music —a fusion of Caribbean culture, rave music and the multicultural city itself— is erupting from its roots to capture the imagination of people from all walks of life. Raves are taking over the city’s underground music scene and the likes of M-Beat, General Levy and Kenny Ken are dominating the pirate radio stations. People are queueing down the street on Saturday nights to enter Paradise Club in Islington, continuing the party on Sundays at Thunder & Joy on Tottenham Court Road and later would be lining up to listen to early Fabio and Grooverider at Rage, Charing Cross. Amongst the energetic beats blaring out across the city, east Londoner and DJ Alex, of Jamaican descent, is adding his own sound to the mix alongside his mate Nathan.
Through their shared love of music and nights spent at the cutting houses a strong and beautiful friendship arises. But with the rave scene of the 90’s came the pills, certain rivalries and the ‘haters’. And one night, Nathan discovers Alex in his flat in a state of psychotic paranoia…


What is your favourite thing about writing books?
I write at night and I love the feeling of being cocooned in my living room exploring the depths of my mind. I usually read for a couple of hours and then I will write further into the night. I love how ideas create themselves as my writing progresses – the writing takes on a life of its own and I feel a great sense of satisfaction from thoroughly expressing myself.

Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
Naturally, my favourite character is Alex – who is the main focus of the novel. Many of my heroes are Black musicians; this includes John Coltrane, Bob Marley, and many Blues and Jazz musicians. I also have more contemporary heroes from Drum and Base music and Detroit Techno with DJs such as Fabio and Grooverider, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson. Quite honestly, I am very impressed with these people as men. They are truly great men. I wanted to express this admiration through the character Alex and illustrate how we have a firm basis for friendship.

What is your favourite drink to consume while your writing?
I drink lots of coffee! This is partly to get me through the night but also I like a caffeine buzz to get my mind working.

Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
Yes I do. I smoke. I find smoking very helpful to get my mind working and I like to contemplate with a cigarette.

How do you research your books?
I spend several hours a day reading anything from philosophy to history and politics. I also listen to a lot of music. I find the best way to learn about anything is to have a real interest in the subject. I find learning about history and music a great pleasure. This way I retain a lot of information.

Are you a plotter or a panter?
This is my first novel and really I think I am still developing my writing technique. Having said that, my general approach to writing a novel is to firstly spend a lot of time thinking creatively about it. Whether I’m watching TV or driving, I’ll spend hours just thinking about what I want to write. I then read and research widely. I start writing when I feel I have a good idea of what I want to write – I may write several drafts as I hone my writing. I do not strictly plot my novels – I really like my writing to take on a creative energy in the moment and I see what comes out. I like to write in a way that an improvising jazz musician would play.

If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
I am a huge Tolkien fan. It would be great to explore the world of the Lord of the Rings. It is a mythical world full of wonders and magic. I like to think of myself as something of an ancient warrior. Although, I might find the orcs a bit scary!

If you could befriend any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
Again, as a Tolkien fan it would be a character in the Lord of the Rings. It is very hard to choose between the central heroes of Frodo, Gandalf, and Aragon. I think perhaps I would choose Aragon as I have a great love for the archetypal warrior heroes. I would like to be a guest in Gondor and enjoy the splendour of his Kingship.

About the Author

Ryan Bloodworth lives in Surrey, UK. He has studied western philosophy at academic level and has an interest in Eastern religions and spirituality. Since clubbing in the 90s, Ryan has developed a love and vast knowledge of electronic dance music. From Detroit Techno to UK Drum n Bass, Ryan has sought to bring these inspiring music forms into his writing..

Publisher: CreateSpace
Publication Date: March 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages: 159
Genre: Contemporary
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy

The World is Never Enough

Sarah Donohue

This is the action packed story of a female racing driver and stuntwoman who lives life on the edge and enjoys every extreme moment of it… A thrill-seeker by day and glamorous showgirl by night, Sarah Donohue believes in living out her dreams and living life to the full bringing colour and laughter to the lives of everyone around her.
Even after a high-speed powerboat crash putting her on a life-support machine, Sarah didn’t let dying for four minutes or a face held together by titanium plates dampen her spirits. The crash was documented as one of the worst crashes seen in powerboat racings history yet Sarah returned back to racing with BBC’s ‘999’ and ‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not’ hiring her as the stuntwoman to re-enact her own near fatal experience. Soon after she became the European powerboat champion. Her journey of triumph over adversity is both inspiring and extreme.
This story of life will take the reader through a roller coaster of emotions as Sarah experiences the highest of highs on podium tops to the lowest of lows as she suffers jealous cyber abusers. The funny stories recalled as a forces pinup and staunch supporter of the military through to the not so funny story of Sarah enduring Donald Trump, the now president of the United States of America and his legal team for almost four years.
This feisty girl from Yorkshire loves life and puts as much into it as she can whilst taking anything it throws back at her remaining positive and up beat. This shows that even the impossible can be made possible with the right attitude no matter who you are or where you come from. A motivational, funny and inspirational book showing one woman’s journey on taking on any challenge head to head and her world-renowned success in the male dominated sport of offshore powerboat racing. Even death becomes her.


What was your favourite thing about writing The World is Never Enough?
For me the best thing about writing The World Is Never Enough was recalling events and stories. I took a notebook everywhere I went and when I remembered something I wrote it down.
One memory led to another memory which would then spark off even more memories and in the life of racing in an all male environment or doing stunt work there are so many stories that unless you were there would have hard time believing they were true.
I loved that stories once buried and forgotten could be remembered and injected with life and I would telephone my race friends who were a part of the story to make sure they were happy for me to use their real names. They would then jolt my memory into other stories and it was almost like reliving the past and the best moments of my life. Writing it has had me laughing out loud at some points and remembering friends past and present with great fondness.

How important is it to you that women feel empowered in life?
Women feeling empowered is very important. I come from a childhood where I was brought up with 6 boys and then I started racing powerboats which is male dominated, so I have never felt any form of weakness or that of being afraid or lacking in anything. I have always been incredibly confident where if people couldn’t see me they could hear me. Nothing had ever bothered me, even my racing crash had little effect, only the cyber abuse hit me hard. I was naturally a powerful female without even knowing it.
It was when I started running Miss Galaxy Universe which was an athletics show for women I realised just how much normal life affected so many women and how many women seemed broken in some way. I then geared my show into an empowerment show and changed many aspects to be able to assess, help and give strength and knowledge to those that needed it by motivating them. Myself and my team changed the lives of 100s of women over the years and gave them a new outlook in life, taught them how to walk with their head held high.
One woman who had cried her heart out the first day I met her and ran out of the class because she was so scared about being in the same room as other women she deemed stronger than herself, I spent much time with. A matter of months went by and she was a changed person and soon burst into one of our fitness and motivation classes with the joys of spring saying hello to everyone and told me she had left her husband, quit her job, moved out of the house she shared with him and had a new job and was feeling great!
I have tons of stories like this. I love it when a girl grabs life and shakes it and changes direction releasing herself from the shackles and becomes stronger. I also loved the fact that my girls always worked as a team. A group of girls is very powerful and they inject strength into each other. Empowering females is what I’m most proud of because myself and my team did it so well and helped so many achieve goals and overcome obstacles and self-doubt.

What is your favourite thing about powerboat racing?
My favourite part of racing has always been the lads I race with. Depending where you race and what you race depends who you meet but all the guys all over the world are amazing. All my closest friends past and present are racers. I never met a racer I didn’t like and I have such a laugh with all of them as I have the same sense of humour being brought up with six boys. We always joke and say powerboating gets in the way of a really good weekend.
The post race banter and drinks is always fun and I just feel at home when I’m with the lads, there isn’t a safer or more comfortable place I could be than with them, all of them and as time moves on and as they retire I miss them but still keep in contact.

What advice would you give to a female who wants to learn how to powerboat race?
If there is a female wanting to race then I am more than happy for her to contact me via my website. I can then put her in touch with someone who gives opportunities but they have to work hard and it will be a different type of racing than I do but more accessible.
Remember it will take up all your weekends with training and preparing or being away at races. Your races will be all over the UK so don’t expect glam locations and hot weather. It gets cold and wet and miserable however the enjoyment out weighs all of that.
Even girls new in the sport will have to pay their own way unless they have someone who can sponsor them, but it would be rare to get a sponsor if they are new. So always remember even if you are taken on to trial to see if you like it. Accommodation, travel and expenses will always be your own. But if you aren’t willing to shell out when the real costs are being covered then the sport isn’t for you. Powerboat racing is about long hard days, but it’s also the most wonderful community of amazing people and is a huge family.
There isn’t a school to learn to race, in reality you either need to know someone who races or have money. You won’t be handed anything on a plate.

Do you have a favourite race that you’ve participated in?
A favourite race is a hard one to choose. No two races are the same and every event is special for different reasons. In one of the chapters I talk about a race with Martin Lai I think in Portugal where I tensed and made myself a small target whilst in the boat going at speed because I thought we were pretty much dead as my steering had broken. I loved the near death experience and the rush I got when it was over and we were still alive. It was so funny.
Favourite races aren’t always about being on the water and winning and being on that podium. Winning the European title was great, but sometimes it’s the fun we have in and around the pits and I think that all my favourite races have been in Italy because I love the Italian racers and they always treat me like a sister and for me that’s important. We know that every time we get in a boat it’s going to be exciting and we will get the desired adrenaline rush, so sometimes the camaraderie teamed with the weather and hospitality makes the entire event special.

About the Author

Born and raised in Saddleworth, Yorkshire born Sarah Donohue has enjoyed over twenty five years competing as a powerboat racer, and is currently the most successful female competitor within the sport. She’ll be returning to race again this year in the US and Hong Kong as the face of the Asia Powerboat Series. As well as racing, Sarah is a qualified personal trainer, international Tri-Fitness champion and, between the years of 2011-2017, created and ran the annual Miss Galaxy Universe fitness competitions in the UK.

Publisher: Deringer Publishing
Publication Date: June 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages: 232
Genre: Non-Fiction
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy

Life Satisfaction: A Scientists Guide

Dr Leo Lafferty-Whyte

Feeling Stuck? Sick of trying to improve your life only to give up half way or, worse, not feel much better when you get there? Then this approach is for you! In this tale of two halves Dr. Leo presents his no-nonsense Triple ‘H’ approach to improving your life satisfaction. In the first part of the book you’ll be provided with everything you need to identify the areas to work on for maximum results: you will set goals and install the framework around them for lasting success! In the second part you will read Leo’s personal journey using the Triple ‘H’ approach, documenting the successes and challenges he faced along the way and the astounding results he got in just four weeks


About the Author

Dr Leo Lafferty-Whyte grew up in the North East of Scotland in the 80’s and 90’s. Leo’s young life was traumatic in a number of ways. Sexually abused at the age of 5 he blocked out much of his younger childhood to allow him to survive the trauma. As a teenager he suffered mental and physical abuse on a daily basis simply for being gay. Fellow students would spit on, kick punch and shout at him every day. Over the years it escalated to assaults and attempted murder. Despite the abuse he was blessed with an attitude of not letting them win and work hard to gain the qualifications that would allow him to move on to a better life.

He used his past traumas to fuel his hunger for self improvement and adopted the life goal of leaving the world a better place than when he entered it.

Upon the death of his beloved grandfather he decided to do that by entering science and trying to contribute to the knowledge that may one day lead to effective treatments for cance. Upon leaving home he therefore went to university in Aberdeen to study Genetics and Immunology and later a PhD in Molecular Oncology at the University of Glasgow. After publishing multiple scientific publications and a successful PhD he entered the industrial and commercial side of science with an aim of helping as many scientists as possible be successful in their research either through provision of services, information or support. During his time in industry he has held roles in direct customer support, global support management, sales and as director of a product division. Throughout his scientific career Leo had used various life coaches to help him to grow and remain motivated towards his goals. In 2015 he worked with Aaron Swales from Virtual Trainer to finally beat his weight issues. Brimming with new found self-belief, and after several years management experience, Leo realized that his true skill was in coaching and mentoring people to success. This was a further way to meet his life goal and help improve the world one person at a time.

Leo therefore went on to study and receive his life coaching accreditation and launch Triple ‘H’ Coaching in Glasgow in 2016. He quickly noticed however that not everyone could afford a coach but everyone would benefit from one. Leo therefore aimed to try and find ways to help as many people as possible through coaching without the barrier of fees for most. As well as providing one to one paid and pro bono coaching, Leo launched the Triple H Coaching mobile app in 2016. By providing videos and exercises for free in the app Leo aimed to ensure that life coaching was available to everyone without the often high barrier of fees. He also continues to provide frequent tips and tricks by video through social media as well as 7 days free coaching to members of his Facebook group: I DESERVE more! In 2017 Leo’s past traumas caught up with him and he suffered a serious mental health crisis leading him to put a pause on coaching until he recovered in 2018. Diagnosed with PTSD he underwent extensive therapy and found the healing powers of writing. He undertook an exercise to air his deamons by writing his traumas and then addressing himself at those times with advise in the form of letters. The exercise went on to form his first book, Reliving the Past to Release the Present. This surprisingly hit the top 10 ranking in kindle LGBT true Life stories shortly after publication. Leo launched his second book, Life Satisfaction: A Scientist’s Guide on the 5th of May 2018 where he shares his life coaching methodologies that have been developed over the course of 20 years, alongside his own success story in applying them.

With a PhD in Molecular Oncology as well as an experienced accredited Life Coach Leo brings an unusual mix of scientific and motivational tones to his work alongside an often humourous and captivating voice. Leo’s coaching methodologies try to bring a light tone to what could otherwise be heavy work and his autobiography makes light from the darkness by pulling out lessons learned that others can learn from without experiencing the trauma.

Leo currently lives in North Ayrshire with his partner of 12 years and Newfoundland “Bear” (who is also the Chief Executive Animal of Triple H Coaching). A self-confessed gaming addict, LARP enthusiast and nature lover Leo when not found fighting evil in a fantasy game (live or otherwise) he can often be found up a hill or in a woodland enjoying the beauty of nature. For more information or to apply to be coached directly by Leo see www.triplehcoaching.com or email here.

Publisher: CreateSpace
Publication Date: April 2018
Format: Kindle
Pages: 208
Genre: Non-Fiction
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy

Granite Grit

Lee Cooper

Young family man Joe is haunted by demons from a childhood blighted by his father, a notorious criminal and brutal street fighter. When he beat up Joe’s mother, she killed herself, then the bully abandoned him.
When Joe loses his job and spirals into debt, he turns to what he knows: Boxing. He’s forced into the clutches of criminal Mr Dean, and the brutal world of unlicensed bare knuckle fighting, relishing his bloody victories…until he realises he’s becoming like his father he despises.
Joe is desperate to confront his father…and kill him. The only way is to defeat The Reaper, a psychopathic fighter and killer, to gain the notoriety to enter his father’s murky world. Bur first, Joe must overcome his demons. Will he Win?


About the Author

Lee Cooper was born in the seaside town of Banff, Aberdeenshire in 1984, and faced adversity from birth with a severe club foot. Growing up in Turriff. Learning to walk in a plaster, he endured many operations up to the age of 17. Against all odds, he became an electrician, and in his late teens, took up kickboxing at the Satorishido club in Fraserbough. He won two Scottish titles and a Celtic title, competing for 5 years. A few years ago, life hit Lee hard, with his beloved granny and mum suffering from cancer at the same time. His mental health took a battering, like his kickboxing opponents in the boxing-rings. Yet, the determined fighter says he sometimes lacked the killer instinct. He found it with his blistering debut page-turner…

Publisher: Feed a Read Publishers
Publication Date: December 2015
Format: Kindle
Pages: 277
Genre: Contemporary
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy

The Well Deceived

Isaac Kuhnberg

A thought-provoking mystery in turns comic and disturbing, set in a country that resembles England in the 1950s, with one crucial difference. No women.
William Riddle is a scholar at Bune, the ancient public school where the sons of Anglia’s first families are prepared for a leading role in society. His first few weeks are a miserable round of bullying and abuse, until he makes a friend: Paul Purkis, son of a government minister. Together they create a grotesque private world, known as Malcaster, populated by criminals and deviants, as an outlet for their contempt for the school and its staff.
Overnight William’s world collapses. He is called into the headmaster’s office and told that his scientist father has committed an unspecified act of treason. William is hauled off to a detention centre to be interrogated. Escaping, he finds refuge in the louche sub-culture of the capital city, and comes to learn that everything he has ever been taught is a complete fabrication.


What is your favourite thing about writing books?
Getting an insight as I write a scene – as often as not this is something I had never realised before.

Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
Paul Purkis, because he befriends someone who is unpopular, and remains loyal to him.

What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?
It has to be coffee, I’m afraid – it kick-starts the writing process and keeps me writing. I drink it strong and black, served in small measures from a stainless steel cafetière, which keeps it warm for hours.

Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
Drinking coffee, as I said before. It raises my blood pressure, makes me jittery, and stops me sleeping, but I drink it all the same.

How do you research your books?
Mostly these days on the internet, but I also keep a good atlas and other reference books beside my desk, including a dictionary of quotations, a dictionary of proverbs, and an encyclopaedia of anatomy.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Both. I mull over a situation, decide on a narrator, then when I am in front of the keyboard I put the two together, and let the narrator do the work.

If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
Narnia, as it was in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; because I could enjoy a wonderful tea with Mr Tumnus, and be there for the return of Aslan and the end of winter.

If you could befriend any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
Ralph Touchett in Portrait of a Lady, because he is clever and entertaining and truthful, and an infallible judge of character.


About the Author
Splitting his time between the South of France and Cambridge, Issac Kuhnberg enjoys spending his time writing and painting. At The University of Hull he gained his PhD in English focussing on the novels and authors of the 1930’s, including Christopher Isherwood and Evelyn Waugh, which would later inspired his own writing. His debut novel The Well Deceived by Issac Kuhnberg (published by Clink Street Publishing 15th May 2018) is available to purchase from online retailers including Amazon and to order from all good bookstores.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: May 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages:
Genre: Dystopia
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy

Curse of the Nomed

B. B. Taylor

Ancient Gods, a cursed Librarian and a battle to save their souls. How hard could the first day of school really be? Welcome to Nomed Academy! An epic adventure for three unsuspecting year seven students as they embark on their first day of school. One they will never forget. But can they really defeat an ancient Egyptian God with nothing but revenge on his mind? All net profits from the sale of this book go to Partnership for Children, a mental health charity supporting the positive mental health of children.


After hearing about how this book came to be, I could not wait to read it. A group of year eight students came up with the idea and B. B. Taylor brought it to life. Now all the profit from the book will be going to a mental health charity. Add to that an enticing summary and I simply had to give this book a try. Fortunately, it is a decision I am glad I made. It is a short read and just over 100 pages but it definitely packs a punch. It’s full of adventure, excitement and danger. It is the perfect book to keep you entertained for a few hours and I am sure it will be loved by lots of teenagers.

In this book, the three main characters start of not knowing much about each other nor having much strength. By the end of the book, you can tell that they will be friends for life and are the strongest trio in the school. This occurs as they use their own personal knowledge and strength to surpass the challenges that they have to face in the midst of their adventures. Together they have to work as a team to save the school from deadly sources. But do they have it in them to succeed?

I absolutely loved the way this book uses Ancient Egypt at the centre of the story. I loved the Librarian, and I just thought the trio were really interesting to read about as well. This was a very quick but entertaining read that I would happily recommend to others. It’s a fast-paced, adventure filled book that will have your heart racing as you hope that the trio will triumph instead of fail. Plus, it’s all worth it to get to the very end of the book too. After all, what will happen next?

Verdict: An entertaining, interesting, and heart-racing book that will keep you turning the page until you know that everything works out okay… or does it?

Reviewed by Faye

Publisher: Weird N Wonderful Tales
Publication Date: May 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages: 116
Genre: Fantasy
Age: YA
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy

On Holy Ground

Louise Cole

Saving the world was just the start.
In The Devil’s Poetry, Callie gambled with her life to stop a war. And she won. But now the game has changed. A Reader who understands the Book’s magic is either a savior or a curse – what she can’t be is free. When Callie stranded in the US, hunted and penniless, she desperately needs allies. But whose agenda can she trust? She must re-evaluate everything she knows, and find a way to escape, or die trying. Don’t miss the riveting sequel to The Devil’s Poetry.


After finishing The Devil’s Poetry, I was itching to get my hands on the On Holy Ground. There is something so pulling about Louise Cole’s writing. It sucks you into the story and makes you yearn for more. This was especially true during On Holy Ground. Right from the very first sentence, my heart rate increased and I had to continue reading. There was absolutely no way I could stop reading before I got to the end of the book. Once again, Louise Cole has written a fantastic book that you really do not want to miss out on.

One of the things I find really wonderful about Louise‘s books is the way that the narration flips between different characters throughout the story, which not only gives you a more rounded view of everything going on but really builds up the tension inside the book. The main genre of this book is definitely fantasy, whereby a book can save the world and break it at the same time, but it also has brilliant characteristics of a thriller too. With lots of different things going on at the same time and everyone having different agendas, it is easy to see how she manages to create such an intense and ultimately page-turning novel that is incredibly hard to put down.

Once again, Callie is a strong character who really pulls the story along. I felt for her throughout a lot of the book and was so invested in her story and everything that was going on around her. I had to know what was happening and where everything was headed. Fortunately, Louise Cole did not disappoint. She has written a very strong and entertaining sequel to her first book and I know that I am intrinsically hooked on her writing now. I will definitely be reading every single book that she writes from now on. Moreover, I would also highly recommend this series so if you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, make sure you do that soon!

Verdict: A fast-paced, heart-racing, intense sequel that is an absolutely stunning read that you do not want to miss out on.

Reviewed by Faye

Publisher: Valkyrie Books
Publication Date: April 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages: 400
Genre: Fantasy
Age: YA
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy