Posts Tagged ‘non fiction’

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.


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.


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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Super Nutrition

Terry McIlroy

We have all uttered these phrases at one time or another:
“Your health is your wealth.”
“You are what you eat.”
Deep down, we all know, that what we choose to eat and drink has a massive impact on our health.
Confused about your nutritional needs? Not anymore! With a clear focus on sourcing the right ingredients, including condiments, herbs, spices & organic produce, we can all take advantage of, and unlock thepowerful nutrients within them, to try and ensure that we are not insufficient or deficient in any given vitamin, mineral, macro or micro-nutrient, whilst tryingto reduce our toxic load, thus easing the burden on our body’s natural ability to detoxify itself and restore homeostasis/balance. This book gives you the tools and knowledge to structure your diet and help you strive towards optimal health, with totally unique, delicious, health giving recipes, so you can enjoy the ride.
Start your new journey to health and happiness here NOW! Grab a copy of Super Nutrition today and take control of your health once and for all, shed those unwanted pounds, balance your blood sugars and heal your gut with nutritional therapy
Terry McIlroy has taken well-known, popular dishes and transformed them into nutrient dense powerhouse meals, just by making a few ingredient swaps with modern twists, such as his New Dehli Fritatta, Carrot Cake Smoothie, Mixed Mushroom, Almond & Tarragon Soup, Curried Quinoa Taboulleh Salad, Proper Spelt Bread, Southern Fried Chicken, Millionaires Shortbread and of course Fish ‘n’ Chips.


with Terry McIlroy

What inspired you to write Super Nutrition?
I was on a mission to discover what life is really all about,, why are we here,,what does it all mean? My own health issues lead me to realise that there had to be a cause, and my symptoms were the effect,,,, I looked closely at my diet and lifestyle and wondered if this was causing my ailments,,,,(persistent mouth ulcers and severe adult acne),, after visiting a nutritionist and following some of her instructions, I was convinced that my diet was playing a massive part in my health,,, I was hooked on this concept,,, and I decided to study nutrition,,, A short time into the 3 year course I knew that my calling was to create this book,,, as it was exactly the tool that nutritional therapists needed but didn’t have.

What is your favourite recipe in Super Nutrition?
I have to say that my New Delhi Fritatta is my favourite recipe.

What do you think is the most important part of Super Nutrition?
The most important part of Super Nutrition is the message of sourcing the correct ingredients which pack the broad spectrum nutritional punch.

What did you enjoy the most while writing this book?
I enjoyed the creativity of producing each and every recipe, which I believe are all totally unique, interesting, health giving and packed full of flavour.

Do you have another book in the works?
Not at the moment, however, I do have another concept in mind for my second book,,, or I may create a second edition with my new ideas incorporated

What are your favourite recipe books at the moment? (aside from yours)
Jamie Oliver Super Foods and series, ,,, and Rawsome

If you had to eat one dish for the rest of your life, what would you choose and why?
As a chef I have one favourite dish, “ Surf N Turf,,,, Grilled Fillet of Beef, Garlic Butter Poached Langoustines, Duck Fat Maris Piper Chips with Petit Pois a La Francais”

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: May 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 216
Genre: Non-Fiction
Age: Adults
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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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 or email here.

Publisher: CreateSpace
Publication Date: April 2018
Format: Kindle
Pages: 208
Genre: Non-Fiction
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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The Positive Birth Book: A New Approach to Pregnancy, Birth and the Early Weeks

Milli Hill
Work out what kind of birth you really want, and learn how to maximise your chances of getting it, in this refreshing, warm and witty guide to pregnancy, birth and the early weeks. Packed with vital and cutting-edge information on everything from building the ultimate birth plan, to your choices and rights in the birth room; from optimal cord clamping, to seeding the microbiome; from the inside track on breastfeeding, to woman-centred caesarean, The Positive Birth Book shows you how to have the best possible birth, regardless of whether you plan to have your baby in hospital, in the birth centre, at home or by elective caesarean. Find out how the environment you give birth in, your mindset and your expectations can influence the kind of birth you have, and be inspired by the voices of real women, who tell you the truth about what giving birth really feels like.
Challenging negativity and fear of childbirth, and brimming with everything you need to know about labour, birth, and the early days of parenting, The Positive Birth Book is the must-have birth book for women of the 21st century.

What are your overall thoughts?
It’s rare for Big Book Little book to feature a non-fiction book, even more so to feature a pregnancy book. For the most part, while I love to indulge my passion for all things birth, I rarely read pregnancy and parenting books, my tastes tend to be a little less mainstream-parenting handbook, more evidence based textbook. Despite my own leanings I realize that for the the number of BBLB readers who would be interested to read an entire book on the hormone oxytocin are likely to be fewer than those who are interested to hear my thoughts on the latest speculative fiction offering from Maggie Stiefvater!

However, when I heard about The Positive Birth Book, I just knew that I was going to have to make an exception, I just had to take a look to see if it lived up to its promise- a no nonsense, factual evidenced based, relatable book about birth with a positive birth slant.

It is fair to say that I started reading The Positive Birth Book with high expectations. On finishing the book I have to confess to feeling torn. On the one hand, The Positive Birth Book completley fulfilled its promise as the new birthing bible. On the other hand, I feel as though the book so successfully covers all of the essentials in the lead up to birth and the birth itself, that my job as an antenatal educator is now redundant!

Hill beautifully manages to balance a humorous and relaxed approach to birth with her informal chatty and friendly tone while managing to clearly explain and explore complex biological, scientific, political and legal issues.

Not only is The Positive Birth Book filled to the brim with evidence based information, explained in clear lay language, Hill also explores exactly where that evidence comes from and provided reliable resources for the reader to obtain further information should they wish to.

The book has a fabulous practice element, in addition to providing an excellent explanation to the well known decision making “BRAIN” mnemonic, Hill has created HEART, a wonderful concise tool to help couples who births might not be following plan A.

She strongly encourages couples to research and develop their own unique birth plans (and plan B’s and C’s…) providing different examples for illustration, and she has co created some beautiful iconography for couples to use when developing their very own visual birth plans.

One of my favorite element of this book is the fantastic use of content from experts. From obstetric consultants, midwives and lactation specialists through to the biggest experts, mothers, Hill has found birth story’s, experiences, tips and examples across the birthing spectrum and in all settings to inspire and reassure any kind of birth can be a positive birth. This liberal sprinkling of women’s lived experiences is very reminiscent of the inspirational stories in Ina May Gaskin’s 1975 Spiritual Midwifery, but with the language and sensibilities of 21st century couples.

Would you recommend this book?
This well written and well-researched book aligns so well with my professional philosophy of care and information provision as a Midwife and antenatal educator, that I am happy to recommend this book with no hesitations. In fact I have already gifted a copy to a soon to be birthing mother!

The Positive Birth Book is a wonderful resource for all pregnant women, whether they are setting out on their pregnancy journey and getting to grips with all of the birth choices before them, or have already developed a strong sense of where and how they wish their birthing experience unfold.

It would also be a valuable resource for birth workers starting out in their career and experienced even for birth workers looking for inspiration for way to effectively communicate complicated ideas.

Verdict: Spiritual midwifery for the 21st century mother

Reviewed by Caroline

*I need to take a quick moment to disclose that although I have never met the author Milli Hill personally I am aware of her work though The Positive Birth Movement (see website here), for which I am a group facilitator. It is through the Positive Birth Movement that I first became aware that Mill was working on and later publishing this book. This has no way affected my review.

Publisher: Pinter and Martin
Publication Date: March 2017
Format: eBook
Pages: 352
Genre: Non-Fiction Pregnancy, Birth
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Own copy
Challenge: British book
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TTT: The Last Ten Books That Came Into My Possession

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the wonderful, list making gurus, The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they publish a new Top Ten list and invite their fellow book bloggers, vloggers and bookworms to join in.

As you can probably surmise form the reduced number of post from me over the last few months ( well year really), things are pretty busy here at Big Book Little Book HQ. Who knew that a newborn and her big siblings, a large labrador and house renovations took up so much time 😉 As a result of not being able to commit as much time to the blog, or indeed to reading in general, I have made a concerted effort to not acquire many new books. I hate to call it a ban, for me that is as effective as saying no to chocolate because you are on a diet, it just makes me want it MORE. No matter how hard I try, every now and then i’ll come across a book that I simply can’t say no to, that I simply HAVE to say YES PLEASE, SIGN ME UP, TAKE MY MONEY and occasionally there are those gorgeous little little unsolicited, bubble wrapped, surprises that land on your doormat.

In no particular order (because I am so disorganised and have no idea as and when these beauties came in to my possession )

1. Colour Me Mindful: Underwater by Anastasia Catris
When the lovelies at Orion offered me the opportunity to take a look at the latest thing in relaxation and mindfulness I couldn’t resist finding out what all of the fuss was about. I think that it is safe to say that I am totally hooked. I started out using my children’s colouring pencils but quickly found myself frustrated at the limited colour selection. Now my obsession is such that I have had to order my very own set of fine line colouring pens. The only thing not relaxing about this book and its Birds and Tropical counterparts, is keeping them away from my seven year old.

2. The Lost and the Found by Cat Clarke
Cat Clarke is one of those authors who’s work caught me attention early on, when I devoured entangled, and who’s subsequent works I have collected but not gotten around to reading. When the Bookish Brits ( view our channel here) were offered the opportunity to read Cat’s latest book for June’s book club I jumped at the chance to take part.

3. Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens
I know, I know, I know and this being a blog which prides itself on reading books from all age categories! I’m almost embarrassed to have not yet read this hugely hyped middle grade book. Because I have only heard good things, from peoples who’s book recommendations I trust implicitly, I couldn’t resist snapping this up at a recent ebook sale.

4. Fail Human Heart by Zoe Marriott
The final book in the Name of the Blade trilogy. I love this series so much and I can’t wait to get suck back in to this urban fantasy.

5. The Rest Of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
It’s Ness, enough said.

6.Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
I absolutely loved Seraphina, so much so that I listed its sequel as one of my most anticipated reads of 2014. Oppps I think some one was a little over excited! Shadow Scale was actually released in March of this year and not only did I preorder the hardback I also preordered the audiobook too.

7. The Almost King by Lucy Saxon
One of those bubble wrapped surprises. Lucy is a UKYA author about which I have heard only good things. I am ashamed to have not discovered her work for myself yet.

8. One by Sarah Crossan
A YA book written in verse! I can’t wait to give it a try.

9. The Curious Tale Of The Lady Of Caraboo by Catherine Johnson
Pruedence raved about Catherine’s previous book Sawbones (click here to read her review)when she read it last year. Once again Catherine delves in to history, this time to share her version of the events surrounding real life Mary Wilcox. #WeNeedDiverseBooks

10.The Amazing Human Body Detectives by Maggie Li
Non fiction books are like busses. You don’t see any on Big Book Little book for ages and then two crop up in one post! When the lovely people at Pavilion offered me the opportunity to take a look at this gorgeous fact book I just couldn’t resist. I find human biology absolutely fascinating and I am attracted to anything that allows me to share this fascination with my own children. It’s been a hit so far with the seven and five year old fighting over who got to use the magnifying glass!

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Posted by Caroline

What was the last book you bought, borrowed or requested?

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Self Published Sunday: A Completely Novel Experience

We are delighted to welcome Richard Sterry, author of Stay Away from the Buttercups, to discuss the experience of writing and publishing his novel.

Cover-Stay Away from the ButtercupsIf you are a cyclist, the appeal of the South Downs Way in the South of England is one of the Must Do mountain biker’s rides. To complete the full 100 mile length is one thing but to achieve it 3 times in succession is in a league of its own. The book describes the journey of the Triple ride, which dips into several technical areas that may help you achieve your next cycling quest.
For those who have a dream or a crazy goal, the book takes you on the journey how my crazy goal was conceived, established, planned and conquered. Even when my body was giving up on me for the second time, the deep rooted focus and determination gave me the strength to see it through to the finish.
Along the way many other people joined in with the journey by being part of the support crew, riding with me along the route and following my progress on-line. It is the contribution by all the onlookers and supporters that has made the journey so memorable and worthwhile. I want to thank everyone for volunteering to play their part and helping me to make a piece of history.

Completely Novice

37 hours on the bike with no sleep had physically and mentally broken me. My mind was full of the amazing 300 mile ride yet I was swamped by the emptiness of what to do next.

Writing about my experience provided a soothing release. Describing the journey calmed my mixed emotions and settled my thoughts. Recounting every detail, I pieced together my version of the ride. It looked good to me, but on discussing it with my friend Louise Poynton (a freelance sports journalist) she encouraged me to reshape it and add some colour. Incorporating the chatter from a cycling forum about my ride and the tweets during the event brought my words to life. Adding other people’s account of my crazy challenge gave another perspective.

With my family checking the words for spelling and grammar, I researched how to publish a book. Swamped by the number of choices for fonts, page sizes, margins, page numbers, headings and titles, I did my homework. Obtaining permission from the variety of sources and checking for copyright information added to the complications. I felt certain that a self-publish approach was the way forward for me with the attractive low cost print on demand feature. I had no idea on how well the book would sell.

Struggling to enter the unfamiliar world of book publishing was a challenge. Louise put me in touch with Andrew Sykes who had recently published his book “Crossing Europe on a Bike Called Reggie”. Andrew’s simple and effective message was to start with an ebook on Amazon, then go to the helpful people at Completely Novel to produce the paperback version.

Releasing the ebook after a couple of weeks was an amazing feeling.

Formatting and typesetting the paperback version took a few weeks. I couldn’t create the cover until I had uploaded the manuscript, as the width of the spine was calculated according to the number of pages. How do you design a cover with the most basic of Microsoft software and no artistic talent?

The FAQs at Completely Novel were really informative and my further questions were quickly answered by Anna Lewis, she even helped me get the barcode on the back cover.

Touching and feeling in my hands the first paperback book was incredible. The sharpness of the pages and the recognition of the contents gave me a deep warm smile inside.

Regular tweets gained steady sales of the ebook, achieving 5 Star reviews, whilst my blog received an increasing number of hits. Many of the 200 people mentioned in the book were at the Brighton Big Dog race in August. Launching the paperback version at the race, each rider received a promotional card in their goody bag and flyers were posted around the arena and on the course.

Andrew’s advice was really helpful; I wish I had sought more advice earlier.

My journey into the publishing world was challenging and exciting. Hopefully my book will inspire you to chase and conquer your own crazy dream.

RichardSterrySDWAbout the Author – Richard Sterry
Reading was boring at school and writing was equally dull. I also hated sport and anything involving too much effort, such as homework.
30 years later I became fitter than some elite athletes, I rode a bike non-stop for 37 hours covering 300 miles of the South Downs, then I wrote a book about it.
The transformation is tremendous and I describe in the book my amazing journey and the mental strategies required for succeeding and achieving your crazy goal.
Living in Reigate, I married Fiona in 1989 and our 18 year old twins have just completed their A Levels. In addition to the South Downs, I am often riding around Box Hill and the Surrey Hills enjoying the beauty of the South East of England.
More information about richard and his work cam be found by visiting Richards blog (here) or by conversing with Richard on Twitter (here).

Stay Away from the Buttercups is available to buy from CompletelyNovel (here) and from (here).

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Deadly 60 Fact Book: Reptiles and Amphibians!

Steve Backshall, (Compiled by) Jinny Johnson, (Designed by) Sue Michniewick

deadly 60Join DEADLY 60 presenter Steve Backshall in the world’s deadliest book about animals, packed with fascinating facts, killer statistics and stunning photographs. Combined with his own incredible experiences with creatures, large and small, Steve reveals tricks of camouflage, feats of strength, endurance, teamwork and speed, as well as giving us a glimpse into the lives of extremeophiles and looking at some of our planet’s endangered species.

This is the first information book I have reviewed and I really enjoyed it! I’ve been a fan of Deadly 60 on TV . So when I got given this book I was SO pleased. When I moved house I lost it but now I’ve found it AND I LOVE IT!

It’s only 78 pages long and doesn’t take long to read so it’s not too hard to read! This would be a handy book to take on holiday because it is pocket sized and easy to slip into a suitcase or bag, perfect for reading on a plane or train.

Follow the footsteps of the Deadly team and discover the secrets of the animal kingdom as they reveal fascinating facts and killer stats in their guide to reptiles and amphibians!

It’s fun and cool, boys and girls everywhere will love it.

Did you know… That the Basilisk lizard can walk on water?! And the Komodo dragon is the world’s biggest Lizard? These are all facts from the book!

Verdict: This was probably the hardest book to review because I couldn’t explain the story though I really enjoyed this book. I think it’s for boys and girls everywhere aged 8 to 12.

Reviewed by Izzy (9)

Deadly 60 fact book reptiles and amphibians!

Publisher: Orion
Publication Date: February 2013
Format: Paperback
Pages: 80
Genre: Non Fiction
Age: Middle grade
Reviewer: Izzy (9)
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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Confessions Of A Bad Mother

Stephanie Calman

In the aisle by the chill cabinets no one can hear you scream…
Funny, acutely observed, frighteningly honest and drawing on her own and hundreds of other mum’s real experiences, Stephanie Calman serves up the perfect antidote to all those books that tell you that your children must be perfect, and to all those Stepford mums and kids out there who look as if they just might be: perfectly groomed, perfectly behaved and perfectly brilliant. The reality, as we all know, encompasses sleepless nights, no sex for years, baby sick on your best cashmere cardy, the terrible twos and then, just when you thought it was safe to go back in the sitting room, terrible teenagers whose only means of communication is the slamming door or the grunt.

It was the above byline that grabbed my attention. I was feeling particularly annoyed with my own children and huffing and puffing to myself as I went in to the charity shop, started browsing the books. I saw this book, read the byline, said ‘aha’ loudly and maniacally and marched off to the til to pay my 50 pence!

I like Stephanie Calman’s writing. I’ve not come across her before but she writes regularly in a couple of national newspapers as well as books. She also has a website; Bad Mothers Club .

This book is in fact her own story of how she came to get married and have children and the experience of trying to parent two toddlers and never feeling she gets it quite right. I’d picked it up thinking it was fiction, but after an initial slight disappointment that it wasn’t I got stuck in and and quickly started to enjoy Stephanie’s witty writing and sheer honesty about the pitfalls and stresses of trying to raise children without losing your sanity entirely!

There are many funny stories, moments that have made me groan in recognition and others that have had me giggling nonstop.

This is an older book but it’s made me want to look out for other books that she’s written and I may even stumble on to the ‘bad mothers’ website to add a story or two of my own!

Verdict: A witty and entertaining read.

Reviewed by Lesley

Publisher: Pan
Publication Date: February 2006
Format: Paperback
Pages: 324
Genre: Non Fiction, Parenting
Age: Adult book review
Reviewer: Lesley
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: None
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Carnegie and Greenaway Awards: Can We Save The Tiger?

Martin Jenkins and Vicky White (illustrator)

Tigers are big, beautiful and fierce. But, like many other animals, they are in danger of becoming extinct. With breathtaking illustrations this large-format picture book tells us about the threats to the many endangered species on our planet and the need to prevent their extinction.

This is a bit different to all the other reviews I’ve done as this isn’t a fiction book, but a non-fiction book. It’s a book that gives you facts and information rather than telling a story. But then that doesn’t quite sum it up either. The style of writing in this book does make it sound like the author is telling a story; it’s just in this case it’s true. I struggled to work out what age group this book is aimed at. There is quite a lot of writing and some of the words are quite complex, it’s not an early reader. The style however does seem to be aiming towards educating quite young children. I know if I read it to my pre schooler he would ask masses of questions (we are really going through the ‘why?’ stage at the moment), but then that could well be what the author intended.

That all being said this is a lovely book and I do think the style of writing makes it. It takes a difficult subject for little ones to understand and makes it interesting and fun. There are masses of facts held within the book and I know that I did learn at lot from it. The illustrations really complimented the words. Largely line drawn, they had fantastic detail whilst at the same time appeared very simple. Perfect for little ones and a great starting point for conversations about animals nearing extinction, it certainly made me want to go out and learn more, and as a librarian anything that may make children want to learn more about a subject definitely has the thumbs up from me. I found this a rare book, an information book that I actually enjoyed reading, one that I would turn to read for enjoyment rather than research.

Verdict: A lovely fact book on animals for young children that should really start the questions going.

Reviewed by Alison

Publisher: Walker
Publication Date: February 2011
Format: Hardback
Pages: 56
Genre: Non Fiction
Age: Early Reader, Middle Grade
Reviewer: Alison
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: None
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