Posts Tagged ‘Alison Menzies PR’

  • Title: The Cabinet of Calm
  • Author: Paul Anthony Jones
  • Publisher: Elliott & Thompson Ltd
  • Publication Date: 14th May 2020

Copy received from publisher for review purposes.


Sometimes we all need a little reminder that it’s going to be okay… Open The Cabinet of Calm to discover a comforting word that’s equal to your troubles.

The Cabinet of Calm has been designed to be picked up whenever you need a moment of serenity. Just select the emotion listed that reflects whatever you’re feeling and you’ll be offered a matching linguistic remedy: fifty-one soothing words for troubled times.

These kind words – alongside their definitions and their stories – will bring peace, comfort and delight, and provide fresh hope.

Written with a lightness of touch, The Cabinet of Calm shows us that we’re not alone. Like language, our emotions are universal: someone else has felt like this before and so there’s a word to help, whatever the challenge.

So much more than a book of words, The Cabinet of Calm will soothe your soul and ease your mind. It’s the perfect gift.

My Thoughts:

Books are often the thing that many people turn to in a time of need; they provide a means of escape, a form of comfort and indeed they are way to cope when in an uncertain world. And I definitely think that The Cabinet of Calm is a book that deserves its place on the shelf of “books for the soul”.

I am a huge fan of Paul Anthony Jones’s books, each of them has a place on my bookshelf and I’ve worked my way through them more than once, enjoying the luxurious feel of the language within, learning new things and allowing myself to be carried off on a wave of pure escapism and joy.

A heartfelt introduction from the author at the beginning of this book makes you stop and think about the importance of words, the power they hold and the comfort they bring. And as you weave through the pages of the delights in the book, so many resonate …

Take for instance “mooreeffoc”. Jones writes “when we become bored by the everyday world and the sights and sounds in it, taking a step back and appraising it with a fresh pair of eyes can be all that is needed to revitalise our thinking, gain a better understanding of it and revive our interest or approach to it“, a timely reminder to change the way we look at things, or change the way we think about things, may in turn change the way we feel.

A spellbinding and almost melodic collection of words, there is quite likely a word for whatever you’re feeling at the moment. As I flicked through the pages initially I was drawn to certain words and terms, feeling that I agreed with many or thought “so that’s what that feeling is called”. I love a book that gives me knowledge and Jones’s books always do that. Often it’s those phrases you’ve always wondered about but never taken the time to stop and look up, or you’ve just long accepted a meaning for the phrase without question.

A hugely recommended book, and one I would say would make the perfect gift for the word lover in your life.

Now to go and deal with a child with a case of the bocksturrocks

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Celebrating Indie Publishing sees a review of Literary Landscapes, the follow up book to Literary Wonderlands which I reviewed in October 2017.

“Hardy’s Wessex, Joyce’s Dublin, Du Maurier’s Cornwall sit alongside recent bestsellers, such as Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City and Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend.  Led by John Sutherland, a team of specialist literary critics have contributed individual essays eg Nick Lezard on Bleak House, Catherine Taylor on Bonjour Tristesse, Alison Flood on The Shipping News and Robert Macfarlane on The Luminaries.
Favourites are interspersed with the unfamiliar, but in all cases, landscape is as central to the tale as any character.”
Literary Landscapes was published by Modern Books on 18th October and is available to buy now.

Book Feature:

Description:Literary Landscapes Cover lo res

Some stories couldn’t happen just anywhere or any time – often the scenery , landscape or era is as central to the tale as any character – and just as easily recognised. What adventures would Heidi have had without her mountain neighbours? Would Jim Hawkins have experienced such an adventure had he not lived in mid – 1700s England? Literary Landscapes brings together an eclectic collage of over 50 familiar literary worlds paired with original maps and archive material, as well as illustrations and photography.

In this collection of essays the reader will follow Leopold Bloom’s footsteps around Dublin, become immersed in Les Misérable’s revolutionary Paris, feel the chill wind of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, and hear the churning paddles of Mississippi steamboats in Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn.

The landscapes of enduring fictional characters and literary legends are vividly brought to life, evoking all the sights and sounds of the original works. For anyone whoever dreamt of escaping the everyday, Literary Landscapes will transport you to the greatest places in literature.


My Thoughts & Review:

I adore books like this, books that give readers a little something more than a story, ones that give you an answer to a question that you’ve had at the back of your mind but never got round to looking up, or take you on a journey to a landscape you would love to visit.

The moment I saw this book I was wowed, the cover is instantly eye catching and gives you an idea of the detail you will uncover as you lose yourself within the pages of this book. And as soon as I opened it, I eagerly flicked through the sections of names I knew to feast on the beautiful illustrations and absorb the information before moving on to discover new places I’d love to travel to, as well as list of books to add to my ever growing reading list.

Set out in four different sections, Romantic Prospects, Mapping Modernisation, Post-War Panoramas, and Contemporary Geographies, these wonderfully detailed essays give readers a glimpse into the passion the writer holds for the subject. This passion is infectious in that it had me reaching for the mentioned books from my bookshelf, or in some cases buying a copy books that I wanted to read. It’s one of those books that you can dip in and out of, and it’s a great way to pass an afternoon, curled up on the sofa travelling to distant locations through the pages of this excellent collection.
I don’t usually mention anything about the way a book is laid out but in this instance I have to say that the illustrations are exquisite, the maps and photographs are are wonderful, and there is an almost luxurious feel to the book. It would make a great gift for book lovers!



For readers in the UK there is a chance for you to win a copy of Literary Landscapes.
Follow @modernbooks and tweet your own favourite #LiteraryLandscape for a chance to win a copy of Literary Landscapes.

This giveaway is open to UK entries only, and closes on 31st October 2018. Giveaway is not connected to The Quiet Knitter blog.



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Today’s Celebrating Indie Publishing features a brilliant book that I have thoroughly enjoyed reading and I am so thrilled to share an extract from Rebellious Spirits with you.

Rebellious Spirits was published by Elliot and Thompson on 19th April 2018 and is available to purchase now via:

Amazon UK
Book Depository

Description:Rebellious Spirits PC rev.indd

A delicious taste of the secret, exciting and often dangerous history of illicit spirits

Britain has always been a nation of enthusiastic drinkers. Any attempt to regulate, limit or ban our favourite tipple has been met with imaginative and daring acts of defiance: selling gin through pipes in a London back alley; smuggling brandy across Cornish clifftops; or dodging bombs and shrapnel running whisky in the Blitz.

The history of spirits in Britain has more illicit in it than licit – and that history has shaped these isles. Packed with wild stories, as well as authentic recipes from the past, Rebellious Spirits reveals the colourful characters and tall tales behind Britain’s long and lively love affair with booze.

The extract that I have to share with you today is on wartime cocktails, so sit back and enjoy!

We’ll Drink Again extract – Rebellious Spirits by Ruth Ball

It wasn’t just alcoholic drinks that were in short supply: production had stopped of most fizzy drinks and cordials too, leading to a terrible shortage of mixers for long drinks. Creativity and substitution came into their own here as well. No lime cordial to make a gimlet? Try a teaspoonful of lime curd! None of that either? Luckily the Ministry of Food were offering a recipe that made the best of a limited supply of citrus and egg to make an economy curd.

Lemon Curd:

1oz margarine; 1 level tablespoonful cornflour; 1 lemon (2, if small); ¼ pint water; 5oz granulated sugar; 1 egg

Peel the rind off the lemons, put into the water and bring to the boil. Beat the egg and cornflour, add the lemon juice and strain the boiling water over. Return to the pan, add the sugar and stir over heat 3 mins. Add the margarine and stir it in well, bottle immediately.

Ministry of Food advisory (1943)


For the gimlet:

2 tsp lime curd (you can make the wartime curd below, or use shop-bought)

25ml water

50ml gin

Spoon the lime curd into the bottom of a short tumbler and add the water slowly, stirring well as you do. Add the gin and give it another good stir, then add ice and serve. It’s not quite the same as it was before the war, but it’s not too bad.

For the lime curd:

Zest and juice of 2 limes

150ml water

1 egg

1 tbsp cornflour

150g sugar

30g margarine

Put the lime zest and water into a large pan and bring to the boil. While it is coming to the boil, beat the egg and sprinkle over the cornflour a little at a time, stirring continuously to prevent lumps. Then add the juice of both limes, a little at a time. Once the water has boiled, pass it through a sieve into a jug, then immediately add it to the egg while stirring. Transfer everything back to the pan and add the sugar. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, then bring back to the boil and simmer for 3 mins. Mix in the margarine and then bottle as for carrot marmalade (see page 188), or simply pour into a small bowl for immediate use.

Technically, for authenticity, your margarine should be made of whale oil; but since this is both disgusting and now illegal, it is fine to stick with something based on vegetable oil.

RebSp blog tour poster.indd

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Hello and welcome along to another post to celebrate indie publishing, where I like to shine the light on another book from an independent publisher or author and share some book love with you all.  At the moment I’m having great trouble typing as I’ve got gloves on, proper fluffy type gloves because I’m so cold right now, I’ve even got a cuppa to curl my hands round in an effort to keep them warm haha I apologise in advance for spelling errors, the gloves make it tricky to type (that’s my excuse!).

Today’s book in the spotlight is De/Cipher: The Greatest Codes  by Mark Frary and is published by Modern Books.

Book Feature:



What code is hidden on the 3700-year old Phaistos disc?

Why is the Voynich manuscript still unsolved after more than 400 years?

Did the decryption of the Zimmerman telegram help end World War 1?

What system was developed by GCHQ to make cipher exchange more secure and how does it work?

Since we first learned to communicate, the codemaker’s craft has challenged and fascinated us. For millennia, mankind has used the transmission of encrypted messages to protect privacy, share secrets, conceal truths and win wars. Highlighting the work of famous cryptanalysts, such as Alan Turing and the Colossus computer, De/Cipher offers compelling insight into the world of cryptography, revealing the cunning and ingenuity behind fifty of the greatest codes and ciphers.

My Thoughts & Review:

Who doesn’t love a good mystery?  I know that codes and cracking them have been a fascination of mine for many years.  As a child I would sit for hours inventing a cryptic code to pass communications and try to make it almost impossible to crack unless you knew the key (or atleast I thought I did, in reality they were probably really easy to crack).  So when I saw the details of this book I KNEW I had to check it out, it appealed to the wannabe spy within.

One of the things I loved most about this book was the volume of detail crammed within it’s 176 pages, I was curious whether it would be as in-depth as I’d hoped when my copy appeared, fearing that a slim book might mean minimal content but I was completely wrong.  Containing information about codes and historic codebreakers this is a wonderfully researched and well presented book.  I found that I devoured the pages with the codebreakers of history, ones that I had no clue about as well as more familiar faces.  It was enjoyable reading about “Madame X” aka Agnes Meyer Driscoll, a cryptoanalyst and her vital work in the US in the field of cryptography but equally I was fascinated to learn about Jonas Nordby, a runologist who broke the Jötunvillur code in 2014.  This book was a brilliant starting point and I ended up researching more about these people and their roles.  

Have you ever read a Cold War thriller where the operatives use ciphers to decrypt their messages to other spies?  Well there’s an entry in here about the Vic Cipher which was used by the Soviets during the Cold War as well as enough other ciphers to make the mind boggle!  Do you know the difference between a code and a cipher?  That’s something else you find out in this book.

An interesting book to pick up and read sections at your leisure, and one I think would make a good gift for the right person.

You can buy a copy of De/Cipher: The Greatest Codes via:

Amazon UK
Book Depository

** My thanks to the lovely Alison Menzies and the folks at Modern Books for my copy of this wonderful book and for taking part in Celebrating Indie Publishing **

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Hello and welcome along to another post to Celebrate Indie Publishing, today I am delighted to share a book from a publisher that is new to me, but by the looks of the books they have coming soon I’ll be a huge fan of them!  Today’s book in the spotlight is Literary Wonderlands, “a lavishly illustrated guide to almost 100 of the most perfectly imagined fictional worlds from mythology to 21 st century epics, literary allegory to pulp fiction”

Book Feature:

Literary Wonderlands_low res


A lavishly illustrated guide to almost 100 of the most perfectly imagined fictional worlds from mythology to 21st century epics, literary allegory to pulp fiction.

Literary Wonderlands explores the timeless, captivating features of literature’s greatest fictional worlds and the minds that created them. This truly global collection chronicles over two thousand years of literary creation from Homer  to The Hunger Games.

Individual entries by a prestigious group of literary specialists are beautifully illustrated with the chosen texts’ original artworks, film and television interpretations, archive material, and sketches and manuscripts by the authors themselves.  Each section details the  plot of a famous fantasy world, the historical circumstances that surrounded its production, the author’s inspiration, and the place it holds in the public imagination.

International in breadth and scope, Literary Wonderlands is an enchanting read that book lovers will not be able to resist dipping into.


My Thoughts & Review:

Have you ever read the description of a book and just been so stunned and awed?  The idea of this book just screamed “READ ME” when I looked over the description and saw the eye-catching artwork on the cover.

This book will appeal to a fair number of readers and I have to admit that I’m tempted to buy a copy for a Christmas gift that that hard to please someone (who shall remain nameless just in case he reads this and finds out what Santa is bringing him).  Covering a whole host of destinations and landscapes from literary creations, there seems to be something for most people.  I loved the appearance of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series in the Computer Age section, which also includes Margaret Atwoods’s The Handmaid’s Tale, The Game of Thrones by George R R Martin as well as Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series.
For fans of New World Order fear not, you are catered for too.  Some of the wonderful works such as  Slaughterhouse-Five from the pen of Kurt Vonnegut, The Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkien, Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams are included.
Ok, so I’ve picked out some of my favourite books and headed straight to the pages that featured them, but can you blame me?  This is the sort of book that you look at the index and mutter “wow” or “oh I wonder what that one says?” then hurriedly flick to the specified pages to soak up the details.

Fear not however, if Computer Age or New World Order aren’t your thing, there are sections on Golden Age of Fantasy, Science and Romanticism as well as Ancient Myth and Legend which all have extensive lists of masterpieces included.


Now to make this Friday more fun, Alison Menzies who kindly let me know about this book has created a wee quiz to test the grey cells ….so what do you think folks?  Shall we give it a bash?  No prizes, just the satisfaction of having a head full of information that will make you a dream participant on a pub quiz, and of course the title of “smarty pants”.

  1. Which early 14th century poem describes a journey through Hell, Purgatory and Heaven?

  2. “I don’t want to go among mad people”. In which book does a Victorian young lady say this?

  3. Where would you find Captain Nemo’s Nautilus?

  4. In which Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel does X mark the spot?

  5. Which modern American fairy tale begins on a Kansas prairie?

  6. Peter Pan is closely associated with which London park?

  7. Aldous Huxley’s masterpiece sets his World State in the 2,540. What is the novel called?

  8. Which Scandinavian writer gave us the Moomin trolls?

  9. In which castle is Titus Groan born?

  10. Which novel, set in Oceania, gives us Room 101 and Big Brother?

  11. If you step into the enchanted wardrobe, which world do you enter?

  12. What is the name of the novel by Anthony Burgess in which characters speak Nadsat?

  13. The action of which novel is set on Betelgeuse, the subject of several feature films and a 1970s tv series?

  14. In which book is Earth scheduled to be demolished to make way for a galactic hyperspace bypass?

  15. Which author wrote more than 40 novels about his Discworld?

  16. Which Margaret Atwood novel is the subject of a recent hit tv series starring Elisabeth Moss?

  17. Iain M Banks wrote 10 novels spanning 1,500 years. They are known collectively as?

  18. Lyra Belacqua is the heroine of which trilogy by Philip Pullman?

  19. Who wrote The Game of Thrones?

  20. In which year did Harry Potter first appear in print?

  21. The Bas-Lag Cycle begins with Perdido Street Station. Who wrote it?

  22. Jennifer Lawrence stars as Katniss from District 12 in which 2012 movie version of Suzanne Collins’ series?


Well how did you get on?

You can buy your copy of Literary Wonderlands via:

Amazon UK
Book Depository


** My thanks to the lovely Alison Menzies and the folks at Modern Books for my copy of this wonderful book and for taking part in Celebrating Indie Publishing **


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