Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Local author Claire gets rave reviews for first novel

Claire Upton

Local author Claire Upton, 36, has been getting 5-star reviews online for her first novel Twisted Fate.

She said: “I uploaded my book to Amazon on a whim because I’d spent years sending it to publishers and agents with no luck. A friend of mine had uploaded their books and I just thought why not? At least people would get to read it this way.”

After just a few weeks online, the novel is enjoying major success, receiving glowing reviews:

“My book has now made it to number 2 on the Amazon chart for Romance and Contemporary reviews over the last 30 days. I’m now only one good review from the top space!”

The romantic novel, set in Norfolk, tells the story of successful career woman Natalie and her fateful meeting with farm manager Matt, which subsequently changes the course of her entire life.

Among the glowing reviews received on book-store Amazon was this: “Many thanks to C. Upton for tantalizing imagination and pure colorfulness of characters. Inspiring read with great purpose and emotions. Bound to be a best seller. Can only recommend to those who enjoy nothing more than a well written story (which is everyone). ENJOY.”

Claire enthuses, “I hope readers enjoy reading my book just as much as I loved writing it. At the moment it’s only available as a download for the Kindle, but I’m hoping a publisher will soon be able to put it into book form.”

Claire was born in King’s Lynn. She spent the first few years, and many school holidays in Richmond, Surrey. Her family moved back to Norfolk when she was five, and she later attended Springwood High School. She currently lives on the outskirts of King’s Lynn.

Claire qualified as an Interior Designer in the mid 90’s and has worked as everything from Dogwalker to PA to Company Director. She has recently returned to education and is currently embarking on a psychosocial degree.

Claire has four children & a stepson who she says are “her world”. Her Partner works in Healthcare & supports all her crazy dreams… such as publishing her novel!

Twisted Fate was written while her third child was tiny. While he refused to sleep at night she made the most of the time & wrote this novel, mostly with him resting on her shoulder.

A brief synopsis of the book Twisted Fate

It is 2001 and Natalie Walsh is successful in her career, has great friends and subsequent social agenda. She is not looking for love but serendipity takes a hand and leads her towards Matt Samson, a down-to-earth Farm Manager.

Fate however steps in and twists her life into an unrecognisable form. How will she put her life back together or more’s the case, does she want her old life back? If she does, is it possible after her course has changed?

A heart-warming story of love, loss and acceptance.

You will laugh and cry your way through Natalie’s trials and tribulations. And at points wish you could just reach into the book and give her a supportive hug.


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Boycie at Waterstone’s

Being Boycie Cover

Actor John Challis will forever be Boycie from the BBC’s mega-successful Only Fools and Horses. So much so that he and Marlene were reunited in its spin off series The Green Green Grass.

John will be signing copies of his autobiography Being Boycie at Waterstones King’s Lynn on Friday 20 April, and there’s more than a little local coincidence to his appearance.

When John chose to self-publish his biography it meant auditioning printers who could provide a bespoke service. From the pick of several John eventually singled out King’s Lynn’s very own MPG Biddles who came complete with more than a hundred years’ printing experience.

Customer Service Executive Theresa Loosley, who joined Biddles in 1980, couldn’t have been more pleased by John’s choice, and when she and Operations Manager Gary Mackney meet up with John again at the signing it’ll see the book come full circle.

‘Working with John and his wife Carol was a delight,’ she says. ‘We knew he had the pick of the crop, but he came to the factory, looked at samples and worked closely with us to ensure the finished product was exactly what he’d envisaged.’

Both Gary and Theresa were there in London for the book’s launch in September 2011 and when John appeared on ITV’s The Alan Titchmarsh Show it was Biddles who ensured the product was there on time for the interview.

As for John himself, currently enjoying a highly successful tour of Waterstones branches right across the country, he’s already tweeted his forthcoming appearance to his many followers: “For a moment there I thought I was going to Kuala Lumpur, but no, much better, it’s King’s Lynn!”

John Challis will be arriving at Waterstones, Norfolk Street, King’s Lynn at 11.00am on Friday 20 April.

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Fascinating story of the Crown Jewels

The Crown Jewels

A sumptuous new book by historian Dr. Anna Keay, tells the amazing story of the most famous gems in the world, and captures their magnificence in a series of dazzling photographs.

Based on original research and written by an expert in English court history, ‘The Crown Jewels’ tells the story of the development of the collection from the medieval period onwards. Anyone with either a professional or a personal interest in jewelry or English history will find The Crown Jewels a delight.

Dr Anna Keay will be talking about her fascinating book on Thursday 3rd November at The Green Quay.

Anna is an historian of the English monarchy, and previously worked as a curator for Historic Royal Palaces. She writes and broadcasts on aspects of English history and kindly agreed to do this special talk as a fundraising event for the Green Quay.

The talk takes place at 7pm on Thursday 3rd November, at The Green Quay, Marriott’s Warehouse, on the South Quay. Tickets are £6 for Green Quay Members, and £7 for Non Members, including light refreshments.

Tickets are available from the Green Quay, or phone 01553 818500 for more information.

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Congratulations to Market Bistro

Market Bistro

We recently had the pleasure of meeting up with Richard Golding, who along with his wife Lucy is the owner of Market Bistro on the Saturday Market Place. Richard, who is also the chef, told us about his aspirations for the restaurant, and gave us a quick tour.

‘We were absolutely chuffed to get mentioned in this year’s Good Food Guide,’ he told us. ‘We were not looking for recognition, but are grateful to whoever nominated us, and we are the only restaurant in King’s Lynn listed in the guide.’

‘Our aim is not to be a “great restaurant”, simply to carry on doing what we do best, serving good simple food at an affordable price.

Market Bistro Interior‘We like to think of ourselves as a relaxed and informal bistro, where people can just walk through our door as they would a friend’s house, and expect a warm welcome.

‘People can just drop in for the best cup of coffee in Lynn, or a bottle of good wine, while meeting up with friends. But generally people come in to enjoy our good quality food.

Richard ran The Orange Tree in Thornham for 5 years, before taking over Luigi’s which was later re-branded as Market Bistro.

All of Richard’s food is sourced locally, mostly within a 40 mile radius of the town. ‘A lot of our suppliers originally contacted us through Twitter, meaning we can now offer the best meat, vegetables and coffee in King’s Lynn’

‘We don’t put on airs and graces. Hence no waiters in black and white suits, and no white tablecloths or napkins.

Richard showed us around the simple yet attractively furnished restaurant, and then upstairs to the private dining room, used for family or business parties, and a wonderful roof terrace where you can dine al fresco weather permitting!

Market Bistro has been receiving great revues online from customers posting feedback on Twitter and Trip Advisor.

So if you were hesitating, why not drop in to Market Bistro to say hello. Orders are taken from 12pm – 2pm and 6.30pm – 9pm.

The Good Food Guide is published on September 8th 2011.

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Circus Stars launch events

Circus Stars Logo

Roll up, roll up and get reading this summer with the county’s libraries!

They read through their books with the greatest of ease… That’s the aim for Norfolk’s children during the school holidays as the county’s libraries launch this year’s circus-themed Summer Reading Challenge.

Circus Stars, the thirteenth annual Summer Reading Challenge, will run in all Norfolk County Council-run libraries including mobile libraries throughout the holidays. Children who are taking part choose and read any six books during the summer and receive stickers and other rewards for each stage of the challenge they complete.

They can pick any kind of story or factual book including audio books. Those who read all six receive a medal at the end of the summer, with many being given out in special ceremonies.

Nearly 100 Circus Stars events will be held in libraries across the county throughout the school holidays, including circus skills workshops and circus-themed story times, and all of the events are free to attend.

Libraries in Attleborough, Gaywood, Great Yarmouth, Hunstanton, King’s Lynn, Stalham and Wymondham as well as the Millennium Library in Norwich are taking part in the events.

The Summer Reading Challenge is a national initiative and was set up to help children keep up their standard of reading during the long summer break as well as simply to read for fun. Circus Stars is aimed at six to 11-year-olds but children who do not fall into this age bracket and want to take part are encouraged to sign up as well.

Last year, more than 11,300 Norfolk children took part in the challenge and the library service is keen for even more children to get involved this year, especially those who haven’t tried it before.

James Carswell, Cabinet Member for Cultural Services at Norfolk County Council, said: “The Summer Reading Challenge is a fun and inspiring way to keep children reading when they haven’t got the structure and support that they get at school. All our libraries get behind the challenge and put on activities to get their younger library members to really enjoy taking part and encourage them to read for fun.

“We have high hopes of getting lots of children involved this year and sending them back to school in the autumn with at least the level of reading skill that they had at the end of this school year.”

To take part in the Summer Reading Challenge, children and parents can go along to any library in Norfolk now and throughout the summer to receive a Circus Stars pack and be given information about events and activities planned over the summer.

To find out where your local library is and to see what Circus Stars events they are holding, visit

The fun doesn’t stop at the library though! At you can create your own avatar and join the gang on a journey through games and activities. You can keep track of the books you’re reading, send messages to other Circus Stars, and even meet some famous authors!

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Book Review: Death Toll

Book Cover Death Toll by Jim KellyDeath Toll by Jim Kelly

Rising sea levels have forced graves to be moved at King’s Lynn’s dockside cemetery. When one is opened the bones of young man are found on the top of the coffin. Only one thing is certain – he didn’t die of natural causes.. . .

Death Watch has been short-listed for the prestigious New Angle Prize for Literature.

Review By S. Lloyd

I was really pleased to be able to read Jim Kelly’s latest novel on Kindle because I couldn’t put it down and it’s easier to disguise a Kindle to keep on reading. This has to be the best in the Shaw and Valentine series.

His writing is vivid and conveys easily the grittiness of the large town of Kings Lynn together with the stark difference of the coast line and coastal towns a few miles up the road.

The plot, like “Death Watch” has twists and turns unravelling family secrets. “Death Toll” was stronger for me because I thought I had it worked out when another twist comes along.

The characterisation is strong too. Firstly the difficult relationship between Shaw and Valentine feels so real – for example when in DS Warren’s office together “so they sat, each alone, despite being together”. However with developments in the sub plot it will be interesting to see how their relationship develops. There is more depth to them too with Valentine’s loneliness more pronounced and Shaw’s drive to get results. Other characters are well developed and you connect to them both kindly and unkindly.

It would be great for this series to be televised.

Review originally published on

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