Books

BORN BLUE: A TRUE STORY AND MEDICAL MIRACLE MEMOIR
We don’t need the Covid-19 global pandemic to remind us how fragile life is. And whilst it’s rarely discussed, childbirth can be a risky business. When my daughter was born blue and starved of oxygen, the future looked bleak. Death, cerebral palsy, brain damage and severe disability all loomed large. But there was a clinical trial going on at the time which the doctors believed could help. So we signed her up, took a deep breath and started on this unchartered medical journey.
This memoir tells the true story of our baby’s medical miracle from beginning to end and is illustrated with photos. From our baby’s treatment on a neonatal intensive care ward where she was part of a 3-day cooling experiment, to bringing her home and letting doctors monitor her for the next six years of her life. To growing into the teenager she now is.
Ours was an unexpected and difficult journey, full of highs and lows - there were times we feared it could have a very different ending. This memoir is an honest account of the challenges faced by patients, doctors and physicians alike at a time when emotions run high and life is at stake. Taking part in a clinical trial comes with both risks and rewards and I offer tips which could help everyone involved, from parents to medics to friends and family.
If you’re a parent interested in reading about a heartfelt, real-life medical miracle, this book is for you.
If you’re pregnant and wanting to read around the subject of childbirth, this is for you.
If you’re a patient considering taking part in a clinical trial or a friend of somebody facing a medical journey, read this.
For anyone working in a clinical setting wanting to hear it from the other side (it might change how you talk to patients) this is a must-read.
Or if you just plain like learning about miracles – that probably accounts for most of us – press on the click button now.
Be warned, a box of tissues might be required.
This is the true story of one baby girl, born blue. She didn’t just survive against the odds…she survived to thrive.
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ANTARCTICA: AN EXPEDITION CRUISE TRAVEL GUIDE

Fascinated by Antarctica? This book is for you. Thinking of visiting Antarctica? This book is doubly for you. Fancy doing an expedition cruise here? This travel guide is especially for you.

A trip to the seventh, white continent is the ultimate adventure for the intrepid traveller and the vast majority of visitors come here on an expedition cruise. This is the first travel guide to show what it’s really like to take part in this type of voyage and Jo Kessel delivers a gripping, day-by-day account of her own experience. Illustrated with personal photos it explores the highs (including the waves on the infamous Drake Passage) and the lows - from penguins, to whales, to icebergs to glaciers as well as the hiking, kayaking, polar plunging and camping which are integral features of an expedition cruise. Are you too old? Not fit enough? Is it too cold? What to wear? Jo Kessel has advice for every eventuality, offering insider TOP TIPS at the end of each chapter.

Part travelogue, part photo-journal, this expedition cruise travel guide to Antarctica was inspired by the diary of early polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. It’s a witty, reflective chronicle which also touches upon more serious issues like Antarctic conservation, plastics pollution and climate change.

This book is a must-read not only for anyone wanting to know how best to enjoy a holiday on this unique continent, but also for those keen to learn more about this icy wilderness and help preserve it for future generations. One thing’s for sure: Antarctica is like nowhere else on Earth.

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A Call to Heaven
 
If you loved the movie Ghost and the Time Traveler's Wife, or are fans of Mitch Albom, Karen Kingsbury, Jojo Moyes and Marian Keyes, then this is for you. 

This story will also resonate with anyone who’s lost someone close to them and wishes more than anything that they could speak to them again. 

"Everybody’s loved, everybody’s lost. 

Grief strips you raw and makes you feel as if you’re sleepwalking through life, like the pain will never go away. 

I’m Amy Tristan. I’m no different than anyone else. I’ve loved, I’ve lost and it sucks. I’ve got a five-year old son and an abusive husband. My mother died six months ago and I miss her like crazy. 

I’m the biggest sceptic when it comes to other-worldly stuff, so when I’m told that I can pick up the phone and call my mum in Heaven, I should disbelieve it, right? Wrong. I pick up that phone, because there’s nothing I want more than to hear her voice trickle into the receiver.

And you know what? It works. I get to speak to my mother. It’s a miracle. If only it could stay this way, with those calls just for me, but someone up on high wants me to choose three other people to make a call to Heaven too. Who should I pick? How can I trust them to keep the phone secret? Making the choice is agonising - if I get it wrong, my calls will stop. I wish I hadn’t told Daniel anything. He’s this hot doctor that I’ve come to know. But doctors are scientists, and scientists are bigger sceptics than even me. He didn’t believe in the phone. He thought I should be admitted to a sanatorium. Telling him was either the best decision of my life, or the worst. I’ll let you decide…"

This story will appeal to lovers of paranormal romance, romantic comedies, general fiction and religious, spiritual and visionary fiction. It will also appeal to anyone who believes (or wants to believe) in miracles. 

At the end of the book are questions for readers and book clubs to use as points of discussion. 
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Now is our Time
 
A story of second chance love set between London and San Diego. Thirteen years ago Jonah Kennedy was one of America's top tennis players, whose six-foot-three bad-boy California looks won him hordes of female admirers. Thirteen years ago Claire Jackson, a fiery, aspiring artist from London, was the woman who stole his heart. But the two held a secret which tore them apart and sent Claire running back to England.
 
They tried to move on. Claire married, had a child and became a successful TV personality. Jonah married, had a child and settled for life on the road. Thirteen years later and both divorced, their paths cross again. Their attraction is even deeper - they feel destined to be together. Claire's jealous ex, however, has other plans.
 
Can Claire and Jonah hold on to their second chance at love or will their past secret haunt them for ever? After all, thirteen is only lucky for some....
 
Now is our Time is a standalone contemporary romance which features Anthony de Klerk from Jo Kessel's previous novel Lover in Law. There are also cameo appearances from Kate Middleton, Gwyneth Paltrow and Gordon Ramsey.
 
Due to descriptive sex scenes, this book is not appropriate for younger readers.
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Lover in Law
 
Harboring an unmentionable secret is not an obvious route to maternal bliss..........or is it?

Ali Kirk's had a bad year. An ambitious London lawyer, her courtroom performances have started to slide and her obsession with having a baby is undermining her relationship with boyfriend Adam. Come January 1st she resolves that in the next twelve months her life has to turn around.

Life, however, is about to get worse. Busy juggling fertility tests with a high-profile criminal trial at the Old Bailey, Ali starts burning the midnight oil with powerfully handsome colleague Anthony de Klerk. On a night that she's slipped on some sexy underwear to boost her flagging self-esteem, Ali and Anthony finally end up in bed together. And then she falls pregnant. Ali becomes the ultimate woman sleuth - who is the father, Adam or Anthony?

En route from pregnancy to having a baby there's romance and rows, mystery and denials, suspense and comedy. And the ultimate, uncomfortable realization that only one thing will set Ali free: the truth.

This is Jo Kessel's debut novel in the contemporary romance genre. 

Recommended for ages 17+ due to descriptive sex scenes and mature subject matter.
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Weak at the Knees
 
“We got so busy living life that we forgot to live our dreams.”

Danni Lewis has been playing it safe for twenty-six years, but her sheltered existence is making her feel old ahead of time. When a sudden death plunges her into a spiral of grief, she throws caution to the wind and runs away to France in search of a new beginning. 

The moment ski instructor Olivier du Pape enters her shattered world she falls hard, in more ways than one.

Their mutual desire is as powerful and seductive as the mountains around them. His dark gypsy looks and piercing blue eyes are irresistible. 

Only she must resist, because he has a wife – and she’d made a pact to never get involved with a married man.

But how do you choose between keeping your word and being true to your soul? 

Weak at the Knees is Jo’s debut novel in the new adult, contemporary romance genre – a story about love, loss and relationships, set between London and the heart of the French Alps.
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© 2023 by Jo Kessel.