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By Staff Writer

The world of self-help is populated by ‘experts’ who seem to have solutions, but never actually faced the problems they are addressing in their own lives.

Author James Carré-Rice is a notable exception to this rule. By his early 20’s, he was serving a fourth prison sentence for grievous bodily harm and was high on the list of those inmates that were expected either to kill, or be killed. He was made to feel like he was a nobody – a hopeless case who would see out his days behind bars. And he believed it, finding it seemingly impossible to escape a destructive lifestyle that kept on dragging him deeper and deeper into trouble.

But then the remarkable happened. James was fortunate enough to secure a place at HM Prison Grendon – the UK’s only dedicated therapeutic prison. Enrolling on an intense course of psychological counselling known as psychodrama, he was able to break with the past and become the person he’d always known himself to be.  Like a modern-day Road to Damascus moment, James came to understand the root of all his woes and armed with this knowledge was able to turn his life completely around.

After his release from Grendon, he went to college, found employment and settled down. He lived in America for five years, where he became the director of a pioneering Youth Courts programme supporting the rehabilitation of young offenders.

He has since gone on to become an international public speaker, offering guidance to the UK’s and US’s prison population, as well as to the countless people who, while not as dramatically, may likewise feel trapped in their own lives.

James’s new book, Another Kind of Knowing, shares his hard-earned transformative insights, with the powerful psychological principles behind them illustrated perfectly through many first-hand examples.  The tone of the book is conversational and, at times, brutally honest. James makes it clear that the greatest obstacle to his, and anyone’s freedom, is themselves. Unconsciously, many of us make a false identity which we come to believe is real, and which holds us back from achieving our true potential.

The author describes this alter-ego aptly as a ‘robot’ – an artificial creation powered by all the negative thoughts we keep with us: the self-doubt, self-pity and selfishness that acts in the shadows of the mind.  It is only by coming to recognise this other self, and having the courage to face it in the open, that enables us to dismantle the robot and move forwards without fear.

As you read James’s life-story, you are struck by his commitment to catching out negativity in its many guises, and how it has clearly worked for him. In his early years, he effectively robbed himself of opportunities but now wise to that game, is not prepared to be the victim again.

Another Kind of Knowing, the follow-up to Carré-Rice’s bestselling Within These Streets, will appeal to those who enjoy self-help books – especially those of more spiritual writers such as Eckhart Tolle.

It is both a moving testimony and inspirational guide to finding the key to many of life’s problems, and finally unlocking the cell door.

Another Kind of Knowing is out now priced £7.99 from Amazon UK. For more information go to

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The New Prophet by Rex Richards

By staff writer

If you’ve ever switched on the TV and despaired at the endless parade of vapid celebrities and sensationalist current affairs shows then rejoice –  The New Prophet is here for your entertainment, ready and waiting to poke a sharply satirical sword-stick into the sleazy world of mass media.  This fast-paced serial killer-thriller takes no prisoners as its rips through ‘contempt-orary’ culture  with as much gusto as its titular antagonist, a deeply-psychotic and troubled individual on a personal mission to wash clean his soul with the blood of others.

Set in present-day London, The New Prophet centres around Jack Donaldson, a cynical, womanising drug addict who also happens to be the lead news anchor on ITN’s News at Ten.  He’s burnt-out and hanging on to his job by a thread, with attractive new co-anchor, Najida Islam being positioned as his replacement.

A bad trip during a live broadcast looks certain to end his career, but then he stumbles upon the body of The New Prophet’s first victim, an attractive young woman who has been horrifically mutilated in some kind of ritualistic murder.  Rather than call the police, he instead calls his boss, Max, and tells them he’s got a major scoop that will trounce their rivals over at BBC News in the ever-waging ratings wars. Max agrees and gives Jack a stay of execution as the full efforts of the news team turns towards exploiting the girl’s brutal killing for all its worth.

Jack’s news hunch pays off and he’s once again at the top of his game but today’s news is tomorrow’s chip paper and he desperately needs another killing to keep the momentum going. Thankfully for him, The New Prophet is of a like mind and sends Jack an ominous text that suggests things are only just beginning to heat up.  But as Jack is drawn further into the demented plans of his new-found cash cow, and with the police seemingly stumped as to the identity of the killer, he swiftly comes to realise that he may be playing with a fire he can’t hope to contain.

Rex Richards’ second novel, The New Prophet is certainly not for the faint-hearted or the easily offended. It comes across like the illicit offspring of Martin Amis’s Money and TV’s Drop the Dead Donkey, firing a savage salvo at what he perceives as broadcast news’s cynical obsession with tragedy and misery, and the hollow cult of celebrity.

There’s a rich, inventive vein of darker than dark comedy pulsing throughout the narrative, which keeps the reader gripped as they scramble to learn more about The New Prophet and his murderous motivations.

A side-plot about the media’s reckless whipping up of Islamophobic hysteria, pointing the finger at a Muslim man for the atrocities, is so on the nose that it stings, and the author’s own background in broadcast journalism is called upon to provide a shocking indictment of all that he sees as wrong with the current climate.

It won’t be to everyone’s taste, but fans of biting satire and extreme thrillers may find The New Prophet to be a revelation.

The New Prophet by Rex Richards is out now, priced £9.99 in paperback and £2.39 as a Kindle eBook. It is available for sale on Amazon UK.

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Sovereignty by Rhys Hagan

By Staff Writer

This powerful second novel from acclaimed Australian writer Rhys Hagan is an engaging and thought-provoking piece of historical fiction, set in Judea in the time of Jesus Christ.

The author, whose debut novel Hunting Taylor Brown received rave reviews on its release in 2016, has spoken publicly about his own experiences with a religious cult, and this carefully-plotted book takes a long hard look at the theme of corruption in organised religion.

It’s far from a dull trawl through religious history – Hagan, who clearly knows a good deal about some religious leaders’ ability to deceive and mislead their followers, immerses the reader in a world where these Biblical figures trade jokes and insults like modern day ‘banter’, and characters discuss Christianity from a marketing perspective: “Right. So, I think we should start considering how we’ll get in touch with the rest of the population. Make the movement exclusive—elite…as Egypt has its Egyptians, Christ should have his Christians.”  Entering into a contract with the ruthless Pilate, Amphion sets out to exploit the religious ‘naivety’ of the locals. With ruthless cunning, he cons them into believing that the messiah is among them – and that he wants them to part with their cash. Wise to the numbers of people that gather to hear the words of Jesus of Nazareth, Amphion blackmails Jesus into declaring himself the Son of God, and convinces followers to donate to the ‘church’.

Against a backdrop of political and religious unrest and violence – rape, murder and torture are among the cruelties dealt out by some of the book’s more nefarious characters – Amphion enlists the help of his brother Marcus and good friend Dismas to stage ‘miracles’ for Jesus to publicly perform, and establish a new religious group, the ‘Christians’.

In a volatile political climate, these religious rumblings are noticed by Israel and Rome’s foremost scholars, leaders, and even underground assassins.  Success comes at a huge personal price – as he counts his riches Amphion’s family are found complicit in conspiring against the Jewish religion and are consequently found guilty of inciting unrest in Judea.  With his family and friends dead or estranged, and his enemies bearing over him, Amphion finds himself looking to Christ for words of wisdom, but the ‘Son of God’ is also set to meet the ultimate punishment.

Humanity’s capacity for self-deception is a key theme of the book, and as an author and religious cult survivor, Hagan raises some pertinent issues, highlighting the need to look out for ‘red flags’ in religious leaders looking to exploit vulnerable members of society for their own ends.  While there’s no doubt that the central theme is a controversial one, this is not a book that sets out to be offensive or to poke fun at Christianity. Rather, it’s a thoughtful and thought-provoking work of historical fiction that raises some important talking points.


Sovereignty by Rhys Hagan is out now in print and as an eBook priced £11.97 and £4.79. It is available from Amazon UK. Visit

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By Staff Writer

The humble crossword, a staple of newspapers the world over, can quickly become something of an obsession, as many keen readers will no doubt attest. But what if the solving – or not– of a particular clue was something that could not only bruise your ego but actually cost you your life?  That is the intriguing premise of The Foggiest Notion, a surreal stand-alone adventure that, as far as this reviewer is aware, enjoys the distinction of being the first novel in history about crosswords.

The story centres on a remarkable day in the life of Colin Holly, an emotionally-repressed former maths teacher and recovering alcoholic whose one remaining interest is the daily cryptic crossword puzzle of the Daily Voice newspaper.  Things get off to an unusual start for Colin when a train nearly destroys his London home – a train travelling sideways on freshly-laid tracks set flat against the fronts of the houses down his street.

Colin quickly learns that crossword clues can manifest in the real world creating all manner of strange thing, such as a sideways train, and, unless promptly solved, run the risk of causing untold chaos and destruction. These clues come in pairs and the manifestations only disappear when both clues are cracked. It is up to Colin, an unlikely hero at one point described as a “knight in shining knitwear”, to vanquish the errant clues and solve the grid before time runs out and the cruciverbal creations become permanent fixtures.

Helping him is a small rag-tag bunch consisting of teenage girl Kia and her two unusual uncles: Uncle Sid, who has an odd habit of speaking only in anagrams, and Uncle Jasper, who reels off thesaurus lists. They are part of a team of specialised wordsmiths dedicated to solving crosswords and preserving the reality status quo. They have been drawn to Colin, who, it is revealed, is a ‘Solver’ – a chosen one sent to assist in the fight against the particularly fiendish grids. Unfortunately, the crossword creatures are also being drawn to Colin, driven on by an innate survival instinct and willing to go to any lengths to destroy the Solver before he destroys them.

Hopping off to solve the various clues, the group visit some very strange places, such as an antiquated sailing ship with a measuring device and the Chameleon Realm, a bizarre land where everything tries to look like its surroundings. They also have run-ins with a list of colourful characters including a roving reporter, a band of murderous corporate blackmailers and a robot steel band, not to mention the titular Foggiest Notion itself – a wispy malevolence hell-bent on thwarting Colin and allowing all future crossword constructs to roam the world unchallenged.

If that wasn’t enough, Colin and the team need to work out why more than 90 MPs have mysteriously vanished, and how a 20-ft three-year-old child connects with the peculiar goings-on. There’s a certain ‘Arthur Dent’ vibe to Colin, and comparisons with the equally imaginative Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy wouldn’t, on the surface, be out of place.

But The Foggiest Notion’s closest relation would probably be Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, where author Lewis Carroll, a noted mathematician, revelled in playing with logic and mathematical concepts in his nonsensical tale.

The same applies to this novel and its author, who is a seasoned professional crossword compiler writing for a number of national newspapers and magazines including the Daily Mirror, Sunday Telegraph and BBC Focus. Breman has a genuine passion for cryptic crosswords, the crazy images that clues conjure up and the real sense of achievement in solving them.

It goes without saying that The Foggiest Notion will appeal to all fans of wordplay, especially those who love their crosswords, but it also has much to offer fans of quirky fantasy adventures. And for those who wish they were better at cryptic crosswords, the book also serves as an entertaining and insightful guide to the different types of puzzle commonly encountered. Colin and the team explain their solutions step-by-step so readers can follow along and, hopefully, improve their own skills in the process. As an added encouragement, at the end of each chapter is a 15 x 15 grid that slowly fills with all the clues solved so far.

A most singular and enjoyable novel, The Foggiest Notion is best approached like a cryptic crossword clue: don’t ask why things are, it’s just because the grid says so.

The Foggiest Notion (Lager Than Life Books), book one of The Cryptic Chronicles, is out now, priced £8.99 in paperback and £4.99 as an eBook. It is available for sale on Amazon UK

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The Seven Deadly Sins of Innovation & The Seven Heavenly Habits of Innovation by Mat Shore

When the financial crisis struck in 2007, the tech sector was told to innovate or die. An intellectual stampede ensued as enterprising CEOs appointed over-zealous experts to create something – literally anything – revolutionary. What followed, predictably, was a glut of painfully pointless products, most of which were executed – very publicly in some cases – soon after launch.

Now brands are again being warned that innovation is vital if they are to remain relevant to consumers; UK companies, in particular, “must act” if they are to succeed in a post-Brexit world.

The Seven Deadly Sins of Innovation & The Seven Heavenly Habits of Innovation, a new two-book compendium by Mat Shore, sets out to analyse the phenomenon and, in so doing, to help decision makers make considered choices about the products and services they bring to market.

Shore, an innovation specialist and consultant for a string of blue-chip clients, is not afraid to name and shame. His books are packed with examples of innovation gone right (“heavenly”) and those gone very, very wrong (the “sinful”). The sinful Nokia Hair Coach, for instance, was in Shore’s view created on the assumption that a consumer need can be created. The remarkable success of Lego Friends, the children’s TV series and merchandise range, on the other hand, was devised to fulfil a clear need in the market. (Developers realised that girls tended to play with Lego in a different way to boys that repackaging standard Lego in a more ‘feminine’ way would not work. Instead, they introduced a new range of character-driven products that became an instant hit).

So what, if anything, can be done? For a start, don’t treat customers like dummies, Shore recommends. Most failures can be avoided, he says, by asking consumers what they need and want before presenting them with a solution, however ingenious (expensive, and over-engineered) that solution might be. Insight-driven innovation, on the other hand, focuses on meeting real-world needs, rather than pulling them “out of thin air”, as Shore puts it.

Shore’s work is excellent, certainly, and has the potential of helping most CEOs avoid the perils of their predecessors. But can a book alone really knock any sense into the super-arrogant decision makers? Perhaps a better, more innovative solution would be to hit them with it. They say the bigger a man’s head the worse his headache, after all.

The Seven Deadly Sins of Innovation is priced £11.95 in hardback; The Seven Heavenly Habits of Innovation is priced £11.95 in hardback; The compendium edition is priced £15.99 in hardback. Visit

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Hurry – Entries for the 2018 Wicked Young Writer Awards close on 12th March 18


Now in its 8th year, the Wicked Young Writer Awards is a chance for young people from across the UK and Ireland aged between 5 and 25, to write on a theme or subject of their choice, so absolutely anything! It’s your chance to get creative and write on any theme that interests you. Young people are free to submit entries written at home or at school, and teachers are encouraged to enter writing on behalf of their pupils. The judges want to hear your voices through original writing and stories.

FICTION categories – any creative writing will be accepted including a story, play, or poem with five age ranges – 5-7 years old   •   8-10 years old   •   11-14 years old   •   15-17 years old   •   18-25 years old

NON-FICTION categories – enter the Wicked: For Good Award for Non-Fiction and write an article, essay, biography, review or letter, to name a few! – 15-17 years old   •   18-25 years old

Launched in 2010, the free-to-enter, annual creative writing competition for 5-25 year olds raises money for, and awareness of, the National Literacy Trust who campaign to improve public understanding of the vital importance of literacy.  The Wicked Young Writer Awards was established by the long-running musical WICKED to link the important messages of the production with a competition that would inspire young people to use creative writing to look at life a little differently. Since its launch in 2010, over 20,000 entries have been received.

Deadline for entries is  MONDAY 12th MARCH 2018. Entrants can submit their writing by visiting, where they will also find writing tips and resources from the Award judges.

JUDGING PANEL – The acclaimed WICKED YOUNG WRITER AWARDS, created and sponsored by the award-winning musical WICKED in association with the National Literacy Trust, are delighted to announce that author, award-winning journalist and former Labour MP Ed Balls is returning to join on the judging panel, alongside acclaimed Young People’s Laureate for London, Caleb Femi and Editor-in-Chief of First News, Nicky Cox MBE. Author and illustrator of the How to Train Your Dragon books, Cressida Cowell, returns as Head Judge for the fourth consecutive year, together with long-standing judges Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust and Michael McCabe, Executive Producer of WICKED.


  • 750-word limit (not including the title words)
  • Entrants must be aged between 5-25 years old when entering the Wicked Young Writer Awards
  • Entries can be hand-written or typed
  • Writing must be original and your own ideas
  • Judges criteria: originality, narrative, descriptive language, characterisation.
  • Ensure that all students include their name, surname and age on the entry form
  • Open to UK residents only

Full Rules can be found at Wicked Young Writer Awards


  • 120 finalists from across the UK will see their work published in the WICKED YOUNG WRITER AWARDS Anthology, which will be published in association with Young Writers ( The 120 finalists are also invited to an exclusive ceremony at London’s Apollo Victoria, home to the musical WICKED since 2006, where judges and members of the WICKED cast announce who has won in each category.
  • The overall winners from each category will win £50 book/eBook tokens, and the 5-14 year old winners will receive £100 worth of books for their school library kindly donated by Hachette Children’s Group.
  • Winners in the 15-17, 18-25 and FOR GOOD categories will also win an exclusive writing experience with one of the Awards’ literacy partners.
  • The three schools that submit the most entries will also win a Creative Writing Workshop for their school for up to thirty students delivered by WICKED’s education team.
  • Winners in all categories receive a VIP family experience at the West End production of WICKED, including tickets, an exclusive backstage tour and a meet-and-greet with members of the cast.


NATIONAL LITERACY TRUST – The Award is proud to partner with National Literacy Trust.  One person in six in the UK lives with poor literacy. This holds them back at every stage of their life. As a child they won’t be able to succeed at school, as a young adult they will be locked out of the job market, and on becoming a parent they won’t be able to support their child’s learning. Lacking these vital skills undermines their well being and stops them making a full contribution to the economic and cultural life of our nation. The National Literacy Trust is a national charity dedicated to raising literacy levels in the UK. It works to improve the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills in the UK’s most disadvantaged communities, where up to 40 per cent of people have literacy problems. Its research and analysis make it the leading authority on literacy. Because low literacy is intergenerational, the National Literacy Trust focuses its work on families, young people and children.

FIRST NEWS – First News is the Media Partner to the awards and is the UK’s only newspaper for young people. It was founded in 2006 by Sarah and Steve Thomson with editor Nicky Cox. It has always been independently owned and have no political affiliations. It is published both print and digital editions every Friday. Ten years on, over 2 million young people nationwide read First News each week with over half of all UK schools subscribing to the paper.

LOVEREADING – We have just joined the Awards as a partner for 2018. LoveReading is a unique family of websites including and Lovereading4schools, and media channels which helps to connect writers, readers, publishers and organisations with an active and enthusiastic audience of book lovers.

THE LITERACY SHED – a unique online resource for teachers, home to a wealth of visual resources collected by primary school teacher Rob Smith over 10 years as a teacher. The Literacy Shed has over 24k followers on Twitter.

PRIMARY TIMES – over 18 million copies of Primary Times magazines distributed every year through primary schools in 59 regions across the UK and Ireland.

Based on the acclaimed novel by Gregory Maguire that ingeniously re-imagines the stories and characters created by L. Frank Baum in ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’, WICKED tells the incredible untold story of an unlikely but profound friendship between two sorcery students. Their extraordinary adventures in Oz will ultimately see them fulfil their destinies as Glinda The Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.  Now in its 12th year in London and acclaimed as “one of the West End’s true modern classics” (Metro), WICKED has already been seen by over 8.5 million people in London alone and is the recipient of over 100 major awards worldwide, including ten theatregoer-voted WhatsOnStage Awards (winning ‘Best West End Show’ on three occasions) and two Olivier Audience Awards in the UK.

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LoveReading Expert on Goldsboro Books Romantic Novel of the Year Judging Panel

The Romantic Novelists’ Association has announced the judges for this year’s Goldsboro Books Romantic Novel of the Year. Among the judging panel this year is our very own LoveReading Expert Reviewer, Liz Robinson. Liz is joined by Fiction Buyer Matt Bates, editor Alex Hammond, and writer Elizabeth Buchan on the judging panel.

300 books have been submitted by hopeful writers to this year’s Romantic Novel of the Year Awards. The submissions are narrowed down, with a shortlist to be announced on the 8th February. The winner will be announced by Richard Coles at the RoNA Awards in London on the 5th March. This prestigious event will be hosted by a familiar face, the Reverend Richard Coles. Rev. Richard will present the winner with a trophy and a cheque for £5,000 at The Gladstone Library in London. The event’s host first became famous as a part of the 80s chart-topping bands Bronski Beat and The Communards. Following his musical success, Richard became a Church of England priest. However, he remains a popular figure, most recently appeared as a contestant in the latest season of Strictly Come Dancing.

There will be seven awards up for grabs at the Romantic Novel Awards: Contemporary, Epic, Historical, Paranormal or speculative Fiction, Romantic Comedy, Young Adult and the RoNA Rose Award for Shorter Romantic Novel. The four independent judges will read the winners of each category and then decide the overall winner of the Award. The RNA Chair Nicola Cornick has said that they are “thrilled to have such an enthusiastic and knowledgeable panel of judges with such a commitment to the romantic fiction genre”.

We look forward to finding out the winner of the Goldsboro Books Romantic Novel of the Year!

A Bit More About the Judges

Matt Bates is a Fiction Buyer for WH Smith Travel. He featured in the Evening Standard Top 1000 most influential Londoners. Aside from his work, Matt has also contributed to book-related articles for The Daily Telegraph, Daily Express and The Bookseller. The RNA awarded Matt Bates the Bookseller of the Year Award in 2015, and he was a judge for the Novel category of The Costa Book Prize and The Booksellers’ Association Debut Fiction Category Prize in 2016.

The editor, Alex Hammond holds a BA (Hons) in American Literature with Creative Writing and an MA in Creative Writing. Alex is also currently working towards his PhD in Creative Writing. With a CV that includes working with literacy agency Rogers, Coleridge & White, with a number of different authors such as Zadie Smith, Phillip Henser and Joe Dunthorne, Alex is now an editor, mentor and scout as part of the Cornerstones Literary Consultancy in 2014.  

Elizabeth Buchan had a job in publishing before becoming a full-time writer. Consider the Lily won he Romantic Novel of the Year in 1994, and Middle-Aged Woman not only became an international bestseller but was transformed into a CBS Primetime Drama. The author was also the chair of the RNA, the Betty Trask and Desmond Elliot literary prizes. Elizabeth has also been a judge for the Whitbread First Novel Award and the 2014 Costa Novel Award. Her vast judging experience will mean she knows exactly the quality required for an award-winning book.

Liz Robinson has been a part of the team at LoveReading since the start of 2014. Liz is an integral member of our panel of expert reviewers and the editorial team. Before this Liz worked as a Police Civilian for twenty years. During this time, one of her roles was a Criminal Intelligence Analyst. Her well-honed scrutiny will be perfect when working to choose the Goldsboro Books Romantic Novel of the Year. Liz enjoys all genres from crime, mysteries and thrillers to romance, family dramas and relationship tales.

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The Choice, by Tim Woodbridge

By Staff Writer

The Choice delves into the tormented psyche of Henry Hoare II, the fabulously wealthy 18th-Century English banker whose world-famous gardens at Stourhead, Wiltshire, are among the National Trust’s most celebrated attractions.

Drawing on new (and highly compelling) research, Woodbridge’s fascinating debut reveals the tragic events that may have led to the creation of Stourhead’s iconic Great Lake – one of the most photographed spots in Britain – and the dark, grief-stricken demons that plagued its creator.

Most experts have until now agreed that Hoare created the Great Lake in memory of his late wife, Susan, and as a legacy for his son and sole heir, Henry Hoare III. Woodbridge, however, posits a different hypothesis. He argues that Hoare, one of the richest men in England at the time, spiralled into depression following Henry’s untimely death (he died of smallpox at the age of 22). With no wife nor heir, the garden he lovingly created for them was a painful, epic reminder of what could have been. Instead, Hoare chose to flood the original garden and all that it represented, thereby creating the Great Lake we know today.

The Choice is part biography, part family saga. It weaves historical fact with fictional colour to create a superb account of what may have really taken place behind the doors of one of England’s finest stately homes. In his introduction, Woodbridge provides an insight into his own passion for, and knowledge of, Stourhead. Indeed, this book could only have been written by somebody with a weighty knowledge of the subject. Based on his own research and that of his late father, Kenneth (who was widely regarded as the leading authority on Henry Hoare), and drawing on the findings of the 2005 Stourhead Lake Project (a collaboration between the National Trust and the Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS), The Choice offers interesting suggestions for some of the other more curious aspects of the garden: Why was a temple housing a statue of the goddess Ceres named after the goddess Flora, for instance?

Backing up his text with highly detailed references and helpful illustrated maps, Woodbridge has created an illuminating tale of 18th-Century life in the upper echelons of society. It draws the reader into the world of social climbers and begins with an argument over, (fittingly), money: As Hoare gathers family members around and unveils the less-than-warmly-welcomed nature of his will, the scene is set for an engrossing account of the politics at play in the Hoare household.

It is to the author’s credit that he has packed such a lot into a concise tome – the book comes in at little over 150 pages, not counting the impressively-lengthy appendices that illustrate the weight of the research involved.

The Choice, then, will appeal to those with an interest in gardening, social history and architecture. But it is a gripping, emotional read, in its own right and a niche bestseller in the making.

The Choice (Dotesio Publishing) is out now, priced £8.99 in paperback and £7.99 as a Kindle eBook. It is available on Amazon UK

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Help the CLPE Build a Literacy Library

The CLPE Fundraising for Literacy Library

Childhood brings back memories of fairy tales, bedtime stories and the beginning of a lifetime love of the written word. The books that we read as children shape our opinion of reading for an entire lifetime. Here at LoveReading, we are passionate about all books, as are The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE). The CLPE promotes raising the literacy achievement of children, ensuring quality children’s literature is at the heart of learning.

However, the CLPE are in need of help. The registered charity is working to guarantee a home for their enormous, permanent collection of books. The team behind the charity currently occupy a beautiful library space which is located in Waterloo. This  building is in need of refurbishment, so the charity is working to build a brand new Literacy Library to house their 23,000 children’s books and continue to encourage more school children to get excited about literacy.

The CLPE’s plan would create more space for teachers, with 2,000 already working with the organisation each year. This new space will also make the organisation’s resources more available to other literacy charities and literature organisations. This will be beneficial for those who unfortunately don’t have access to an event, library or training space. The project will create a resource that will benefit the work of literacy charities in England and the learning of millions of children.

The Story So Far

So far, the CLPE has completed the first phase of the work, which has cost £150,000. The charity has also raised £50,000 towards the second phase of the project. To find out more and donate, head over to their crowdfunding page.

Those wanting to help protect the literacy achievements of primary school children in can do so by buying a shelf (£100), bookcase (£500), or alcove (£1,000) in the new Literacy Library. Those who support the charity’s work will be permanently remembered, with their name on display in the new library. So far the charity has seen a tremendous amount of support from all corners of the literary world. Anderson Press and Knights Of have bought a bookcase and a shelf respectively, with further interest shown by Bonnier, Simon and Schuster, Usbourne.

The new Literacy Library will be able to support the work of a large number of charities and organisations who work to ensure that quality children’s literature is located at the heart of all learning. Get involved by visiting their crowdfunding page.

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True Love: Love Explained by Science by Dr Fred Nour

They say love is blind but here’s a new book that for the first time offers a clear and clinical view of that most fundamental of human experiences.

A science-focused analysis of love that reduces every amorous sensation and feeling to a practical biological function might sound like it would shatter any romantic ideals, but in fact it offers fascinating insights into our behaviour that could actually help us find, and hold on to, a true love that lasts a lifetime.

And it couldn’t come at a better moment. With divorce and separation rates soaring, couples seem to be finding it harder than ever to form bonds that stand the test of time.

Unlike other books on the science of love, True Love is actually written by a scientist. Respected US-based neurologist and neurophysiologist Dr Fred Nour, himself happily married with children, thinks the reason why many partnerships dissolve is that individuals have enshrined unrealistic expectations when it comes to love.

Over the course of the book’s 300-plus pages he carefully deconstructs love so, by the end, we understand the whole process in the same way that a magician might explain his tricks. His hope is that armed with this knowledge, people will make better choices and enjoy the rich rewards that science shows comes with true love.

Beginning by outlining the evidence that the concept of ‘love’ exists in all human cultures and has existed since time immemorial, he goes on to explain in simple terms why we experience love in the first place.

This is on account of the evolution of the human brain, moving beyond the basic mechanical responses of the primitive reptilian brain where the concept of a loving relationship is impossible, and past the more advanced avian mind, to our multi-faceted grey matter.

What may come as a surprise is that love is, actually, comprised of four distinct phases, all determined by changing chemical interactions within the brain.

Drawing upon extensive and carefully cited research, Dr Nour addresses each phase in turn, outlining its purpose and the mechanisms at play in the body.

The first phase of love is mate selection, and it’s interesting to learn that exactly whom we ‘fall for’ is based on our own genetics and brains. There are a whole number of ways someone unconsciously determines if another is potentially ‘the one’, such as the pheromones they give off, but this is hard-wired and can’t be influenced by potential beaus to any substantial degree.

This is followed by the romance phase, where the brain produces a potent mix of neurotransmitters called monoamines that are responsible for those giddy feelings of joy and exhilaration.

The bad news, Dr Nour reveals, is that this is only a passing phase and can’t last more than two to three years. It’s the next stage – the ‘falling out of love’ phase – that leaves many couples crashing on the rocks just as the levels of monoamines coming crashing back down.

But bitter as it may feel, falling out of love is actually essential to allow us to properly assess a potential mate before committing to starting a family. From a Darwinian perspective this makes total sense: parents need to be able to form long-term bonds to care for their offspring.

The changes in the brain during this stage allows the final phase, and proper biological goal of love, to come into effect. Dr Nour calls this ‘true love’ and it is determined by the level of nonapeptides (oxytocin and vasopressin) in the brain. Unlike the intensity of the romance period, true love is gradual and effortful but can last forever.

The book may sound dry and scientific but it’s anything but. Nour writes with an admirable clarity and personality that carries the reader along without any danger of being swamped by science, while he illustrates his points through sharing personal experiences — both from his own life and those of associates — and constant call-backs to pop culture such as love songs and romantic films.

Ideal for fans of popular science or anyone who is curious about how and why Cupid shoots his arrows, True Love is a book you will quickly find yourself falling for.

True Love: Love Explained by Science (Niguel Publishing) by Dr Fred Nour is available now, priced £14.95 in hardback. Visit

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