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By James Minter, Nov 1 2019 11:44AM

This essential readIng in this time of climate and environmental crises for everyone. Natalie knows all too well, like other environmental campaigners, that sceptics, deniers, and doubters and even the everyday householder who is too busy with life, that the climate emergency is not real for them, and it's just a way large corporates, using fear, uncertainty and doubt, to get people to spend on replacement technology or other stuff that they may not want or need – hence her emphasis on saving the world for free.

People don't like to be on the other end of persuasive arguments as the more evidence they are offered the more likely they are to shut down. To overcome this, Natalie adopts a writing style that is engaging, sufficiently factual to add credence to her statements without being overbearing, and surprisingly humorous given the enormity and urgent nature of the topic under discussion. But it works.

The scope and breadth of this book is impressive. Natalie adopts a no-holds-barred approach to presenting a plethora of truths you may know but choose to deny -"It's nothing to do with me," - or ignore so you can remain blissfully ignorant while living in your corner of Planet Earth where all is fine. From her extensive research, it's quite clear that all is not fine for anyone no matter how wealthy, powerful or privileged they are. We are all in this together; every man, woman, and child living today or to be born in the next 50 plus years.

For me 'How to …' books are my favourite genre as an enormous amount of hard work, diligence and creative thinking are put in by the author so I can reap the benefits. In this case, it's Natalie who has done a great job. The impact, implications and potential of the climate crisis are far-reaching as shown by the inclusiveness of this book from what we eat to how we live, travel and even have sex! Now it’s down to me to adopt her suggestions.

The hard-hitting narrative doesn't leave you feeling hopeless or despairing. Instead, Natalie brings optimism, promise and a future that is inclusive, positive and full of hope provided we take action now.

This is a book written from the heart appealing to your heart and a set of values directed at the life-sustaining capacities of the Earth in the pursuit of common goals - love, truthfulness, fairness, freedom, cooperation, and oneness with others, tolerance, and a respect for all life.

I wholly recommend this book for teens, young adults and upwards, including grandparents: in short, everyone.

By James Minter, Nov 1 2019 11:24AM

I love ‘How to …’ books – there is so much to learn and so little time to do it in. Well written ‘How to...’ books significantly shorten the time needed to get to grips with a new subject. This is the case with ‘Building With Straw Bales’ by Barbara Jones. For me, entering into the world of self-building using straw was a daunting proposition; this book has removed much of the angst. Ms Jones has over 20 years’ experience and has acquired much hard-won knowledge and hands-on experience, which she gladly shares.

The book is structured in a logical sequence reflecting the building process and covers everything from building techniques, understanding straw, to carpentry, roofs, wall raising, services and fixings; plus many more equally important topics. Even the pre-building stages – planning permission, and the necessary building regulation adherences and safety compliances are covered.

Additionally, the book has many useful and inspiring photographs, graphic images for detailed explanations and a whole series of appendices with links to other valuable resources. Overall, a must-read book for anyone embarking on this exciting journey of building their low impact, environmentally friendly home.

By James Minter, Sep 3 2018 09:09AM

Any author going down the self-publishing road needs all the help they can get. There is a heap of information out there on the internet, but what Ms Inglis has done is make an excellent attempt at bringing it all together into a single place. By doing so this she’s made the information more accessible, as well as presenting it in a logically structured style – you only need to read the Table Of Contents to see that. Moreover, it is massively sourced with her hard-won knowledge and experience gained by going through the process with her books. That’s why I love “How to…” books. They capture hard-won knowledge and experience and make it available in an easily consumable form so saving you making the same mistakes, wasting time, money, or going off tangent.

Self-publishing and book marketing are significant, evolving processes, and a guide such as this cannot be complete or entirely up to date. As with all eBooks, it can be continuously corrected, amended, or added to. Ms Inglis makes good use of live links, and a password-protected resources page on her website to allow the reader to explore the software products and tools she discusses.

In conclusion, this is a book well worth purchasing for potential, new, and existing authors. For the price of your morning coffee and pastry, you gain the knowledge and expertise of successful children’s author who speaks from the heart and shares not only her successes but things that didn’t work out so well. And, that takes courage but gives the book huge credibility.

By James Minter, May 23 2018 03:40PM

For me, the holding of positive values for children and adults is essential. A set of positive values is the most significant legacy any parent can leave their child, and so I applaud any book which promotes and guides the development of values and notable in this case, kindness, respect, and trust.

Our values shape our behaviours and are especially important when we have to deal with difficult situations. Through acquiring positive values children are empowered, they can make better decisions, and are more likely to overcome the challenging issue.

My Actions Matter – A Book on Life Values by Kayla J W Marnach, is aimed both at young children and their carers. Using this book as a vehicle, teachers and carers can start a conversation with children about the issue under discussion. In addition to the illustrated story, the book features a section on behaviours and the needs the child is displaying, and further a section with open-ended question suggestions caregivers can ask children to get a discussion going.

Although the book is well presented – font choice, size and line spacing, and the illustrations are beautiful, the overuse of repetition in the narrative is too much. I know and agree that 5, 6, 7-year-olds need repetition, but in effect, there are four identical double-spread pages which are not necessary. I would have liked to see the messages given on the same pages being built upon as the book progressed.

By James Minter, May 11 2018 03:02PM

I’m a man and a husband. I appreciate this book was written tongue-in-cheek, but I hoped the Diary of A Stressed Out Mother would provide me with some insights into women and especially mothers and wives. It didn’t but instead confirmed what I always suspected we, that is men, and women, mothers, and wives are very different creatures when it comes to dealing with the home, work, children, family, friends, pets, and neighbours.

Nicola’s narrative covers a wide and varied patchwork of improbable situations, juxtaposing the surreal with the sublime like grandparents caught smuggling drugs to the free-spirited neighbour indulging in swinging. Dora, the main protagonist, has unique relationships with her parents, children, husband, sister and animals, all of which are explored in the fast-paced cacophony of absurdity. A well written, laugh-out-loud look at a middle-class, middle-aged couple dealing with life, direction and purpose.

A great pool-side read accompanied by a G&T!

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