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The Watcher's House
The Watcher's House
by Kathy Laity
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring parable lovingly wrapped in a mesmerisingly gripping tale, 27 May 2014
This review is from: The Watcher's House (Paperback)
This wonderful story begins at the beginning, with the eponymous Watcher pacing anxiously in a “thin place” at the world's edge, as a luminous Messenger brings the news he's been waiting for, that those on whom the whole world depends are on their way.

In this mesmerisingly gripping tale, the book's fascinating heroine, fifteen-year-old Ariella and her friends, the rational-minded Megan, dark horse Liam and handsome Jaron, set out on an ordinary bike ride across the salt marshes to discover the extraordinary in the Watcher's House. There, they explore the Library of the Courts and are encouraged by the Watcher on a thrilling quest to find the Son of the great Lord, the Gardens of Heaven and the Tree of Life, to combat the 'great evil' about which the Watcher warns them, that threatens the whole world.

Each of the friends must go through their own particular life-changing experience with the Son's help, their own journey and a white-knuckle ride of challenges unique to each, facing perils together, gradually learning the truth of the Watcher's timely reminder that “for evil to triumph all it takes is for good people to do nothing.”

Whether you read this delightful story as an inspirational Christian parable, a gripping adventure, a moving fable, or all of these and more, you and the readers around you (10 years + to adult) won't fail to be blessed by its beautifully written narrative, vivid imagery, strong characterisation and lively dialogue. Another treasure from Kathy's inspired pen, born of her passionate desire to communicate truth and love.

Old Fashioned Christmas
Old Fashioned Christmas
Price: 0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Old Fashioned Christmas, 19 Dec 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If you only buy one Christmas single this year – why not treat yourself to this one? In this beautiful song, Andy Oliver has crafted into words that secret inner yearning for the old fashioned values of a traditional Christmas, combined with a haunting melody and sweet tender harmonies that make this track as scrummy as roasted chestnuts round the fire and as heartwarming as mulled wine with a stick of cinnamon on the side!

“When your heart fills with joy that your mind can't explain,
And you pray to the gods just to make snowflakes out of the rain,
Oh, for that old fashioned Christmas Day”

As this gorgeous earworm snuggles its way into your heart, may you discover old fashioned Christmas blessings for you and yours!

Inside Grief (Hope for the Hurting)
Inside Grief (Hope for the Hurting)
by Kathy O'Brien
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A companion through life's darkest hours, 24 Aug 2012
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I can't recommend this book about bereavement highly enough. Sensitive, heartrendingly honest, compellingly written and so helpful. Kathy is wise and compassionate in sharing her experience of losing some of those loved ones closest to her heart, and how through her simple, deep and passionate faith she gradually learned how to live through the most heartbreaking times to walk again in hope and thankfulness.

If you or someone you know might need its message of hope in the darkest hours life can throw, this book may be a trustworthy companion on the way through.

Marriages of Destiny
Marriages of Destiny
by Kathy Laity
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.09

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Encouraging and anointed, 15 Aug 2012
This review is from: Marriages of Destiny (Paperback)
Philip and Kathy have written a book alive with honesty, joy and encouragement. This wonderful book is for all Christians seeking to understand and be faithful to God's plan for their walk with Him. For Christian single souls and those earnestly seeking a life partner, this book will surely be a blessing to many. One of its strengths is its encouragement to prayerful reflection at every stage of the journey. With grace, compassion and scrupulous honesty Kathy and Philip help the reader face the many barriers, misconceptions, dreams, delusions and pitfalls that can threaten the integrity of Christian experience of human relationships. For those who have ever longed to find God's chosen partner for them, for those who feel a wistful yearning around their single status, for all who seek to support single people and couples in their own communities and churches, this book is a must-read. It is so much more than a love story, or a prayer manual. It misses nothing - spirit, soul and body and the needs we all share in these areas of relationship are explored in detail with humour, wisdom and prayerfulness.

The book is easy and delightful to read. It is hard to put down, as Kathy and Philip tell their own story in such a refreshing way, frank about the problems, blessings, surprises, frustrations, challenges and dovetailing details of God's plan for their own lives as He gradually, faithfully brought them together. They have also included the marriage stories of several other couples in different situations, always highlighting the lessons learned, the prayer points along the way, to encourage Christians of all ages not to abandon hope, or give up on what God has in His heart for them, at any age or stage of life.

Humorous, celebratory, thankful, wise - cover to cover, this is the book many Christians have ached to read and I highly recommend it to everyone who hopes to discern God's will for them. It is full of unexpected blessings and discoveries about the love in God's heart for every one of us seeking to live guided by the whisper of his loving Spirit.

TeckNet@ Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Leather Cover/Case With Built-in Magnet for Sleep/Wake Feature + Screen Protector - Black
TeckNet@ Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Leather Cover/Case With Built-in Magnet for Sleep/Wake Feature + Screen Protector - Black
Offered by TECKNET
Price: 9.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous Kindle Premium Folio Case, 31 May 2012
I purchased this beautiful and practical case as part of a Christmas gift for my mother. The product was despatched so promptly and was perfect as an attractive protection for the new Kindle. My mother was so delighted with her present which is her constant companion. Five months later with frequent travel and usage, the Folio Case still looks pristine and stylish. My mum especially loves the feature of the inner pocket, which she finds useful to store small notes and papers etc Thank you so much to this excellent seller. Highly recommended!

Billy & Mr Cloudman
Billy & Mr Cloudman
Price: 4.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful for kids - delicious for "big kids", too!, 3 May 2011
This wonderfully imaginative story is alive with daydreams that come true for one little boy called Billy, but its appeal to the dreamer in all of us, youngsters and big kids alike, gives this lovely tale a much wider appeal.

We're drawn irresistibly straight into the middle of Billy's world, a world where we discover through his eyes the wonders of the natural universe, meteorology, the thrill and buzz of language's rhythms and cadences, laughter, adventure, relationships, surprises, and so much more!

The book begins right in the action, with Billy outside on a cloud, with a race in the offing. Billy's daydream "I wish I could ride on a cloud and make it dash across the sky" suddenly starts to come true when he encounters a new friend in Mr Cloudman, who shows Billy how natural phenomena like snowflakes, fog and clouds are designed and made out of ideas and imagination. The author shows us comic and touching glimpses all through the story of how Billy and the reader can look at nature in a childlike, celebratory way, discovering exciting new things about life on the way.

A starling is shown its inner beauty after it flies smack into Billy's head as he hurtles along on his cloud in "L-plate" mode! In a message that we could all usefully learn, the crotchety starling discovers its own inner beauty, as Billy helps it see that far from being "old measles face" as the other birds call him, to childlike eyes, the bird's iridescent plumage is exotic and beautiful. "The Ugly Duckling" could hardly teach this lesson of the transforming power of appreciation more deftly and charmingly that Kathy Laity does here and elsewhere in this book.

The imagery and hypnotic power of the vocabulary the author uses mean that, while the book is not illustrated, the reader's imagination is stimulated and given full rein to savour the amazing world of animals, birds, mountainsides, jungles, seas and skies, conjured clearly in the mind's eye of wonder. I love the onomatopoeic joy of phrases like "A huge clawed paw swiped the air," dissolving into comic touches like "cutting through Mr Cloudman's bottom lining, but missing Billy's feet," and nonsense, giggle-inducing lines like "Hmm, to the NeverNeverland of NogoNogo" which remind us that this book is meant to be shared aloud and makes an ideal bedtime story after watching the sunset creep across the sky at the end of another enchanting day.

The story is full of gentle comedy and charming moments of freshness. At any age, we can have fun seeing Billy trying to hug the cloud and his hands slipping through. Children will understand cause and effect as Billy's attempts to "show off" driving his cloud bring him crashing to earth, buffered by his cushiony new friend Cloudman!

Children and grown ups alike can enjoy the way certain familiar phrases and ideas puzzle us, but here, in the world of creative daydream seem to make sense: "Billy sucked in his breath, thinking it might make him smaller. He felt sure if he let it out, he's be too fat and they'd get stuck. After all, when his dad was passing a car too closely, he always said, "breathe in now!" comes as they squeeze in between two vertical rock faces. The story builds on the familiar to unleash a child's imagination to re-dream the world around and make exciting new discoveries.

There are so many wonderful discoveries to be made here: the notion that it's the ideas of schoolchildren that transform the blueprint for a snowflake into each and every individual and unique flake. Billy's suggestions about fish scales (we learn about a real "mackerel sky"!), dolphin-unicorns (you'll never think of a narwhal in quite the same way after reading this!), dinosaurs (a wonderful passage where a dinosaur-dragon creature from Billy's imagination helps to paint the fiery colours of a special sunset) are all used by Cloudman in designing the cloudscapes even Billy's friend can enjoy from below on terra firma.

A creator who really shares and participates in the lives of his creation, where even the tiniest child can contribute his and her part in the plan, holds this tale together irresistibly with an upbeat, optimistic though never heavy-handed touch. The snuggle-down-safely-to-sleep message of "we can recreate them and they can live forever in the sky" leads to the climax of the last chapter's "Grand Finale" where Cloudman helps little Billy recreate all they've seen together in the form of the clouds and the sunset. The structure of the tale, as we are reminded of the creatures we met earlier when each one is recreated in cloud form, will enable a young audience or reader to join in and remember the familiar details as the story moves to its satisfying close.

The mention that Mr Cloudman has now left (as regretfully as we readers leave this exquisite story!) for his nightly duties on the moon, make me hope that there may be more in this series in the future. Download this delicious piece of vibrant, reassuring, comical, life-enhancing dream-weaving today and let readers of all ages in your own corner of the clouds fly into its refreshing landscapes of delight.

Price: 7.49

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving, deep evocation of the sea and shore, 21 April 2011
This review is from: Ashore (MP3 Download)
I always wait for a new album from June with intense anticipation and high expectations. She hasn't disappointed with this haunting album. The opening track, "Finisterre" is just over 6 minutes of June's wonderful rich voice weaving images of the space between sea and land. There are no hard edges or intrusive notes here. The song comes back to me in quiet moments and I'm driven to hear again June's mystical evocation of somewhere just out of sight, off the edge of the world.

"The Bleacher Lassie of Kelvinhaugh" is a simple, unaccompanied ballad where June's vocal technique and quality of storytelling carries the listener entranced through the tale. Huw Warren's perfect trickling piano notes introduce the next track "The grey funnel line" and the spell continues unbroken. June's singing is exquisite and as usual, I was so drawn into the song that only on reflection do I actually stop to marvel at her range of sweetness between top notes and her deep, caramel bathing tone in the alto range. "Le Vingt-Cinquieme du Mois D'Octobre" is a playful, dancing voyage of sound, showcasing June's ease in delivering delightful music in any language and tradition.

Elvis Costello's "Shipbuilding" doesn't seem a likely choice, other than for its sea theme, on a superficial glance at the track listing. I have loved Elvis Costello's own rendition, as well as Robert Wyatt's splendid interpretation. June's not only stands comparison, but adds a new element of poignant wisdom to her interpretation that is moving indeed. Her choices and bold risks are a delight and a triumph here.

"Jamaica" is a track of simple instrumental from Andy Cutting's accordion, Tim Harries' bass and Mark Emerson's violin, but does much more than act as a "bridge" between June's vocal tracks, such is the sensitivity with which this themed album is produced.

"The Great Selkie of Sule Skerry", a ballad about a mythical half-seal child is delivered with June's spare, hypnotic storytelling, including a spoken section in her beautiful diction that flows seamlessly into the song as only a true troubadour in the timeless tradition could achieve.

"Winter Comes in/Vidlin Voe" has a lighter, perhaps more hopeful tone that is a subtle change of texture once again, that keeps this album unified but so varied from track to track. Themes associated with the sea, such as death, loss, separation and the bleakness of conflict are never far away, but the heart can still dance on the edge of the waves here!

"The Oggie Man" is ushered in with Huw Warren's piano and June tells the tale of the Oggie man in the best tradition of personal stories set against real life situations and the colours smudging the background with the "rain softly falling". A story of love, like so many songs in the folk tradition, but with eternity and the elements giving it all a timeless, haunting quality that June conveys so matchlessly.

"I'll go and enlist for a sailor" is another wonderful instrumental where, for me, the hiccupping clicks of Andy Cutting's diatonic accordion are charming and skippingly delicious! What a perfect team on this album, and what a perfect accompaniment these artists are for one another.

"The Brean Lament", a sweet piano ballad creeps in next, and here the title "Ashore" is heard at the start, to ground us before June takes us onto the hinterlands of deep emotion, bereavment and connection with nature. Tim Harries' bass ushers in another spoken section from June, explaining the factual subject matter of the song, concerning the sailors' burial ground on the shoreline where their boots are buried below the tide. This helps to make the song itself all the more meaningful while remaining ephemeral and wistfully grief-tinged.

The dancing beat of the penultimate track "Le petit navire", sung in French, gives rein to June's gracious humour as in spite of the upbeat nature of the tune, the words are actually dealing with cannibal activity not unknown at sea!

The final track, which always comes too soon (thank goodness for iPods and shuffle mode and "Repeat all"!) is "Across the Wide Ocean". It seems to wander in and out of keys and rhythms, restless as the sea itself, moving up and down the estuary and shore like the tide, with a pattern not easy to trace as you watch from ashore.

This is among the loveliest of June's many glorious albums, and will surely delight long term fans like myself, and act as an introduction to her genius to others who will be lucky and blessed to discover her through these beautiful songs for the first time.

Southampton Murder Victims
Southampton Murder Victims
by Jim Brown
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 10.77

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MURDER, HE WROTE, 8 Oct 2010
This is a fascinating book, well researched, lucidly written and including many photos not seen elsewhere. Written in a way that is both perceptive and compassionate to the victims of crime, this excellent volume is also a fabulous page turner into the bargain.
Anyone with an interest in real crime, in criminal and legal history, in captivating storytelling or in the Southampton area will not be disappointed. Jim Brown, the author, is well qualified to share these stories. Jim served with the murder squad as a young police officer in Southampton and worked in law enforcement and with the coroner's office in Southampton all his life. In retirement, Jim is able to share his passionate, wise and unique insights into these lives and crimes centred on Southampton.
So many "Real Crime" titles are at best pulp fiction, but Jim Brown's new book will be read voraciously by all who value good prose coupled with meticulous research and a deep understanding of people and their motivations and complexities.
I particularly value the way the author places the murders in chronological order from 1783 to 2009 which makes it easy and intriguing to see the changes taking place in procedure and attitudes over the years.
A must read! Go on - you know you want to!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 21, 2014 5:59 PM BST

Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth
Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth
by Richard Foster
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.27

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A challenging read!, 5 Mar 2010
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I had read this book before as a theology student but purchased this reprint copy this year for study in a small church house group during Lent. The title really made some of the group apprehensive - the word "Discipline" having images of failure and judgment popping into their heads before they even began! However, as the shared times of fellowship to explore the book progressed, most were amazed how encouraging and enlightening Foster helps to make the shared journey of faith or exploration.

Foster covers each of twelve areas of spiritual life: Meditation, Prayer, Fasting, Study, Simplicity, Solitude, Submission , Service, Confession, Worship, Guidance and Celebration, a chapter devoted to each with related Bible readings and suggested study questions at the end of each section.

Foster's honesty about his own personal struggles and areas of challenge on the way are encouraging and help the reader to reassess or start to explore ways of approaching God through life style choices in our modern world with all its opportunities and temptations!

Don't pick this up if you aren't hoping to go deeper into your relationship with God! You'll be disappointed! If you do want to be challenged, enriched and potentially changed forever, then fasten your seatbelt, plunge in, and may this book be one of those that blesses you this year!

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