Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Southampton Then & Now by Penny Legg

Southampton Then & Now is a fabulous collection of black and white archive photographs of Southampton in the past and then a collection of photographs recreating the same photographs now in full modern colour, so the reader can look and compare the photographs and see how buildings, transport and people have changed over time. The photographs have well researched and interesting information to accompany them. It is a wonderful reflection on the history of the city.

I am a fan of Penny Legg books. Penny really pays attention to the detail in the photos and she tries to capture the exact angle that the original photographs were taken at all those years ago, even having to avoid cars on the now modern and much busier roads of Southampton! I really enjoyed comparing the photographs and spotting the differences from Then & Now.  The information that goes along side the photographs provides the reader with good background information and present day information about the photograph. Penny Legg really brings history to life.

For more information about the author click the following link: http://www.pennylegg.com/ 

Sunday, 29 January 2012

The children of the Lost by David Whitley

This is the second YA novel in The Midnight Charter trilogy.

Lily had made her decision to leave the city walls of Agora and after making an agreement with the Director of Receipts on the condition that she takes Mark with her. Lily had seen this as a chance for her to escape the dreadful streets of Agora and a chance for her to find out the truth behind the dark secrets that are in their lives and also an opportunity to find her vanished parents.

Lily and Mark now find themselves outside the walls of the city. Lily had grown up to believe that there was nothing beyond the city walls and at first finds it difficult to accept where she is. Mark who was not in on the decision to leave Agora is angry with Lily for taking him with her screams and shouts to be let back in Agora. Mark does not believe in the destiny that is foreseen in The Midnight Charter he thinks it is just a plot to get rid of Lily from the city. Eventually Lily and Mark decide to venture away from Agora to look for food, but they hope to find more people.

When Mark and Lily are attacked and Lily is hurt by a beast in the forest, they are rescued by a man called Father Wolfram and a young lad called Owain. They take them back to Father Wolfram’s sanctuary to heal Lily. In a village called Aecer in the land of Giseth. Lily and Mark are surprised when they are asked for nothing in return for the help and food they are given. They are told they are helped because it was the right thing to do. Lily and Mark are introduced to The Speaker of the village who tells them that she is the mother of the village and that she devotes her time to its well-being, heart and soul. She tells Lily that she hopes she will come to love the village as much as she does. Lily does settle into the village and compared to Agora, Aecer is paradise to her. The people are kind and gentle and the adult age is sixteen so Lily and Mark are treated like children. While Lily settles, Mark is restless and he still wants to return to Agora.

When the village sheep begin to act strangely and Mark finds himself sleep walking and causing himself harm. Lily and Mark learn this is what is known as the Nightmare. The Nightmare prays on people’s weaknesses and on their selfish desires. It starts as a bad dream, and then it takes over unlike a normal nightmare it can not be contained in the dreamers head. The nightmare does not end just because the dreamer wakes up. Mark and Lily are told that the Nightmare is stronger in the forest and they perform rituals to keep it out of the village so they are safer if they stay in the village.

But when a mysterious women dressed in green, appears to both Lily and Mark in their dreams, urging them to find The Children of the Lost will Lily and Mark be prepared to leave the village and go back into the forest and face the Nightmare?

Who are The Children of the Lost?

Will this lead Lily to find her parents?

Will Mark find his way back into Agora?

The Children of the Lost is another brilliant novel by David Whitley that again will appeal to both older children and adults alike. With a cast of interesting characters and focusing more on the two main characters Lily and Mark the story just gets more and more enchanting as the plot line moves along. The book ends on a cliff hanger that leaves the reader waiting eagerly for volume three.

For more information about the author, click the following link: http://www.davidwhitley.co.uk 

Saturday, 28 January 2012

The Midnight Charter by David Whitley

This is a YA (Eleven plus) fantasy novel.

Set in the closed in city of Agora, where there is no money only trading and anything can be traded. Parents can trade their children up to the age of twelve and feelings and emotions even bad ones can be traded too. Anyone who has got nothing left to trade can not survive and there is a plague in the slums.

Just before his twelfth birthday, Mark is sold to the grandson of the great astrologer Count Stelli. Mark was traded by his father so that he could get medicine for himself. The Count’s grandson Dr Theophilus was born a healer and he is researching and trying to find a cure for the plague. At the Counts tower Mark meets Lily an Orphan girl who is also almost twelve. Lily is working at the tower as a servant and also assisting Dr Theophilus in his work.

When children turn twelve in Agora they become free and own themselves.  When Mark and Lily reach the ages of twelve they are living very different lives. Mark finds that he can trade astrology predictions to the merchants of the city that are afraid of what will come in the future. He is a success at this.  Meanwhile Lily helps the unfortunate by running a charity giving them shelter and food. At first Mark and Lily stay in touch by writing letters, but they soon find that they keep crossing paths and are connected a lot by the same people.

Unknown to Mark and Lily watching over them from afar is the powerful Director of Receipts.

Could Mark and Lily destiny be told in The Midnight Charter a mysterious document?

Will the future of Agora be determined by Mark and Lilies actions?

This is a novel that will appeal to both older children and adults too. Wrote with a wonderful quick pace which captivates the reader from page one and keeps the reader entertained all the way through the book The Midnight Charter lays the foundations for which is set to be a fantastic series of books. This is a brilliant debut fantasy novel from David Whitley.

David Whitley was born in Chester in 1984. At the age of seventeen he was short listed for the Kathleen Fidler Award for a children’s novel and at twenty he won the Cheshire Prize for Literature for a Children’s short story. TV quiz fans will have spotted David on the BBC 2 show University Challenge when he was a member of Oxford’s Corpus Christi team who became series champions in 2005.

For more information about the author, click the following link: http://www.davidwhitley.co.uk


Tuesday, 24 January 2012

No Matter What by Michelle Betham

The story starts of in 1991 when India is just an ordinary girl from the North East of England. India is working as a legal secretary for a prestigious firm of solicitors she is living a normal life working and living with her best friend Charley. They spend most weekdays having girlie nights in watching chick flicks and eating chocolate and most weekends out on the town.

India’s life is about to change dramatically and more than she could have ever imagined. When she and Charley attend a works event in walks the famous film star Reece Brogan and he shows an interest in India. He invites India over to L.A for a screen test for a part in a film starring along side another big film star Kenny Ross. They want an unknown face, someone fresh and exciting.

India is a success and she is catapulted into the life and glamour of becoming an A list star in Hollywood. India now has the actors in her real life that she had been only use to watching in films. They are Reece Brogan the film star who made all this happen for her he stays close to India, but he is keeping a secret from her. Kenny Ross who India finds she gets along with great and she is surprised just how at ease she feels in his company and film star director Michael Walsh who is secretly in love with India and is waiting for the chance to tell India how he feels. But with India drawn to Kenny will he ever get a chance?

This is a sensational novel by Michelle Betham. It is packed with drama, passion and tragedy. The book has got an excellent cast of characters. The story covers three decades of India’s life, from India’s normal life in the North East of England to the glamour and glitz of living the Hollywood lifestyle. So it is a nice long read and I found I could completely get lost and easily lose a couple of hours, when I was reading this book it’s just pure escapism at its best. I will look forward to reading more of Michelle Betham’s work.

For more information about the author, click the following link: http://michellebethamwriter.blogspot.com/ 

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Lust Money and Murder Book One By Mike Wells

Patrick Brogan thought the world of his daughter Elaine. She was his world. Elaine was a child prodigy she has the ability to solve a puzzle fast and she has an incredible eye for detail. Patrick wanted the best for Elaine and for her to escape their humble lifestyle in the ghetto in Pittsburgh. So Patrick decides to send Elaine to a private school called The Bromley Academy for Girls who are happy to take Elaine with her high grades and test scores.

When Elaine’s mother becomes fed up of all the time and attention her husband Patrick is giving to her daughter she feels neglected and leaves. Patrick is the only family Elaine has left.

When Elaine is sixteen she joins a modelling agency. Patrick pays the fees. He also pays for all the other courses the agency Rising Star had to offer. But at the end of Elaine completing all the courses which are suppose to then bring in modelling work, the agency never call Elaine with any work. When she complains the agency owner Ronald Eskew he gives her all her money back. Elaine gives the money back to her father has he had paid for her to join the agency.

Then Patrick is arrested for banking counterfeit money and it is also found out that he has been stealing from the construction sites he worked on. He had stolen from his job to help pay the school fees to put Elaine through Bromley. The counterfeit money was the money from the agency but Patrick refuses to tell how he came to bank counterfeit money. So he goes to jail with tragic circumstances for Elaine when he kills himself.

Angry with all the trouble and pain the agency have caused and blaming Ronald Eskew for her father’s death she decides to confront Eskew. She finds out that the agency is a scam and that the agency as gone, disappeared with no forwarding address and no way of tracing them. Harbouring a secret deep seated hatred for Eskew she wants revenge, so she decides to join the Secret Service and to become a Secret Service Agent and to track down Eskew and punish him for what he has done. Elaine feels she can not move forward in her life until justice was done.

Elaine is accepted into the Secret Service and becomes an expert at detecting counterfeit money.

Will she be able to track down Eskew and avenge her father’s death?

This is an excellent Mystery and Suspense novel by Mike Wells. Mike Wells says that his goal has always been to write books that are engaging and entertaining that you can’t stop reading after a couple of pages. ‘Unputdownable books’ Mike Wells has achieved that and you get exactly that in this book. You are hooked right from the start, all the way through the book which comes to a cliff hanger of an ending that leaves the reader gasping and eagerly wanting to go straight on to read book two in the series.

Mike Wells writes in a variety of genre, thrillers and suspense, young adult and horror.

For more information about the author, click the following link: http://www.thegreenwater.com/

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Folklore of Hampshire by Penny Legg

Folklore of Hampshire is packed full with well researched information about folklore in Hampshire. Topics include saints, royalty and celebrated citizens, which include Saint Swithun. We all know the well known saying if it rains on Saint Swithun’s day it will rain for forty days and forty nights and if it is fine it will be fine for forty days and forty nights. We learn about how he came to have so much influence over the weather.  You can also read all about Jane Austen and her background and connection to Hampshire. There are many more interesting people featured in this book.

The book also covers Hampshire traditions, customs and legends such as haunted places and buildings and ghostly stories, strange creatures, witches, highwaymen, folklore songs and much, much more.

Whether you live or are from the Hampshire area or if you are interested in history or folklore you will like this book. I am not from the Hampshire area and have never been there but found the book really interesting. There is also a good collection of photographs of the subjects covered in the book. This is the second book by Penny Legg that I have read and I am looking forward to reading more of her work.

For more information about the author click the following link: http://www.pennylegg.com/

Saturday, 7 January 2012

The Baby Thief by L.J. Sellers

Dr Elizabeth Demauer works at the Assisted Reproduction Clinic and when Jenna Mcclure visits the clinic wanting a baby by artificial insemination, Elizabeth immediately notices the strong similarities in looks between her and Jenna. Elizabeth had being adopted and by using equipment at the clinic she is able to run DNA tests and compare samples and she finds out that Jenna is her biological sister.

Elizabeth herself wants to have a baby but she can not conceive a child herself due to pelvic infections she had has a child. These were probably caused by the fact she was sexual abused by her adopted father. So when she finds out that Jenna is her biological sister she sees this as the perfect opportunity for her to create the perfect baby for herself using her expertise and David Carmichael who she had met at medical school.

David Carmichael or the Reverend Carmichael as he was now known as was running a cult church he called, The Church of the Reborn. A religious commune mainly made up of female members. The church was twenty-five miles away from the nearest town hidden away in an isolated fortress. Not many people knew about the churches location, making it the perfect place for David’s other work. David was also running a secret underground test-tube baby clinic to impregnate the women in the church using sperm stolen from the clinic by Elizabeth. David had become obsessed with creating life. David owes everything to Elizabeth. Elizabeth had kept him from losing his medical licence and going to jail in the past.

So when Elizabeth tells David she wants to kidnap Jenna and harvest her eggs and fertilize them and transfers them into her body, David as not choice but to go along with her plans.

Eric Troutman is a freelance Journalist who is at first only interested in writing a story about Jenna after witnessing her saving the life of a badly injured man, who was injured in a robbery where Jenna works. There is an attraction between Jenna and Eric and they begin a love affair. But when Jenna suddenly disappears will Eric think she has just lost interest in him or will he care enough to find out what happened?

Will Elizabeth and David get away with their evil sinister plan and will Elizabeth get the baby she has been craving for?

What will become of Jenna once Elizabeth and David have taken what they need from her and have no further use for her?

The Baby Thief is a really chilling novel about the lengths one woman will go to, so she can get the perfect genetic baby. This is another great thriller by LJ Sellers. Well worth the read.

For more information about the author, click the following link: http://ljsellers.com/