The News

The new No Wonder I Take a Drink audiobook - A perfect antidote to Valentines 'mush'

On Valentine’s Day Trisha, the unlikely heroine of Laura Marney’s No Wonder I Take a Drink, tends to ‘self gift’. You see, being a bit of a lonely, unsentimental boozer marooned in the middle of nowhere in the Highlands, she finds that buying herself a good book is an excellent way to dodge the ‘roses are red, violets are blue’ mush!

True, single girls miss out on the special Valentine fun, but the other 364 days of the year they also miss out on all the grease-scrubbing, Top Gear-watching, pant-washing fun.

It’s all about romance, thinks Trisha, but what people often forgot is that the rest of the time it’s about compromise and trying hard: him trying not to nose-whistle; her trying not to hold the pillow over his face till he stops struggling.

If you get just where Trisha’s coming from on the subject of Valentines, then maybe the No Wonder I Take a Drink audiobook is the perfect ‘self gift’ for you, too. It’s available exclusively from on – you guessed it – Valentines Day, and is narrated by Laura Marney herself.

It features Trisha, who unexpectedly inherits a home in the Highlands. She wastes no time leaving Glasgow, and with it her estranged husband, her insolent teenage son and her boring job. But, having pictured a rural idyll, she finds rain, sheep, and kamikaze midges. And more rain. Her only companion is a smelly, brain-damaged dog, but a night of whisky-fuelled high jinks with a frozen salmon leads to a dramatic discovery that will change her future, and maybe even her past.

No Wonder I Take a Drink was voted one of the Top 20 Scottish books of all time by readers of The List magazine.

Buy your copy of the audiobook here.

'Heart of the Hero' coming soon

The new book by Kari Herbert explores just what drove the men and women who travelled to the ends of the earth and back. Drawing on previously unpublished sources and the author’s first-hand experiences, it is an extraordinary account of polar adventure, peril and families living at the extremes. Released February 14, 2013.


“A fascinating and hugely enjoyable book, which makes a valuable contribution to polar literature” Sir Ranulph Fiennes


Heart of the Hero: The Remarkable Women who Inspired the Great Polar Explorers reveals the unpredictable, often heartbreaking lives of seven remarkable women whose husbands became world famous for their Arctic and Antarctic expeditions.

Herbert, herself the daughter of polar explorer Sir Wally Herbert, gives a compelling insight into the lives of men such as Shackleton, Scott and Peary through the eyes of the women who inspired them.

Using extracts from previously unpublished journals and letters, the book focuses the spotlight on these accomplished women, who until now have been reduced to historical footnotes. In the process, Herbert unveils a new aspect of polar history that is simply too important to be ignored.

“These women were driven by love, pride and a fierce sense of loyalty,” says Herbert. “They each developed a bond with their husbands that transcended time, place and expectation. They shared every disappointment, every failure, every success. Simply put, these women were the beating heart behind some of the greatest polar stories.”

Heart of the Hero is published on 14th February, which is the 100th anniversary of RF Scott’s memorial service at St Paul’s Cathedral. In the book, Herbert draws on her own unique experiences: she was taken at the age of 10 months with her mother and father to live on a remote island off northwest Greenland, for more than two years. She has been fascinated with all things polar ever since.

You can pre-order Heart of the Hero at your local independent bookshop or at Amazon UK.

Praise for Heart of the Hero:

“Writes with the insight of someone who has the land in her blood” – The Independent.

“This highly enjoyable book is an important addition to polar and exploration history” – The Library Journal.

“A must-read for anyone who wants to understand the true heart of these polar heroes” – Arctic Book Review.

Heart of the Hero by Kari Herbert is a tale only the daughter of an Arctic explorer could tell. She characterizes the relationships between the explorers and their wives with a deft pen and crisp, swift prose. This gem of a book engages an audience as thoroughly as the expeditions did in their heyday. Captivating.” – Portland Book Review.

“Outstanding! Enormously compelling.” – Goodreads.

“Kari Herbert has written far more than a book about  female heroes of polar history, it's an adventure book about men and women, the golden age of polar exploration, necessities and freedom, and about profound love and passion.” – Sueddeutsche Zeitung.




Don't be a Ramgunshoch Horse-leech! Get the Burns Night app and book, and get ready to party on January 25th

There’ll be no excuses for not celebrating this coming Burns Night in style now that the new Robert Burns Night app and book from Saraband are on the market. Whether you’re a veteran of the world’s greatest birthday party or you’re a Burns Supper virgin, this is the red, red rose of apps – a complete toolkit for your Burns Night celebration, wherever you are.

Available for download now on iTunes and very soon on Android, the Robert Burns Night app, which was featured in iTunes UK's NEW & NOTEWORTHY, The Guardian's apps blog and on BBC 6 Music, has been specially updated for 2013.

‘So whit’s new?’ you might ask. Well, you’ll learn how to cook the perfect haggis with recipes from Jo Macsween, author of The Haggis Bible and director of Macsweens haggis company, and then serenade its journey to the table with our tuneful iPipes, by champion piper, Finlay Johnston. Address the haggis in style, and then – to help you avoid looking like a ramgunshoch horse-leech – use our ‘flyte assistant’ to find the perfect Burnsian insults (or compliments) for your speeches and toasts.

To help you recite Tam O’Shanter with the best of them, listen to how it’s done by a leading pro, and then repeat it yourself with the aid of our autocue. Round your evening off with the best of Burns’ songs, arranged and sung by the inimitable Grace-Hewat-Polwart trio, and then the traditional version of Auld Lang Syne.

So download the app, buy Burns Night: A Freestyle Guide, don your best tartan and have a braw bard’s birthday party on January 25th. Slainte Mhath!

What they said about the Burns Night app on iTunes:

“Chieftain o’ the Burns apps!” – Bonnie Wee Jean.

“A richt wee braw app” – Susan.


Buy the Burns Night app on iTunes

Buy the book, Burns Night: A Freestyle Guide on Amazon



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