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Fed up of Unwanted Sales Calls? Here Some Simple Ways to Stop Them

by Bob Elliott 

There is nothing more irritating that being interrupted by an unwanted sales call, but there are several things you can do to prevent being called.

If you are about to have a new line installed now is the time to decide if being ex-directory is right for you.  It is a free service and known in France as ‘Liste Rouge’.  There are both paper directories that are issued every six months and also an online directory.  If you want to set this up after your line has been activated you can, but whilst the online directory will be updated quickly you will have to wait for the next issue of the paper directly to benefit.  By that time your number may be recorded on several databases.   In any event this might not be right for you as it may stop people who you would like to hear from finding you.

If you have a phone with a caller display or caller name display and subscribe to the service (it costs 1€ per month) you can consider only answering calls you recognise.  Legitimate callers not answered are likely to leave a message.

There have been several variations of the UK’s ‘Telephone Preference Service’ in France which requires businesses to check first to see if you are listed and if so they may not cold call you, and if they do they can be fined.  The most recent and probably the best is called ‘Bloctel’, a service that is accessed on line, free and simple to use.

Screen Shot 2017-06-25 at 12.55.40If in spite of all your work, calls can still get through so stay calm and don’t let the caller intimidate you.  Never reveal your name and if you suspect a scam don’t press any phone buttons during the call as this could redirect you to a premium rate number you will be charged for.  If possible get the cold-call number as this will help organisations take action against them in the event of you making a complaint.

Do remember that many shops and online stores now ask you for your contact details so do check the marketing ‘opt in/opt out’ boxes.  If you are already receiving calls from them most will respond to a verbal request to be removed, but if they persist it is a good idea to write formally to them, giving you a valid complaint against them if they persist.

Bob Elliott   Commercial Director UKT

Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 09.01.11

Relocation to Paris – Brexit Matters

by David Anderson 

panorama-of-paris-550x240If you are being relocated to Paris we offer the following as a package. It should cover most situations though we can deal with more detailed aspects too.

Act in the sale of your English property. We have the expertise to tie in your English sale with your French purchase. Very few English solicitors have this specialist knowledge and you could end up “homeless” if things go wrong.

Act in the purchase of your French property. We provide an English report on title and advise on the contract and carry out more extensive checks and enquiries than Frenchnotaires. Please note notaires fees will still be payable. We have two experienced French qualified notaires with extensive knowledge of Parisian residential conveyancing.

Marriage contract – we will advise you on the marriage regime and prepare the marriage contract. We have technical and practical experience of these contracts which are fundamental for married couples in France.

Wills – we will advise you on Wills and draft English or French Wills as required. Review of your Wills on a move to France is essential. All Will drafting is done by us.

Tax advice – we will provide comprehensive written and understandable tax advice.

Benefits in kind advice – in most cases relocation is paid for by employers and we will advise on mitigating any benefit in kind tax charge.

Fees    Our fees estimate for the package will be given in writing once we have details of your relocation.

We will give estimates for corporate bulk relocations of employees.

Contact    Please speak to David Anderson for more information.

Sykes Anderson Perry Limited    Solicitors    + 44 203 794 5959



Reclaiming French Tax Agent’s Fees

French government had about 8 accountancy firms covering whole of France who took 1% of each sale to work out the French Capital Gains Tax!.  It was a very cosy relationship with government people and fees were extortionate. The EU declared whole thing illegal in around 2011 but was only stopped on 1st January 2015. The French government now telling people their claims are time barred.

by David Anderson of Sykes Anderson Perry Limited answers questions about reclaiming French Tax Agents fees paid by UK sellers of French property.

Please note that French law is a complex subject and you should not rely on this article without professional advice on the facts of your case.

Am I affected

UK and other EU residents who completed a sale of a French property between 1st January 2014 and 31st December 2014 may be able to reclaim fees paid to French tax agents.

What can I reclaim?

French tax agents (fiscal representative) fees which you paid on the sale. These were typically 1% of the sale price. The notaire usually appointed the tax agent often without telling you.

What are tax agents?

Tax agents are a small number of private accountancy firms who have special approval from the French government to work out non-residents French capital gains tax on sale and assist the notaire in deducting it on completion. Before 1st January 2015 they had to be appointed in most sales.

Why can I reclaim their fees?

On 1st January 2015 the French government accepted the requirement for EU residents to appoint a French tax agent was illegal under EU law and abolished the requirement. The French government has recently started reimbursing these fees. Sykes Anderson Perry has been involved in successfully recovering these fees for many UK sellers.

Do I get the fees paid back from the French government rather than the individual accountants?


Can I get fees back if I completed before 1st January 2014?

This is unclear as the French rules on prescription (time barring claim) may apply. It is likely the French government will oppose this and you will have to go to court. We are seeking clarification on this.

How can Sykes Anderson Perry help me?

We will deal with your claim for sales during 2014 on a no win no fee basis. Claims for sales before this date will be appraised on a case by case basis.

David Anderson

Sykes Anderson Perry Limited    + 44 203 794 5959




Estate planning for France – Will your family be treated the way you want them to?

Good estate planning is about achieving the peace of mind that our affairs are in order and that, as far as possible, what we want to happen in the future will happen in the way we wish.

Estate planning in France is made far more challenging by ‘forced heirship’ succession law and inheritance tax rates of up to 60%. The regime is particularly daunting for complex family situations. Arrangements set up in the UK are unlikely to be effective in France and may have unexpected consequences.

Succession law

Under France’s Napoleonic code, children are protected heirs and may inherit up to 75% of your estate – spouses are not protected in the presence of children. You cannot override this by simply stating in your will whom you want your assets to go to. Again, this can make life much more complicated where children of previous relationships are involved.

Since 2015, you can use the EU Certificate of Succession regulation, ‘Brussels IV’, to elect for the succession law of your country of nationality to apply instead of that of your country of residence. You need to state in this your will, or French law will automatically apply.

While this is a welcome development, it is all very new and untested and choosing UK law may have unexpected consequences. It is obligatory for a French notaire to handle your estate, and they would have to administer it under a law they are not experienced with. The UK opted out of Brussels IV and there is uncertainty over how the rules will be interpreted. Adopting UK law could negatively affect your existing succession planning arrangements, and may mean your estate becomes liable to UK inheritance tax as well as French succession tax.

You need specialist, personalised advice and to consider your options carefully. There may be options available under French law that achieve your aims.

Succession tax

Tax rates and allowances vary depending on who the beneficiary is, and you need to plan accordingly.

There is no tax between spouses/PACS (civil) partners on inheritances (there is on gifts). Your children each receive a tax-free allowance of €100,000 and pay tax at progressive rates of 5% to 45%. Stepchildren, however, are treated as non-relatives. Their allowance is a mere €1,594 and their tax rate 60%.

If you have children from a previous relationship and leave everything to your spouse, when your children inherit from him or her on the second death they are treated as stepchildren. The difference in how much tax they pay compared to natural or adopted children is staggering. Taking a €400,000 inheritance as an example, a natural child would have a tax bill of €58,195, while a stepchild would pay €239,044.

These tax liabilities are without tax planning in place, which can make a considerable difference.

The tax rates for siblings, nephews, nieces etc are between 35% and 55%, with allowances of less than €16,000.

Note that Brussels IV does not allow you to choose UK inheritance tax instead of French succession tax. So be aware that if you use UK succession law to leave assets to distant or non-relatives, they face tax of up to 60%.

At Blevins Franks we focus on helping our clients create the optimum ‘estate plan’ to meet their wishes for their family and heirs and to minimise the impact of inheritance taxes. Contact us to review your estate planning for France.

Tax rates, scope and reliefs may change.  Any statements concerning taxation are based upon our understanding of current taxation laws and practices which are subject to change.  Tax information has been summarised; an individual is advised to seek personalised advice





Read more about the financial issues that can affect you on our website

If you need help with Thursday’s vote . . . in brief


A strong hand  The Conservative manifesto released last week contains 86 instances of the word ‘strong’, in case it was not clear that ‘strengthening her hand’ was something that Theresa May was concerned about. The word strong was also no doubt designed to throw shade on what the Conservatives might like voters to see as Jeremy Corbyn’s somewhat weaker hand. Following an admission by May that ‘The next five years are the most challenging that Britain has faced in my lifetime’, she goes on to set five priorities: a strong economy, Brexit, social divisions, an ageing society and fast-changing technology. For real estate, a reiteration of May’s commitment to build a million homes by 2020 is joined by a further 500,000 over the following two years. Mansion blocks, mews houses and terraces find favour, as does protecting the Green Belt, simplified CPOs and fixed-term social housing.

Conservative Party manifesto

The Conservatives pledge to lower immigration, raise the tax-free personal allowance and increase NHS funding in their general election manifesto.

Middle-class pensioners are set to lose benefits under Conservative plans to fund social care while winter fuel payments will be made subject to means-testing.

The Conservatives will pass legislation to ensure nobody has to sell their home to pay for their care during their lifetime, and new rules will allow pensioners needing nursing home treatment to keep more of their assets.

  • Winter fuel payments for pensioners will be means-tested and people will pay more towards home care visits to plug the £2.8 billion social care funding gap.
  • Pensioners will stop paying for their own care once their savings and assets are down to £100,000. At present only £23,250 is protected.
  • But a person’s home will be counted among their assets when they are means-tested for domiciliary care (currently this only applies to people needing residential care) meaning more people will pay.
  • No-one will have to sell their home during their lifetime, as they will be able to borrow money which will be paid back from their estate after their death.

    Labour Party manifesto

    Labour is pledging to nationalise key industries and take Britain back to the Seventies.

    A 43-page document sets out plans to take the energy industry, railways, buses and the Royal Mail back under public control.

    It commits to scrapping tuition fees, boosting workers’ rights and reversing a series of benefits cuts – including the so-called bedroom tax

  • Hitting 1.2m people earning over £80,000 with rises in income tax
  • Bringing the threshold for the 45p rate of income tax down from £150,000 to £80,000
  • A new 50p tax will hit all those earning over £123,000
  • Raising £19.4billion by raising corporation tax 26 per cent – a rise of more than a third
  • Extra resources for HMRC to chase individuals and companies who avoid tax

Liberal Democrat manifesto

The Liberal Democrats are offering pledges to young people, including bus passes and help to get on the housing ladder.

The party is also planning to appeal to so-called Remainers by putting Brexit at the heart of  the manifesto and pledging to “give the final say to the British people” by offering a second EU referendum.

The vote on the final Brexit deal would include an option to remain in the EU.

  • Vow to “protect Britain’s place in Europe” and oppose Brexit.
  • Second referendum on the final Brexit deal
  • Protection of rights for EU citizens living in the UK
  • Retaining membership of the Single Market and customs union
  • Retaining the free movement of EU citizens


Ukip manifesto

Ukip has pledged to introduce a “one in, one out” immigration system and to ban the wearing of the burka in public places.

Paul Nuttall launched the party’s vision for government at an event in London as he also committed Ukip to banning the practice of Sharia law in the UK, and to placing a moratorium on new Islamic faith schools.

The party has also promised to cut the UK’s foreign aid budget.

  • To introduce a “one in, one out” immigration system and set a target to reduce net migration to zero over a five-year period.
  • Place a moratorium on unskilled and low-skilled immigration for five years after the UK leaves the EU.
  • No amnesty for illegal immigrants.
  • To introduce a “social attitudes” test as part of a points-based immigration system which would stop people who believe women or gay people are “second-class citizens” from entering the country.


The Impact of Macron’s Victory on the French Property Market

Tim Swannie, Director of Home Hunts, the French luxury property specialists, says:

“We are delighted about Emmanuel Macron’s victory. We have absolutely no doubt that he is the right man for the job.

Monsieur Macron is young and dynamic, he is pro-EU and pro-business, his En Marche! party have pledged to continue to bring stability to the housing market. 

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The property market has been improving throughout France for the past couple of years and his government want to build on this. He is committed to reducing some of the taxes for property owners and simplifying the fiscal framework in France. He is unlikely to reduce capital gains tax but has promised to bring in a certain number of changes. These include the exemption of the annual taxe d’habitation, which the majority (80%) of households pay, reducing dramatically the wealth tax paid each year and simplifying rental contracts. No doubt there will be other initiatives to be announced.

It is very early days and this next 4-6 weeks are key of course, Monsieur Macron needs to make important appointments in his government and then there are the assembly elections in the middle of June. There is a huge amount on his plate and there will be many new policies and tax changes to come.

France now has a strong and dynamic leader and we are excited about a bright future for France and the French property market under his leadership.” / Tel: UK: +44 (0)208 144 5501 or France: +33 (0)970 44 66 43

Race for Life

gp 3Cancer effects everyone and this years 4th annual 5K Race for Cancer Research UK gives you an opportunity to donate to cancer research, retain your fitness level and enjoy a wonderful summer morning.

The Run

It takes place June 11th at the beautiful l’Etang park in Mougins. Whether you stroll, jog or run, you will be making a valuable contribution. The three cancers we are raising money for this year represent all our participants; breast cancer, prostrate cancer and Neuroblastoma which is a type of cancer that forms in certain types of nerve tissue. It is the most common cancer in babies and the third most common cancer in children after leukemia and brain cancer.

Please see our site for more details.

Last year we raised just over £9000 ! Help us beat our own record  

Cancer Research UK

Cancer Research UK is the largest charitable funder of cancer research in the world. Their strategy is built on the principles of people, partnership, and collaboration and CRUK is thus committed to working with organisations across the world.  Our website gives much more information on a range of initiatives which directly impact the lives of people with cancer here in France.

This formidable team can tackle the biggest questions in cancer research with your support.


Open to everyone who wishes to participate, you are all welcome. The conditions of entry isgp 2to wear something pink, even if it is just an armband and a participation fee of 20€. Please also consider having a Justgiving page to facilitate the collection of donations.  On the day there will be tasty snacks, a fantastic raffle and bon comaraderie all round.

Look out for the upcoming Alexander Technique workshops about the secrets of walking or running effortlessly in the weeks to come. They are open to everyone and all workshop donations will be given towards this event.

Who are you going to run/walk/stroll for?


If local businesses and organisations wish to sponsor the event, please get in touch.

To Registar

If anyone is interested in registering for the event, the workshops, sponsorship  offers or just need help setting up your justgiving page,  please contact us : or leave a message for Julia: 0493242257/ 0670675998

Please don’t forget to look at our website, which is regularly updated, for details about the day, information about Cancer Research UK, the 3 cancers we are supporting, and much more.

And please like our Facebook Page – Cancer Research 5K Race for Life Mougins 2017.


Julia: 0493242257/0670675998

Diary of a Vineyard, May 2017, an insight from Rives Blanques

by Jan Panman

Tuesday May 2

unnamed-1-225x300We wind up our visit to New York with a degree of satisfaction: our wines seem to be going down well with the restaurants and wine merchants we meet.

They certainly go down well with us – that is, the sommeliers and wine buyers, who buoy us up with their fearless enthusiasm for our mauzac,  miles removed from hesitant merchants complaining that no-one’s heard of mauzac, no one’s heard of Limoux, it’s all too hard to sell …

New York’s blocks are big blocks, and we’ve been walking lots of them, up, down and all around Manhattan, then over to Brooklyn, and back again all around Wall Street.

We’ll sleep well on the flight home tonight.

Thursday May 4

There’s a diploma from the Competition of the Great Wines of France, reputedly the biggest of its kind,  awaiting our return.

There’s the nice mention in Robert Parker Wine Advocate mentioning Rives-Blanques, a Screen Shot 2017-05-28 at 13.05.27“first-class estate”,  along with the Rothschild’s as the leading producers of Limoux.

There are vines singing in the sun.

There’s a crashed computer beyond repair sulking in the office.

And there’s a mountain of work to get through.

Friday May 5

Ahmed is also working hard, without having to contend with broken computers and lost files.  He’s out with the one-year old chardonnay vines, painstakingly choosing the strongest shoot, twirling it around a supporting wire, leaving a second shoot as an insurance policy in case the first one doesn’t make it, and then discarding all the rest.  These are the first baby steps, and they are so so important in the life of a vine.

And if you think of all the work that goes into just getting one vine on its way, when there are another 4,439 still waiting to be attended on,  it makes dealing with an uncooperative computer a doddle in comparison…

Well, almost.

Saturday May 6

And in the vineyard he stumbles on another one of life’s little tragedies.  An abandoned Nest-225x300robin’s egg, a most wonderfully constructed nest going to waste …

Sunday May 7

Sometimes wine can speak louder than words.

Aude à la Joie is positively shouting, at top volume.

The relief is positively palpable.

The election results are broadcast at 8 pm.  Monsieur Macron strides up to the podium to the rousing notes of Beethoven’s ninth.

And we open a bottle of Aude to Joy to toast this victory of policy over populism

Friday 12 May

Hail in Limoux!  (Not here, thankfully).

Saturday 13 May

Rennes le Chateau is a scenic mountain-top village on which precariously perches a little church surrounded by its little hamlet, just 20 minutes or so away from us.   It shot to fame – or infame, if you like – when Dan Brown published his DaVinci  code –  for as everyone who knows anything at all knows, the whole story actually begins here.

According to the cognoscenti, the Church of Rennes le Chateau is literally littered with signs and symbols testifying unequivocally to the existence of  great treasures, great mysteries, and great histories.  To everyone else, it is a nice little Church on top of a nice big mountain with a truly splendid view, and only one very obvious curiosity: a devil at the front door, bearing the baptismal font.

It could very well be the only church in the world, where the devil welcomes you to the ‘terrible’ place that is chiselled over the door.

When most of France was out voting in the first round of the presidential elections last month, a slim, young woman dressed in a white cape and a Venetian mask,  slipped into the Church, and calmly proceeded to divest the devil of his head and his arms.   While she was about it, she also hacked off the face of Maria Magdalena from a mural on the wall.   “For Syria!” she exclaimed, and placed a copy of the Koran at the devil’s still-intact feet.

“Believers and non-believers alike are fond of our devil” said the local curé, sadly surveying the damage.

Today, it was decided by the authorities that this 30-something year old who works in a lawyer’s office in Toulouse, is neither mad nor radical.  But who is she, and why did she do this?

Just another one of those mysterious mysteries that make up the mystique of Rennes le Chateau.

Tuesday 16th May

TTTTT2-300x225Very confusing: there’s a Lynne, a Leila, and a Leanne.  There are two Johns. There’s a Paul, and there’s a Pauline. There’s a Ginette and a Jeannette.   However, there is only one Christophe and that’s the easy one to remember.   They speak all languages,  they come from all parts of the world, and they are all engaged in the hospitality business in, around or near  Carcassonne.  They are today’s Tuesday Talk, Tour and Tutored Tasting, and though they may not realise it, they are the project being done by our intern Kim, who has spent over a month putting today’s event together.

She’s very happy with the way things are going, but everyone is happy to have cool pause in this hot day…  There are times when Blanquette really hits the hot spot, and this is one of them.

Thursday 18 May

Who was to know that today would be freezing cold and we’d be in our sweaters again?

Saturday 20 May

Saw the first flower on the first chardonnay vine today.  We’re on our way!  That means, if VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100the vines have read the textbook, we’ll start harvesting in late August.  If.

Maybe they have.  But they usually forget.

Monday 22 May

Not even three minutes out of the front door and in the vineyard very early this morning, when a deer bolts by.  Two seconds later there’s a hurried hare bounding across the path, straight out of a children’s book and into the mauzac.    Turn right at the end of the field, and oh dear: there’s a very large, very black, Boar-300x198very wild boar looking  straight at me.  Swishing his tail.  Boars can be very dangerous, and this one looks dangerously so.  I pick up a stone, as if that might help. (Yesterday on the radio there was an item about some Ambassador who’d been mauled by one while walking in the woods.).

Suddenly this very early morning walk doesn’t seem such a good idea.

But he slinks off into the woods.  I decide not to follow, and take the high road instead.



Getting the Best Speed from YOUR wifi.

by Bob Elliott

It all started with TV remote controls, then cordless phones and mobiles, the age of being connected but not attached to our devices by wires has really taken off.

Fifteen years ago when UKTelecom started providing services to expats in France we sold just low cost calls and dial-up internet connections.  How things have changed!

In the same way as it would be unacceptable to have to rely on dial-up broadband that tookScreen Shot 2017-05-29 at 11.45.42 half an hour to download a simple document or photo, most of our customers no longer want to be restricted to just a PC wired up to their modem.  At the same time the number of hand held connected devices has grown, and this increases when they have visitors to stay.

We work hard to keep every one of our customers happy by ensuring that their wifi service always performs at peak speed.  If your wifi is slow here is some great advice on how to get the maximum speed from your broadband modem.

Like property, it is all about location, location, location!

•       The higher the modem is located the better.  Wifi signals are sent out radially and downwards.

•       Modems do not like microwaves and white goods, so kitchens are bad.

•       They don’t like TVs or mirrors either.

•       Every modem has several wifi channels – but are factory pre-set using just one of three.  Get help from your provider to change it if necessary.

Make sure you have set up your security code to stop others using your service.

Screen Shot 2017-05-29 at 11.43.06Things can go wrong, even when you have set up things correctly.  Our latest generation of modems allow us to interrogate your modem remotely, see what lights are showing and change the wifi channel, reboot the modem remotely and much more depending on the equipment in your local exchange.

A final tip.  Each piece of equipment you connect to the wifi will slow it down a little, so when you are no longer using it disconnect it from the service so the rest will work faster.



Your Reading for June by Susan Keefe

My Good Life in France 

by Janine Marsh

51v6Jl6Ey4L._AC_US218_Do people really buy a house in another country on impulse, or is it just something TV shows fool you into believing? Well, the author Janine Marsh certainly did just that on a wet and windy February cross channel day out with her husband Mark, and Dad. Timing can be everything in France, and if you miss that all important long lunch time they have, then anything can happen!

Thus began their adventure as the townies Janine and Mark threw caution to the wind, and jumped in with both feet, buying and renovating a run-down French farmhouse. So what made these sensible people with their feet firmly on career paths do such a rash thing? Well, quite simply it was the love of France and everything (well almost) French.

Throughout this enthralling book you will, like me, fall in love with the North of France, the Seven Valleys region, its coastline, seaside and country villages, the gastronomy, its people and so much more. This book isn’t just a wonderful way to enjoy experiencing someone else’s life in another country, or your adopted country if you, like me are an English expat, it is a way to get a real feel for what living in France is really like – warts and all.

For me it was interesting to read how one of my favourite online magazines came to be The Good Life France, and I can imagine it will be an inspiration to those out there who want to do what Janine did, turn her back on a very successful career, only to develop another one in totally different surroundings, living the good life in France.

It is amazing also to read about the transformations in a person when they live in another country as well, without really noticing it many of us (I hold my hands up to this) manage to acquire many more pets and livestock than we would ever have imagined in the UK, somehow it just doesn’t seem so difficult. We learn new skills and evolve in ways we could never have dreamt possible, simply because anything seems possible, we feel free.

For me, every page of this captivating book held something different to learn about, food, history, renovation, quirky sayings, and not least the enormous differences between our two cultures, even though we are only separated by the English Channel. In it I also found the answer to one of those things which always puzzles me in autumn, namely, why the French always pick mushrooms using wicker baskets, and this, as usual, is obvious when you know the answer.

So whether you are considering moving to France, wonder if people really do buy ruins in the middle of France and do them up, want to leave everything behind and start anew, are fancying going on holiday to the North of France, or you are just looking for a totally riveting read, I can highly recommend this book.

Available from Amazon

The Happy Chip 

by Dennis Meredith51H2ccG9fZL._AC_US218_
Family man and struggling science writer Brad Davis cannot believe his luck. All his problems are solved when he manages to clinch a $400,000 contract to co-write the biography of Marty Fallon the billionaire owner of a leading tech company, NeoHappy Inc. The Happy Chip is THE new piece of nanotechnology to have. It is a fantastic invention which can monitor the body’s responses and enhance the person’s life in every way.With his new chip installed courtesy of his new employers, Brad can explore the whole new world the Happy Chip opens to him, and soon to his joy, his wife Annie overcomes her reservations and has one too. Together they realise just what amazing things can be achieved with this wonderful new piece of technology. Life is looking up, how could it get any better? No financial worries, and a higher standard of living for them all.Brad is in his element, enjoying his work with the open and friendly Marty Fallon on his biography. However, when he is writing about the company, the access he is allowed has restrictions. With his journalists curiosity aroused Brad finds himself wondering why? What are they doing, and why is his access denied, after all he has signed a non-disclosure agreement.

It is like a red rag to a bull and he is unable to let the matter go, after all there appears to be separate group of scientists employed at the company who are working on chips with life enhancements which are very different to his, what will be the effects of these chips on the recipients, and what is their agenda?

Sometimes you just have to do what is right, whatever the risk. It is this philosophy that takes Brad, and his wife on a dangerous mission from Boston to Beijing, to discover the truth. Danger lurks at every corner, big brother is a terrifyingly real threat, and the safety of all he hold dear, and indeed the whole world is in jeopardy. He has to know what is going on, and what will be the consequences for all of mankind if these scientists succeed in their work?

This fast paced exciting science fiction thriller takes its reader through its pages on a fantastic rollercoaster ride, on an adventure where murder, intrigue, mystery, secrets, and lies all wait to enthral. It is a book you will quite simply not want to put down.

Available from Amazon 

Good Enough 

by Pamela Gossiaux
Good-enough-jpg-200x300The main character in this very entertaining romantic comedy is Amy Summers a girl who has everything she could wish for, amazing boyfriend, fantastic job. Well, this is how it appeared until the fateful morning when missing her work alarm is just the beginning of a truly horrendous day!So what would you do if your world fell apart? Well, Amy has the perfect solution to help her forget, one which is universally popular, however, like thousands before her she quickly discovers this particular quick fix is not the answer.Looking for inspiration she takes her laptop to Starbucks and fortuitously meets the handsome Josh Gray, a life coach, he, she decides is just the person to turn her life around.Full of excitement and enthusiasm Amy resolves to fulfil a lifelong dream, and with encouragement and coaching from Josh they forge ahead, planning and fulfilling her dream.

Amy is smitten with Josh, and he admires her sweet generous nature, everything is looking rosy, but will it go further?

To everyone who knows her, Amy is an angel in disguise, happy to help those less fortunate, motivated, and successful. What others do not realise is that Amy is hiding a secret one she is too scared to reveal. Being deceitful is tying her knots, what will Josh, her parents, and others think of her if she reveals the truth, will they forgive her, or judge? Will she be good enough?

This story is such a fun read, it is impossible once you have opened it not to be thoroughly captivated by Amy’s escapades. However all the characters are important and very different, this is not your ordinary romance, underneath the surface the plot really develops leading the reader on the incredible journey which is Amy’s life.

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The Jug Valley Mysteries BOYS v. GIRLS (Book 1) 

by Anne Digby

51BtiBoma0L._AC_US218_This story is set in the town of Jugminster, where twins Tim and Amy Dalladay live in the ramshackle old Knoll House, with their parents and younger brother, Harry.Tim, has two best friends Ludo and Ben and the children all go to Jug Valley County Junior School. One day the three friends are met at school by Peter Pay, a younger boy who tells them that his bike has been stolen overnight from the bike sheds. The boys decide that they must try and help Peter by discovering who could have stolen it. Of course embarking on such a dangerous venture means that they must create a name for their group, but what should it be? Cleverly, they pick on the name ‘Handles,’ and if you read the story you will discover why this is such a clever name.Of course when Tim’s sister Amy and her friend Mini discover the ‘Handles’ and what they are going to do, they want to join in. But as you can imagine they are told in no uncertain terms that detective work is a job for boys, not girls. Of course the girls think this is rubbish and are determined to show the boys that they are just as good as they are, and so they set up their own rival club called – guess what?As the rival groups try to discover clues and set traps, the whole thing becomes more personal as Tim and Amy’s mum’s bike is stolen. Now both sets of friends are even more determined to find the thief!

But if the police have no suspects, how can they do this?

Is the thief someone at school, or an adult?

Where are the bikes being hidden and what will happen to them?

This exciting mystery will have boys and girls alike avidly reading through its pages to discover if the bikes are found, and if they are, who the finders are, the boys or the girls.

Although this is a boys v girls story, throughout it the author has interwoven important life lessons of teamwork, friendship, loyalty, determination and compassion.

Reading it to my grandson, took me back to my childhood, playing with my brother, having dens and great adventures together, however, none were as exciting as this!

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The Trainee Undercover 

by Brenda Shaw

In this fast paced action thriller, Alex, Harry, George and Angela are four teenagers who have been friends for a long time. The summer holidays have arrived and as usual they are all at Harry’s house, however, when George arrives he is clearly agitated, and with good cause, they are soon to discover.Reluctantly George tells his friends what has happened. His dad, Paul Collier who is a high level executive at Pat Pharma has admitted to him that he is scared. Although the innocent party, he appears to have been the catalyst in events which have escalated out of control, and the only way he can keep his family safe is to send them away for the summer. There has been a murder at work, a colleague has been held for questioning by the police, and now he is being watched, and what’s more, someone seems to be one step ahead of him all the time, and is sending him threatening letters.On hearing George’s story, Alex, Harry and Angela all decide that they must help Paul discover who is threatening him, and so Alex and George talk to Paul, and with his help Alex manages to get a summer job at Pat Pharma. The job gives Alex inside access to the company, and with his new found ability to gather insider knowledge, and the others using their own unique skills, the group make a formidable team. However, as they rapidly become more involved in the case it is apparent that there is a lot more going on secretly than they could ever have imagined.In their quest to help Paul the friends uncover deep resentments in Pat Pharma, and as the skeletons begin to come out of the cupboard, they realise that their investigations have put them into a very precarious position, as they find themselves pursued by dangerous criminals.

Despite being on a mission which is fraught with danger the friends’ comradeship, loyalty, tenacity, and friendship shine through, not only to each other, but also to those around them.

This is a truly fantastic adventure thriller which keeps the reader on the edge of their seats. Packed with murder, mystery, and intrigue this story is one that you just cannot put down.

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Decapitating the Union: Jefferson Davis, Judah Benjamin and the Plot to Assassinate Lincoln 

by John C Fazio

51H5LbJ4RFL._AC_US218_Right from the beginning it is obvious that this amazingly thorough book has been very carefully researched by the author, John C. Fazio, who formerly had a successful fifty year career practicing law.His retirement has given John C. Fazio the time he needed to devote to writing this book on a subject for which he has had, for a long time, a great fascination, the American Civil War and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. He looks in depth at not only the shooting of Abraham Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth, but the events surrounding it. Abraham Lincoln was watching a production of Our American Cousin, in the presidential box of the Ford Theatre on the 14th April, 1865 when he was shot. The following morning at 7.22 Abraham Lincoln died, one of the greatest men in American history had been murdered!Being a student of history, and especially European and American history, with special emphasis on the Civil War, meant that he has accumulated an immense knowledge of the subject. He enjoys sharing this knowledge by teaching Civil War history at the Chautauqua Institution, writing numerous articles, and speaking about the subject. He is also a member, and former president of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable, and is active in the Lincoln Forum, the Western Reserve Historical Society, the Cleveland Grays, and the Surratt Society.There is so much mystery surrounding the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, that out of the 16,000 books which have been written about this great man, over a hundred are dedicated to solely to this subject. However, accounts, and details of it, and the events around it, are surrounded in enigmas, mystery, theories, and littered with errors, so much so, that the author decided it was time for him to write this thought provoking book.

It is forwarded by the well-known historian Joan L. Chaconas, and then the author gives the reader a thorough background on events which led to a nation torn apart by conflict, and Abraham Lincoln’s murder. Finally he concludes with the imprisonment, trial and sentencing of all but John H Surratt, of the assassination group.

This book makes absolutely riveting reading, and I would imagine that this would be of immense interest to anyone studying this period of American history, as the author provides plenty of notes and references in the back. For me personally, the icing on the cake is the fact that it is liberally sprinkled with terrific photographs, copies of hand written notes, drawings, and portraits, which I feel are very important in this type of book.

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Kepler One: The Choosing 

by T. P. Keane
51cCOKhzVAL._AC_US160_The earth as we know it is dead! In order to survive the resulting radiation, the survivors of the catastrophic disaster which destroyed it, live below ground in a five tiered bunker. The deeper below the surface you live the safer you are, the lucky ones are deep, but those on the fifth tier live in mortal danger. These people are the criminals, the bad ones, and those who just happened to have been born there, like Zoe Ruthland.Then a lottery is held for cadets to crew Kepler One, the last hope for mankind. Kepler One is a spacecraft which will be launched to discover a new planet for the human race to inhabit. Once it has found one, its crew will establish a colony, and then come back for the rest of the survivors on earth.Much to everyone’s chagrin, Zoe wins a place, and is the only tier five inhabitant to do so. This exciting science fiction story follows Zoe’s cadet training as she competes in physical, mental and academic challenges with the other cadets. There are more cadets than actual places so the competition is fierce, and this story tells not only Zoe’s struggle to win a place, but also her relationship with other trainees.As a real fan of science fiction, and already having read T. P. Keane’s fantastic previous book, The Paladins of Naretia, I was really looking forward to reading this one, and I was not disappointed.

Kepler One takes its reader on an amazing science fiction adventure, which makes compelling reading especially when you discover that there is a hidden agenda…

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Adventures of Little Yaga and Her Friends 

by L.B. O’Milla

51j4C90hsIL._AC_US218_This is a magical story about a very special girl called Little Yaga, who belongs to an extraordinary race of forest people. Little Yaga lives with her grandmother, Big Yaga, in a special hut, deep in a mysterious forest ruled by the evil Scraggard the Immortal.The forest folk keep away from humans, you see although they look similar at first glance, they are different, and besides humans smell funny. It is this strange smell which first alerts Little Yaga to the presence of a human girl called Ashley. The trouble is, despite Little Yaga’s attempt at disguising her, she is not the only one who realises that Ashley is there, Scraggard has discovered her, and he wants her energy for himself!Despite the fact that she knows how difficult it is going to be, Little Yaga still helps Ashley to escape. Together they defy the odds, and the magical deceitfulness of the forest, where everything is not as it seems, and as a friendly thank you Ashley invites Little Yaga to her birthday party. However deep in the forest, at his palace Scraggard is very angry, he has decided he wants her, and being naturally evil decides to use all his devious means to ensure that his plan succeeds, after all no one escapes the clutches of Scraggard the immortal.Devastated, Ashley’s boyfriend Eric decides he must rescue her. At Big Yaga’s very strange Hut on a chicken leg, Eric, Ashley’s brother Sean, Little Yaga and her friends Kikimra, make their plans and discover the strange secret to killing the supposedly immortal Scraggard.

Fearlessly, the intrepid group set of on an amazing adventure. However, as Little Yaga and Kikimra try to warn them, and Eric and Sean are soon to discover, nothing in the forest is as it seems. Unbelievably, the land itself holds secret powers, there are magical birds, strange animals, and things you could never imagine live there, waiting to trap the unsuspecting traveller…

I found myself thoroughly immersed in this fantastic adventure, each page reveals new dangers which the courageous group have to face as they battle the elements, creatures and Scraggard’s shape shifting army, to save Ashley from a terrible fate.

Will they succeed, or will the forest and the army foil their rescue attempt?

This magical story will keep you compulsively turning the pages as the answers reveal themselves, with surprises waiting around every corner, right until the very end.

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