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Book Reviews - Contributor Reviews - Book Reviews - below is a selection of our book reviews.
 Contributor Review: Biography
Inspire: Oliver Chittenden, Author.

Inspire - Oliver Chittenden

The title says a lot about this book, it is indeed inspirational. Inspire tells twelve stories about twelve remarkable British people, all of whom have overcome great obstacles to achieve what they have to date. What drives them? Courage, dedication, a passionate belief in what they do, and in some cases not a small amount of risk-taking! Oliver Chittenden gives us a glimpse into the minds of these people through face to face interviews, insightful background information, and wonderful portrait photographs by Sam Pelly. Read the full review..

 Contributor Review:
Basic Instincts: Pete Lunn, Author.

Basic Instincts: Human Nature and the New Economics - Pete Lunn

This book is an interesting and thought provoking commentary on the current state of the science of economics and the workings of capitalism. According to traditional, conventional theory peoples basic instincts are to be selfish, independent and rational in their financial dealings and firms’ primary reason for being is to maximise profit. Lunn labels this type of person as ‘Marketopian’ in his illustration. Read the full review..

 Contributor Review: Fiction
Tell It To The Skies: Erica James, Author.

Tell It To The Skies - Erica James

As is often the case where an established author writes something a bit different “Tell It To The Skies” has received mixed reviews, however I found it to be a gripping novel that deals with dark subjects such as child abuse in a way that gives us hope. I wholeheartedly recommend this book. Our heroine Lydia is courageous and sensitive as all good heroines should be and her story begins in Venice, where at the age of 40 she is content with her home, work, friends, and the company of her stepdaughter Chiara, whose father had died several years before. Read the full review..

 Contributor Review: Fiction
Working Wonders: Jenny Colgan, Author.

Working Wonders - Jenny Colgan

I read avidly and my taste is eclectic, “chick lit” being one of the genres I read for a bit of light relief (and all too often boredom). That is exactly why I picked this book and I have to say I got a bit of a surprise. Far from being a predictable modern-day romance this book is funny and clever, and at times quite moving, with characters that are well developed and a plot that crosses over into the realms of fantasy – well, why not?! Read the full review..

 Contributor Review: Children's Books
Medusa Island: Stuart & Linda MacFarlane, Book Authors.

Medusa Island - Stuart & Linda MacFarlane

Suitable for children aged 9 to 12 years, this book is a classic famous five (except there are three!) adventure story with a twist: it conjures up numerous figures from Greek mythology and places them in a modern setting. The story starts on the Scottish mainland when three of Simon’s classmates disappear and no one seems to bat an eyelid. He and a friend soon discover their missing friends, however to their horror they have been turned to stone! Read the full review..

 Contributor Review: Travel Books
Traversa -

Traversa - Fran Sandham

As travel books go this is a gem, the true tale of a determined and courageous man’s solo walk across Africa, from the Skeleton Coast in Namibia to Bagamoyo on the coast in Tanzania. A mere 3,000 miles! Why? Well read the book and you’ll find out and be thoroughly entertained at the same time. Fran Sandham sets off from Namibia’s Skeleton Coast armed with ambition and determination, and a strong desire to follow in the footsteps of famous explorers such as Livingstone and Stanley. Read the full review..

 Contributor Review: Fiction
Sepulchure - Kate Mosse

Sepulchure - Kate Mosse

A stunning novel about obsession and revenge, this book is extremely hard to put down once you’ve started it. As with her previous book ‘Labyrinth’ the story switches between the past and the present with ease, establishing connections that make the story complete. I often find with books that do this that there is one era I prefer, and whilst reading about the other era I’m itching to get back to my favourite. However, not so with Sepulchre, the story in both eras is equally gripping, and the characters in both eras are fundamental to developing the reader’s understanding of the characters in the tarot cards. Read the full review..

 Contributor Review: Fiction
Hurting Distance by Sophie Hannah

Hurting Distance - Sophie Hannah

I have just put this book down and was so impressed that I felt compelled to promote it! It’s been a while since I’ve read such an original, disturbing, and superbly choreographed psychological thriller. The character development is brilliant, with ‘baddies’ who are chillingly understated, and ‘goodies’ who are, quite frankly, a bit of a mess! You would be too if you’d been in their shoes! The complexity of the plot makes the book fascinating and difficult to put down, as you’re constantly wondering where it will take you next. I’m usually quite good at guessing the ending, however I couldn’t see through this one! Read the full review..

 Contributor Review: Health

The Heart of Buddha's Teaching: Transforming Suffering Into Peace, Joy and Liberation - Thich Nhat Hahn

In this book Thich Nhat Hanh gives the reader an excellent introduction to basic Buddhist beliefs and principles, highlighting Buddhism as a way of being rather than a formal religion. Indeed, he actively encourages those practicing formal religions to continue doing so, as the Buddhist way of being is complementary. This is of course equally applicable to agnostics such as myself, and atheists. All he really asks us to believe in is ourselves, and life in general. There is a beautiful eloquence to the way in which Thich Nhat Hanh writes, using evocative stories, recollections, and metaphors to clearly demonstrate the core Buddhist beliefs. Read the full review..

 Contributor Review: Travel Books 
Yoga School Dropout - Lucy Edge

Yoga School Dropout - Lucy Edge

You don’t have to be a travel or a yoga enthusiast to enjoy reading this book. In fact as soon as you read the synopsis you know you’re in for a treat, the ironic self-deprecating, dare-I-say-it very British sense of humour comes across straight away. Lucy’s plan was to travel to India and “find a guru and return a yoga goddess – a magnetic babe attracting strong and sweaty yet emotionally vulnerable men with my pretzel-like body and compassionate grace.” Puts a smile on your face straight away! Read the full review..

 Contributor Review: Travel Books 
Living and Working in Hong Kong

Living and Working in Hong Kong - How To Books

In the expat fantasy, every day is an adventure, and dealing with a new language and culture a joy. After living in Hong Kong for five years, Rachel Wright begins with a reality check for those tempted by exotic dreams and seemingly generous expat packages. “Foreign talent and expertise is still in demand, but the extravagant salaries of the 1980s and 1990s are no longer common and many expats are now being offered ‘local’ contracts.”. Read the full review..

 Contributor Review: Fiction
Two For One - Sean David Wright

Two For One

Two For One—a novel about having choices is Sean David. Wright’s debut book, a romantic comedy which takes the typical girl-seeks-guy formula one would find in a Jane Green or Marian Keyes story and adds another, saucier element to it by making the main female character, Danielle, a bisexual woman. Read the full review..

 Contributor Review: Fiction 

Tatty - Christine Dwyer Hickey

Christine Dwyer Hickey's historical trilogy The Dancer, The Gambler and The Gatemaker established her as a major presence in contemporary Irish fiction. Her fourth novel, Tatty, beautiful and heartbreaking, confirms that her skills are perfected, and her exceptional talent is far from exhausted. Read the full review..

 Contributor Review: Music Books 

Lullaby of Birdland: An Autobiography (Bayou Jazz Lives S.) - George Shearing & Alyn Shipton

As a jazz pianist hoping for success in America, George Shearing had to overcome a handicap which most American musicians regarded as insurmountable - the handicap of having been born in England.
He had been taught, however, by all the legendary jazz pianists, not in person, but by way of their records. Read the full review..

 Contributor Review: Sports Books
Chasing Gold - Nick Yapp - Centenary of the British Olympic Association.

Chasing Gold

The British Olympic Association celebrate their centenary this year, but have been too preoccupied with the London bid to make a fuss about it. But the BOA have produced a book to honour the occasion. Chasing Gold is a pictorial history of British participation in the Olympics, compiled by Nick Yapp with the archive of Getty Images, and is a useful reminder of what the Games have meant to this country. Read the full review..

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