Book Review – Never Pretend by Julie C Round

August 24, 2016

Julie Round is an expert at describing the stresses and strains of family life.  In spite of difficult challenges put in front of them her characters find a way through and this is the great strength of all of her narratives.  In this story, the husband suffers a breakdown and commits a crime for which he is punished but manages to achieve atonement.  The way this affects the family is beautifully described and illustrates how strong family bonds are important in overcoming adversity.  The book is not quite up there with her earlier “Lane Trilogy” as I would have liked a more through introductory description of some of the subsidiary characters such as Lisa.  But the novel is a good read all the same and is highly recommend it.

Keith Jahans

Never pretend Cover
Never Pretend is published by Oldstick Books
and is available in paperback for £5.99

 


Book Review – A Brief History of Indonesia by Tim Hannigan

June 28, 2016

This is a well researched and well told fascinating story of Southeast Asia’s Largest Nation.  The Author has obviously done an enormous amount of research to uncover the facts, myths and legends behind the history of this remarkable country.  The book makes an ideal companion to his earlier work, “Raffles and The British Invasion of Java”, which I reviewed in March 2015 and is also well worth the read.  Although, Raffles is briefly mentioned in this account, the book deals with the rise of Indonesia from prehistoric to modern times.  It is an ideal buy for anyone wishing to visit Indonesia and I highly recommend this as a must read for anyone wishing to understand how colonial powers engage dominance over the countries they rule.

I bought a signed paperback copy from the author last July which I gave to my daughter before she returned to where she has been living in Indonesia in April and purchased a Kindle copy for myself.  Of the two I prefer the paperback as the layout makes it easier to flick between the photographs at the centre of the book and the rest of the text.

A brief History of Indonesia Book Jacket copy

A Brief History of Indonesia is published by Tuttle Publishing

Keith Jahans
Editor, Peatmore Press


Book Review – Gun Baby Gun by Iain Overton

February 8, 2016

This is a book that all gun owners and politicians should read. Iain Overton gives a frightening account about the use of guns in modern times. The book is full of chilling statistics and at the same time it is a rattling good read. The author describes a worldwide odyssey during which he sought to uncover the story behind each statistic.

I came across Iain Overton at the The Folkestone Book Festival in November when I heard him described his journey into the dark world of the gun (see https://peatmore.wordpress.com/2015/11/25 ) and bought a signed copy from his own hand. I spoke to him briefly about my astonishment that a gun factory in the United States called Kalashnikov USA had just been established in 2015. A fact I discovered while researching the novel I am currently writing. I should not have been surprised because despite the many accounts of mass shootings of civilians in the USA the influence of the pro gun lobby prevails. Unfortunately, lack of time prevented me talking with him longer but the information contained in this extremely well crafted book more than makes up for that.

It is a work that is well worth the read and I highly recommend it to anyone who wishes to know more about the lethal weapons used by loan or small groups of mass killers.

Gun Baby Gun
Gun Baby Gun: A Bloody Journey into the World of the Gun
by Iain Overton is published by Canongate Books; Main edition
in hardcover, paperback and as an ebook

Keith Jahans
Editor, Peatmore Press


Book Review – Frankenstein Scooters to Dracula’s Castle by Martin ‘Sticky’ Round

November 21, 2015

The scooters in question were made by piecing together scooter parts with motorcycle engines and likened to the way Mary Shelly’s fictional character created a monster out of pieces of dead humans. The horror analogy was complete because the author, his family and two companions passed by the castle owned by Vlad the Impaler (said to be the inspiration for the fictional Dracula) in Romania. The book is a guide on how to take your family through Europe to Turkey on self built two wheeled transport and as such is both an instructive and entertaining read.

I travelled a great deal myself in the 1970s and 1980s by motorcycle not scooter. However, I have a great deal of understanding of some of the perils that can occur and the amount of planning involved. Sticky Round has a distinctive writing voice and conveys his technical expertise and descriptions of the people he encounters in a most amusing way. The modern digital age is very different from the days when I travelled by two wheels but I am sure I would find this book extremely helpful should I be tempted to try similar two or even four wheel journeys again. This was an exceptionally good read and is highly recommended.

Keith Jahans
Editor, Peatmore Press

Frankenstein Scooters
Frankenstein’s Scooters to Dracula’s Castle by Martin ‘Sticky’ Round
is published by Fingers In Pies Publications and is available in paperback
and as an ebook from the Kindle Book Store


Book Review – Never Run Away by Julie C Round

April 23, 2015

I must confess that I have become a big fan of Julie Round’s writing and have reviewed her excellent Lane trilogy (Lane’s End, Un-stable Lane & The Third Lane) elsewhere in this blog. She is expert at describing the strains and stresses of married life. This is evident in the Lane series and is very evident when explored here. She gets to the heart of the flaws and the strengths of her characters that are all too apparent in the human condition.

The novel tells of how fifty year old Barbara leaves her husband after years of putting up with his bitterness and neglect for her feelings, and his attempts to find her and win her back. The inclusion of the “Lady Havisham” character, Ellen, in the story is a nice touch and acts as a great counterpoint to the other characters. It is a touching account of modern times and a good read. I highly recommend it.

Keith Jahans
Editor, Peatmore Press.

NRAwaycover

Never Run Away by Julie C Round
is published in paperback by Old Stick Books
and is also available from Amazon in Kindle Format


Book Review – Raffles and The British Invasion of Java by Tim Hannigan

March 16, 2015

I do not normally read biographies but having met Tim Hannigan at The Penzance Literary Festival in July where he was running a workshop on travel writing I thought I would give this book a try. I was not disappointed. The author puts the reader squarely in the thick of the action. We can smell the jungle, the smoke and cordite of the muskets and hear the sound of canon fire, the cries of the combatants and the rattling of the sabers.

This is an account of a short lived campaign of the British army at the height of its empire and according to Hannigan, Raffles comes out of it with an extremely tarnished reputation. Raffles is famous as the founder of Singapore and London zoo. But it seems he was an opportunist out to make a quick buck. He was involved with corruption, turned a blind eye to slavery and complicit in inciting the massacre of Dutch citizens. This is all the more shocking because of the high esteem in which his memory is held by many.

This book is an extremely good read and I highly recommend it.

Keith Jahans
Editor, Peatmore Press

Raffles & Java
Raffles and The British Invasion of Java by Tim Hannigan is published Mosoon Books and is available as a paperback and ebook


Book Review – Orange Juice and Cod Liver Oil by Peter Morley

November 7, 2014

This is an honest account of a chemical engineer from his childhood to his retirement. As a “Baby Boomer” myself, this is a narrative I can relate to, particularly his childhood in the post World War II period of depression.

I found his family history with his rise from poverty in rural southern England fascinating. I was also intrigued by his account of his development as an extremely proficient engineer despite not being able to grasp the technicalities of some of the details he describes. His political and religious views on the times he has lived through are understandable given his humble upbringing but will not be shared by everyone. However, I agree with him that we were indeed a lucky generation owing a lot to those who went through the war years immediately before us.

This is a well crafted book by an excellent storyteller which has been written with great charm and humour and should provide a valuable insight to anyone interested in the contemporary history of our generation.

Keith Jahans
Editor, Peatmore Press

Orange Juice & Cod Liver Oil

Orange Juice & Cod Liver Oil by Peter Morley is published by Perfect Publishers Ltd and is available in paperback at £8.99