Posts Tagged ‘Modern Books’

  • Title: Forest Adventures: More than 80 ideas to reconnect with nature all year round
  • Authors: Claire Gillman & Sam Martin
  • Publisher: Modern Books
  • Publication Date: 9th May 2019

Copy received from publisher for review purposes.


Gadget-free games, activities and adventures for the entire family.

Forest Adventures is jam-packed with Forest School-inspired activities you can do any time of the year, whatever the weather. With this book in hand, an adventure is surprisingly easy to come by, whether it’s birdwatching or building a sundial, making a compass or tracking wildlife. Whatever the season, the activities within are fun for the whole family and are sure to get you excited about all that nature has to offer.

My Thoughts:

With six sections, there’s bound to be an activity for everyone in this book, and a simple key makes it easier for you to gauge the difficulty of each and the time involved.

Flicking through the book with my daughter, we spotted lots of fun activities to try out, the artwork in the book sparking her interest where words didn’t. We quickly made a list of the things we’d like to try, baking brownies, making gingerbread people, making a bird feeder, beach art, learning about clouds to name a few. Plenty of laughter and fun was had as we tried out the various games and activities, and often we’d use the book as a basis and go on to expand on the ideas and have our own adventures. What started as a simple idea of beach art soon had us walking along the beach looking for stones to spell out our names and practice counting.

The only downside is that with it being summer, there’s a lack of snow for us to try out some of the cold weather inspired fun! But we will definitely be making snow shoes and ice art when the mercury plummets later in the year.

Getting outdoors and playing in the garden is wonderful and this book gave us some great inspiration, and it was quite fun handing the book to my daughter and letting her pick an activity from a section that she wanted to try out. It’s great for the summer holidays, for those days where you’ve nothing planned and the kids utter the dreaded “I’m bored”, or even a good book to keep in the caravan for ways to entertain the entire family by collecting leaves on a nature walk to make leaf rubbings or a nature picture. And the gadget free games section is perfect if the summer weather decides to stick around, get everyone out in to the garden to play frisbee or make their own kites and fly them!

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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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As we close out the year and look forward to the approaching New Year, I wanted to round up all of the posts I’ve been lucky enough to feature from independent publishers and authors this year.  There have been so many brilliant books, wonderful authors and lovely publishers who have been part of my Friday feature and I cannot begin to thank them enough for entrusting me with their books and tales, it’s an honour to be asked to review any book and I always feel so privileged.

I’ve recapped the posts from Urbane Publications, Orenda Books and No Exit Press so far, and due to flu I’ve not had a chance to pull together the posts for the other publishers who have been part of Celebrating Indie Publishing yet, but here goes!  A huge end of year round up of Indie Publishing on The Quiet Knitter.

Bloodhound Books:

Review of Death Parts Us & Author Feature with Alex Walters

Review of End of Lies by Andrew Barrett

Bombshell Books:

Review of The Trouble With Words & Author Feature with Suzie Tullett

Elliott & Thompson:

Review of The Classic FM Musical Treasury by Tim Lihoreau

Review of Foxes Unearthed: A Story of Love and Loathing in Modern Britain by Lucy Jones

Review of Sweet, Wild Note: What We Hear When the Birds Sing by Richard Smyth

Review of Hitler’s Forgotten Children by Ingrid Von Oelhafen and Tim Tate

Review of Worth Dying For: The Power and Politics of Flags by Tim Marshall

Review of Travellers in the Third Reich: The Rise of Fascism Through the Eyes of Everyday People by Julia Boyd

Review of What’s Your Bias? The Surprising Science of Why We Vote the Way We Do by Lee De-Wit

Review of The Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities by Paul Anthony Jones

Cranachan Books:

Review of Fir For Luck & Author Feature with Barbara Henderson

Review of The Beast on The Broch & Author Feature with John K. Fulton

Review The Revenge of Tirpitz & Author Feature with Michelle Sloan

Review Buy Buy Baby & Author Feature with Helen MacKinven

Review Charlie’s Promise & Author Feature with Annemarie Allan

Review Nailing Jess by Triona Scully

Review Punch by Barbara Henderson

The Dome Press:

Review Sleeper & Author Feature with J.D. Fennell

Black and White Publishing:

Review The Ludlow Ladies’ Society by Ann O’Loughlin

Modern Books:

Review De/Cipher: The Greatest Codes by Mark Frary

Review Literary Wonderlands Edited by Laura Miller


And not forgetting the wonderful authors who have been involved:

Anne Goodwin

Review of Underneath & Author Feature

Carol Cooper

Review of Hampstead Fever & Author Feature

Clare Daly

Review of Our Destiny is Blood & Author Feature

Ray Britain

Review of The Last Thread & Author Feature 


Wow, what a year it’s been!  I can honestly say that I’ve discovered some absolutely brilliant books this year, some were ones that I might not have noticed if I had not been making such an effort to read more indie books – just shows you, there are hidden gems out there, you just have to open your eyes to the possibilities of brilliance!

Thank you authors, publishers, readers, bloggers, everyone who has taken time to read my Celebrating Indie Publishing feature, everyone who has commented on the posts, your support this year has been immense and I definitely would not have managed this without you all.

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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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