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Archive for the ‘Indie Publishing’ Category

I am thrilled to welcome you to The Quiet Knitter blog today for today’s instalment of Celebrating Indie Publishing and introduce you to an author who is turning suspense novels on their heads with some brilliant characters!
K.T. Lee is the author behind The Calculated Series, which sees women in STEM working with various government agencies to solve cases and fight crime.

There are four books in the series, Calculated Deception, Calculated Contagion, Calculated Sabotage, and the prequel novella Calculated Extortion. More information about the series can be found on the author’s website and I would recommend checking them out!


Book Feature:

Description:

A criminal hiding in plain sight on campus. A professor caught in the middle. Can Dr. Ree Ryland help the FBI stop a killer before it’s too late?

Dr. Ree Ryland is an engineering professor who loves her job and plays by the rules. Her life is reassuringly predictable – until an enemy hiding in plain sight decides her squeaky-clean reputation is the perfect cover to commit a crime.

When Agent Parker Landon and his FBI team discover that someone at the university has been procuring military-grade hardware by disguising it as test equipment, all evidence points to Ree. After the FBI intercepts a shipment that puts Ree in the clear, Parker is forced to tell her that she’s being used as a pawn by an unseen enemy. And now she’s in that enemy’s crosshairs. Ree turns down the protective detail offered by the FBI and insists on using her inside knowledge to help with the investigation. Parker is leery of bringing a civilian on to the team, but he’s surprised at how much fun he has working with Ree, even as he tries to keep her out of harm’s way.

Parker, Ree and the FBI team find increasingly worrying evidence that someone is quietly acquiring everything they need to cause destruction on a massive scale. Now, they must uncover the motive and identity of the killer hiding among Ree’s friends and colleagues before it’s too late.

Calculated Deception is Book 1 in The Calculated Series. All books in The Calculated Series may be enjoyed as standalone novels or as a series.

My Thoughts:

When I first heard about this book and the inclusion of STEM I was very curious, how had the writer managed to weave that in, had they pulled it off, would it work …? I also read a fantastic feature with the author on the magnificent blog Linda’s Book Bag back in March and wanted to find out more about the book.  If you’ve not already checked out Linda’s blog, I would highly recommend doing so (after you’ve finished reading this post of course!).

So, Calculated Deception … what can I tell you without giving too much away about the plot or repeating the book description? I can tell you that it’s a fast paced, thrilling read that you really do not want to put down. The strong characterisation makes this such an appealing read, the protagonist is an intelligent woman, an engineer, a scientist, but she also has a wonderful relatable way when her awkwardness comes through.
There is a lot going on in this book, and the pace makes this a brisk read. And although it can be read as a stand alone book, I really think that it’s worth following the series to see what K.T. throws at Ree next!

I liked that the author didn’t bog down the narrative with too much scientific detail, and I did wonder when I went into this book if I would be able to understand the ins and outs of the plot, but thankfully I managed to read along and enjoy it. The detail is instead woven into the creation of Ree and her colleagues, and the FBI agents. Each of them have their quirks and compliment each other, the humour in the dialogue feels natural and makes the characters more realistic.

Now to get cracking on the next books in the series!


Author Feature:Logo Only

K.T. is a mom, engineer, and writer of books about women in STEM fighting international crime. When K.T. began to write the kind of books she wanted to read, she mixed clever women and the sciences with elements from thrillers (and a dash of romance) to create The Calculated Series.

Social Media Links:

Twitter: @ktleewrites
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ktleewrites
Instagram: @ktleeauthor
Website: www.ktleeauthor.com

 

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

If I had to pick one thing, it would be the opportunity to learn new things and interact with interesting people (ok, I may have snuck two things in). Since I’ve started publishing my books, I’ve interacted with fellow authors, book bloggers, and people passionate about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). I even emailed the FBI with some questions and they responded, quite helpfully!  Because The Calculated Series features women in STEM teaming up with government agents to solve crimes, I get to dive into a new, interesting subject for each book based on the specialties of the characters. Learning about interesting people and science adds depth and interest to each story. It’s a blast!

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?

It’s quite scary putting yourself out there, particularly when you know you are operating a little bit outside of traditional genre expectations. The Calculated Series is a mashup of thrillers and cozies (with a dash of romance) featuring clever women in STEM. It’s a little different than a traditional thriller! The first few months after release were fairly intense for me. As readers have found the books, left positive reviews, and begun asking for more novels in the series, it’s been really wonderful! On that note, a huge thank you to all of the lovely readers who take their time to leave reviews of new books they enjoy! I appreciate it so much and I’m sure other authors do as well!

If you could have written any book what would it be and why?

While there are so many fabulous books out there to choose from, if I had to pick just one, I’d say Timeline by Michael Crichton. It’s a delightful and unexpected blend of science thriller and history and I’ve read it multiple times. For me, books are a lovely escape for the busy brain and this book took me somewhere else entirely. Although after reading it, I learned never to start a Michael Crichton novel in the evening – I can’t put his books down until I finish them in the wee hours of the next morning!

How do you spend your time when you’re not wrapped up plotting your next book?

I’m an engineer and a mom when I’m not writing (and when I am!). Those two things keep me pretty busy but I’m also part of an improv comedy group. We have a ton of fun making up stories on the fly and making people laugh! Like a few of my characters, I also love to run – there’s something very relaxing about running long distances for me.

Do you have a set routine for writing?  Rituals you have to observe? I.e. specific pen, silence, day or night etc.

I write whenever and wherever I can! I write on my lunch break, early in the morning if I’m the first one awake, whenever I can squeeze it in, really. I look forward to the time I spend writing – it’s so fun for me to disappear into the world of my characters for a bit. I do find that I have to schedule blocks of time when I am editing and I have to be in a relatively quiet room. Editing takes 100% of my brain!

What’s on the horizon?  What can your fans look forward to next?

Book 3 in the Calculated Series is full steam ahead and I’m excited about where it’s going! Fans who met Cam in Calculated Contagion, you’ll get to spend a lot more time with him and a new character in this latest novel. I’ve also found that readers are quite attached to Ree and the FBI team – don’t worry, they’ll be back too! One of the best things about writing a series is that character growth is really not limited to one book – I can allow their story to develop over multiple books and let readers read about their favorite characters again. I can’t wait to share what I’ve had in store for Book 3 even as I was writing Book 1.

(Since K.T. Lee sent me the answers to these questions, her latest book has now been released and is available to buy)

Can you tell me a little about your latest book?  How would you describe it and why should we go read it?

Sure! I quick-released Calculated Deception (Book 1) and Calculated Contagion (Book 2) last year, along with a free prequel novella (my freequel novella, if you’ll forgive the pun) to introduce new readers to The Calculated Series.

Books in The Calculated Series are fun, page-turning suspense featuring clever women in STEM. There are elements from spy thrillers with the focus on characters and small community feel of a cozy mystery. There is a little sweet romance as well. My books always have a bit of fun and banter between the characters along the way. I love to hear from readers that I made them laugh out loud or kept them up too late reading! So, if you like a little fun with your suspense, this is a good series to check out!

 

Finally, if you could impart one pearl of wisdom to your readers, what would it be?

My favorite quote I’ve come across recently is: “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” I think it’s incredibly important to try to be the kind of person that lifts other people up, not the kind that tears them down. This is true no matter who you are or what you do for a living.

 

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A huge thank you to K.T. for joining me today and sharing a little about her and her books. I know that these are the first books I’ve encountered with STEM and the concept really appeals to me, and having read Calculated Deception, I cannot wait to work my way through the rest of the books!

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Normally I review books in their own post, but today I have decided to review books four and five of The Cosy Cottage Café series in this one post.
This series is written by the lovely Rachel Griffiths who has created the idyllic village of Heatherlea and some of the loveliest characters that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in a book.


Spring at The Cosy Cottage Café

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Description:

Artist Honey Blackwell is happy with her life. Well, almost. She lives in the picturesque village of Heatherlea, has three close friends and a soft spot for local supply teacher Dane Ackerman. If only she could put her past behind her and embrace the present.


Dane is working hard to prove himself at the village primary school and doesn’t really have time for love, but he’s drawn to Honey and hopes she feels the same. When a permanent teaching position is advertised in Heatherlea, he faces stiff competition to secure it.


As Honey and Dane deal with the ups and downs of life, will they be able to find a way to be together, or will they have to accept that sometimes love just isn’t enough?


My Thoughts:

The fourth instalment of The Cosy Cottage Café allows readers to see Spring from the perspective of Honey Blackwell, the final member of the group of friends who meet up at the Café regularly to sample the delights cooked up, share the ups and downs of life and generally keep each other going when life gets tricky. Honey is a character that we’ve briefly glimpsed in previous books, she always comes across as easy going, cheery and an all round lovely lass who never fails to make everyone around her smile.

Honey has recently embarked on a relationship with Dane Ackerman, a local supply teacher but neither of them has actually put a label on the relationship, so they’re at the stage where their friends all know that they’re a couple, even if they don’t quite know they’ve reached that point yet. Watching their relationship develop and getting to know both of these characters better is definitely a treat, being able to learn about Honey’s past makes her even more lovable.
As well as her lovely personality, Honey has wonderfully bright coloured hair, a bit like a unicorn but it all adds to her charm. The names she’s given her chickens made me laugh so much!

As well as getting to read Honey’s story, Griffiths continues the stories of her other characters in Heatherlea in the background, meaning that fans of the series can see how life has moved on for Camilla, Allie and Dawn after their books.
The thing I love about these books is that the characters have become so real to me, I eagerly look forward to catching up with them and seeing what they’ve been up to. The setting of Heatherlea is lovely, the descriptions are so vivid and make it seem like the sort of place you would love to visit. Although, word of warning, do not read this when you’re hungry. The food created in the Café is likely to have you drooling and wishing you could taste it!


A Wedding at The Cosy Cottage Café

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When Allie Jones’ daughter, Mandy, arrives at The Cosy Cottage Café in tears one spring morning, Allie is extremely concerned. She’s been worried about her career-driven daughter for a while, and she’s hoping she’ll finally get to find out what’s wrong.

Dawn Dix-Beaumont has her hands full with three young children, a husband who works from home and the guinea pig family that lives in her garden. She’s happier than she’s ever been, but is it too good to last?

Camilla Dix is madly in love with local vet Tom Stone. Being with Tom and cuddling her baby niece have stirred feelings she didn’t know she had, but it’s far too soon to be making long-term plans. Isn’t it?

Honey Blackwell’s boyfriend, Dane Ackerman, has secured his teaching post at Heatherlea Primary School and they’ve decided to live together. Everything seems to be working out well, until a member of Honey’s household expresses a clear dislike for the handsome teacher.

Plus someone has been planning a proposal…

Join Allie and her friends this summer as cakes are baked, secrets are shared and surprises bring smiles and tears at The Cosy Cottage Café.

My Thoughts:

The fifth part of the series and what a book this is! After the revelations in the previous book, I went into this book wondering who’s wedding was going to feature here, there were three options and I could not wait to see who would be getting the fairy tale happy ever after moment. After a year of stories following the group of friends, this was the perfect way to tie up the four seasons, each of the main stories has reached a wonderful point filled with happiness and laughter.

It’s possible to pick up any of the books in the series to read as a stand alone, including this one but I do think to get the full story it’s worth reading the full set of books to get the backstories, enjoy the build up and drool over the delights that Allie whips up in the Café.

I don’t want to say too much about the plot and give anything away, but this is a wonderful way to pass an afternoon with plenty of laughter and feel good moments.
The style of writing makes this such a light and enjoyable read, the characters are appealing and relatable and the story draws readers in.

The only downside is that I have to bid Heatherlea farewell now.

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Celebrating Indie Publishing today sees a mini review of a humorous crime tale set in the Scottish Borders, written by Mark Farrer.

The Good, The Bad and The Rugby was published in ebook on 18th October, copies can be purchased via Amazon UK or Amazon US.

As part of the blog tour, there is a giveaway running to win some bookmarks, this is only open to UK entrants, details and your chance to win is below.


Book Feature:

 

Description:GBR-Front-Cover

Getting to the truth. By trial… and eror error.

Cullen is on jury duty, and the sleepy Scottish town of Melrose is experiencing a rare crime wave: the famous Rugby Sevens trophy is stolen, a dead body is unearthed, there is a spate of petty arson, and someone drives a van into Gloria’s front room.
Why? And what is her husband doing every night up on Eildon hill?

In this hilarious crime romp, misguided loyalties, thwarted love, and unbelievable gullibility reach crisis point on the one day in the year when the world pays a visit to Melrose.

At the final whistle, Cullen will ensure that justice is done.

Because sometimes twelve good men just isn’t enough.

 

My Thoughts:

What a funny and madcap book this turned into! When I started this book, I had no idea that I would be chuckling aloud at sections and dialogue so much, and even reading parts out to my long suffering husband to see if they were as funny to him as I found them.

The characters are superb creations, Farrer has brought together a wonderful cast of societal misfits with a great dash of humour and mixes them with a plot that has readers racing through to find out what happens next! Although the character of Cullen is from previous books, this is a stand alone book, and it reads very easily in that respect. Although, after having met Cullen, I am keen to go back and read the previous books.
Clever plotting and weaving together the various strands of it all means that this is a well rounded and enjoyable read. Humour is balanced well with darkness, and so when we reach various points of the plot, the scenes feel realistic as well as entertaining.

 

Giveaway:

As part of the blog tour, Mark’s novella Dirty Barry is available to download from Amazon for free here.

For your chance to win 2 bookmarks featuring the covers of all four of Mark Farrer’s books, please click the following Rafflecopter link.
Please note this a UK only giveaway.  The 14 winners will be selected at random and your postal address will be passed onto Mark Farrer.  There is no cash alternative.  The giveaway ends of midnight (GMT) on 16th November 2018.  Any personal information stored by the Rafflecopter giveway will be deleted after the winners have been drawn.

Rafflecopter Competition Link

 

About the Author:

Mark was born in Liverpool, studied Computer Science at Hull University, then had a successful career in IT management in London and the South-East for twenty years before moving to Edinburgh in 2001. He continued working in IT until 2015 when he decided to retire from the rat race and focus on becoming a writer. He now spends half his time writing and the other half worrying why he is not yet making money from writing.

The Good, The Bad & The Rugby is Mark’s third comic novel featuring a morally righteous loner called Cullen. He also has a perma-free novella on Amazon, called Dirty Barry, which tells how Cullen and Big Paul first met. He is currently at work on a second novella, called Bronchial Billy.

Mark has three children, one at University, one on a gap year in Ghana, and one still at High School. He lives with his partner Claire, a photographer, near West Linton, in the Scottish Borders.

He likes: his Mini Cooper, songwriting, playing piano, vanilla panna cotta, The Beatles, woodburning stoves, wittertainment, Bill Bailey, #sadmanonatrain, fruit gums, Carl Hiaasen, The Wire, spicy food, Van Gogh, Lindsey Buckingham, oaked chardonnay, House MD, long walks, cinema, reading in bed, florentines, Only Connect, board games, Otis Lee Crenshaw, Budweiser, GBBO, India, cheese, David Armand’s mimes, bookshops, Scandi Noir, Diet Coke, The Economist, Blackadder, good sausages, Dickens, Helena Bonham-Carter (secret crush), the Times crossword, the song mmmbop, and pies.

And lists.

He dislikes: ITV, pinot grigio, tattoos, ballet, ready meals, rap, religion, clutter, artificial raspberry flavouring, marmite, jazz, under-powered showers, people who don’t look after their stuff, opera, sprouts, and waste.

And mashed potato.

He really doesn’t like mashed potato.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mark_farrer

Website: http://markfarrer.com/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mark-Farrer/e/B074S4XMGL/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

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Today on Celebrating Indie Publishing I’m giving a nod to the autumnal season and Halloween with a review of Cailleach Witch and an author feature with Jane Gilheaney Barry.

Cailleach Witch was published in August 2018 and is available to purchase now via Amazon UK.


Book Feature:

Description:

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A LITTLE SPOOKY, A LITTLE QUIRKY, A WHOLE LOT OF ATMOSPHERE AND MYSTERY…

Dara Cleary and her sisters are returning to their childhood home in the west of Ireland, where the aunts still live.
Dara is seeking revenge for an incident that happened ten years earlier and was the reason for their leaving. But when they arrive they find a far bigger story waiting for them.
They are Bean Feasa, witches, bound to the Cailleach, a paranormal landscape witch.

Now is the time of reckoning, and Dara and her sisters must face formidable odds to complete their family’s quest for freedom. A beautifully lyrical and eerie tale, with touches of magic and an abiding sense of atmosphere and place. Jane Gilheaney Barry drives her cast of memorable women at lightning pace through the landscape and climate of Ireland’s wild west.

 

My Thoughts:

When I saw this book being spoken about on Social Media I immediately headed to Amazon to buy a copy, it sounded fascinating and just the read for Halloween!

This is a mixture of fairy tale, darkness, fantasy and thrills, all wrapped up in a plot that draws the reader in and holds their attention. The writing is packed with detail, atmosphere and some great characters. The characters feel incredibly real and it’s hard for readers not to feel a connection with them as their stories unfold, even with the ones who do wrong.

Cailleach Witch is the sort of book that would benefit from more than one reading to fully appreciate the subtleties, the atmosphere and really,  the story.
Jane has a gift when it comes to setting the scene, and vividly brings to life the small Irish town, she evokes great intrigue with mention of folklore and that makes this such a powerful and entrancing read. I’m trying to avoid saying much about the plot, I don’t want to give anything away and, this is truly a story that you want to discover on your own, at your own pace. And I think that readers will take away something different from this when they read it, whether it’s learning about ancient tales of witchcraft and magic, or appreciation of what has passed before or indeed give pause for thought about the ways in which humanity views those who may be “different”.

A rich and entrancing read that cannot help but connect with.


Author Feature:

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Author image and bio from Amazon.co.uk

I’m Jane, author, creative enabler, rebel in chief and curator at creative lifestyle brand That Curious Love of Green. Your one stop shop for creative living. I hail from the north west of Ireland where I live, in a wonderful house, with my lovely husband Adrian, children, Sadhbh, Saoirse, Shaylyn, and assorted pets. I’m passionate about creativity, writing, houses, women, wild nature, and living life to the full. When it comes to writing fiction I love modern gothic, mystery, and all things witchy. Follow me at That Curious Love of Green.com and fb.

 

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

I’ve only been an author since September of this year and so far it has to be the sense of personal achievement, of a dream realised. And hearing from people who’ve read and loved the book so far.

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?

I can’t think of anything! Publishing has been a steep learning curve so if anything maybe that.

If you could have written any book what would it be and why?

Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, or Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Can I throw in a series? Penny Dreadful. I wish it was it was a book so I could savour it. Brilliant writing, dark, mysterious, full of passion and furious longings.

How do you spend your time when you’re not wrapped up plotting your next book?

I want to say painting, drinking champagne, and having fascinating conversations with interesting people, but in reality it’s try and stay on top of everyday life without going mad. Managing a home and family is still the hardest job of them all. In my opinion. Aside from that I love taking photographs, creating content for my social pages, cooking, playing in my house i.e. pottering & decorating, and I spend as much time as I can in nature. I also read a colossal amount, at high speed. I need constant intellectual stimulation.

Do you have a set routine for writing?  Rituals you have to observe? I.e. specific pen, silence, day or night etc.

I have to write everyday or I’m miserable. At weekends it’s usually a social media post or two. Monday to Friday I write while the girls are at school. From about 9.30 to 2.30 I prefer to write in the mornings. I love silence for writing but I’ve trained myself to write without it. I like my surroundings to be clear and tidy if possible but when I’m in deep writing mode the house could fall and I wouldn’t notice.

What’s on the horizon?  What can your fans look forward to next?

A series of non-fiction books, one on creativity and creative living, and a guide for artists and writers on how to fall in love with marketing. Lots of writing and creativity workshops coming up and plans to do more of those in the new year. And the next novel. Not sure what it’s going to be yet. I’m waiting for the spark, the seed to get me started.

Can you tell me a little about your latest book?  How would you describe it and why should we go read it? 

I would describe Cailleach~Witch as a book for strong modern women, creative women, different, outsiders most likely. It’s for anyone who dreams of freedom. If you like a really fast-paced, atmospheric read, with touches of magic and wildness, then I’d say it’s for you. Even more if you like women, the sibling relationship, wild nature, and witches.

Finally, if you could impart one pearl of wisdom to your readers, what would it be?

If you feel you want to write don’t wait. It’s not too late and you don’t need any training. You just need to start, let yourself be a beginner, and create the habit. After that you have to trust the process and keep moving forward. And, don’t let the haters get you down.

 

Social Media Links:

Facebook: That Curious Love of Green by Jane Gilheaney Barry

Website:  www.http://thatcuriousloveofgreen.com

 

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** My greatest thanks to the publisher and author for my very early review copy of this book **

 

Description:

Red Snow is the eagerly awaited follow-up to Dark Pines, selected for ITV’s Zoe Ball Book Club

TWO BODIES

One suicide. One cold-blooded murder. Are they connected? And who’s really pulling the strings in the small Swedish town of Gavrik?

TWO COINS

Black Grimberg liquorice coins cover the murdered man’s eyes. The hashtag #Ferryman starts to trend as local people stock up on ammunition.

TWO WEEKS

Tuva Moodyson, deaf reporter at the local paper, has a fortnight to investigate the deaths before she starts her new job in the south. A blizzard moves in. Residents, already terrified, feel increasingly cut-off. Tuva must go deep inside the Grimberg factory to stop the killer before she leaves town for good. But who’s to say the Ferryman will let her go?

 

My Thoughts:

The much anticipated follow up to Dark Pines is set to publish in January 2019, and readers will be delighted to see the return of protagonist Tuva Moodyson who is ready to take up a new job away from Gavrik, the small town where everyone knows each other and more importantly, they know her and her connection to that case. But before she leaves town, she has a story to report on and a mystery to clear up.

I don’t know about you, but I have been eagerly waiting for my return trip to the Swedish forest, and Red Snow is just the perfect book to transport readers to this chilly, wintry setting. The approaching blizzard makes for a dangerous and menacing presence, the townsfolk are on edge with the recent deaths and worrying about the future of the Grimberg liquorice, the main employer in town.
Tuva is not the only character to reappear; many fans will be delighted to see the woodcarving sisters making a return, as does a certain taxi driver and the reclusive writer. But best of all is the return of Tami and her food van, the delights that she cooks up have your mouth watering as you read, but Dean manages to offset this with the inclusion of salted liquorice amongst other things.

The plotting and pace of Red Snow are excellent; you are aware of mysterious goings on and are drawn in by it all. As tension mounts, Dean manages to inject moments of “normalcy”, glimpses into Tuva’s personal life and relationships, making her an even more relatable and tangible character. But at the same time, he manages to show a side of her that shows vulnerabilities and insecurities. Her wit and unique way of seeing things definitely plays a huge part in this book and I was delighted to see it again.

Swedish cultural references add a wonderful authenticity to the story, the descriptions of the snow skulls was both intriguing and creepy! Will Dean has captured the small town feel perfectly, he’s woven some of the most vivid descriptions of settings and people into a tale that is both clever and complex and proved that his is a name to watch!

There’s always a worry when the second book of a series comes out, will it meet the high standard of the first book? Will the characters continue to act in the same manner or will they develop strange tendencies or quirks between books? Rest assured, there is nothing to worry about, Will Dean has penned am impressive second novel that thrills, chills and delights, it is a worthy addition to the series and I look forward to the next book.

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Celebrating Indie Publishing sees a review of Literary Landscapes, the follow up book to Literary Wonderlands which I reviewed in October 2017.

“Hardy’s Wessex, Joyce’s Dublin, Du Maurier’s Cornwall sit alongside recent bestsellers, such as Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City and Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend.  Led by John Sutherland, a team of specialist literary critics have contributed individual essays eg Nick Lezard on Bleak House, Catherine Taylor on Bonjour Tristesse, Alison Flood on The Shipping News and Robert Macfarlane on The Luminaries.
Favourites are interspersed with the unfamiliar, but in all cases, landscape is as central to the tale as any character.”
Literary Landscapes was published by Modern Books on 18th October and is available to buy now.

Book Feature:

Description:Literary Landscapes Cover lo res

Some stories couldn’t happen just anywhere or any time – often the scenery , landscape or era is as central to the tale as any character – and just as easily recognised. What adventures would Heidi have had without her mountain neighbours? Would Jim Hawkins have experienced such an adventure had he not lived in mid – 1700s England? Literary Landscapes brings together an eclectic collage of over 50 familiar literary worlds paired with original maps and archive material, as well as illustrations and photography.

In this collection of essays the reader will follow Leopold Bloom’s footsteps around Dublin, become immersed in Les Misérable’s revolutionary Paris, feel the chill wind of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, and hear the churning paddles of Mississippi steamboats in Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn.

The landscapes of enduring fictional characters and literary legends are vividly brought to life, evoking all the sights and sounds of the original works. For anyone whoever dreamt of escaping the everyday, Literary Landscapes will transport you to the greatest places in literature.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

I adore books like this, books that give readers a little something more than a story, ones that give you an answer to a question that you’ve had at the back of your mind but never got round to looking up, or take you on a journey to a landscape you would love to visit.

The moment I saw this book I was wowed, the cover is instantly eye catching and gives you an idea of the detail you will uncover as you lose yourself within the pages of this book. And as soon as I opened it, I eagerly flicked through the sections of names I knew to feast on the beautiful illustrations and absorb the information before moving on to discover new places I’d love to travel to, as well as list of books to add to my ever growing reading list.

Set out in four different sections, Romantic Prospects, Mapping Modernisation, Post-War Panoramas, and Contemporary Geographies, these wonderfully detailed essays give readers a glimpse into the passion the writer holds for the subject. This passion is infectious in that it had me reaching for the mentioned books from my bookshelf, or in some cases buying a copy books that I wanted to read. It’s one of those books that you can dip in and out of, and it’s a great way to pass an afternoon, curled up on the sofa travelling to distant locations through the pages of this excellent collection.
I don’t usually mention anything about the way a book is laid out but in this instance I have to say that the illustrations are exquisite, the maps and photographs are are wonderful, and there is an almost luxurious feel to the book. It would make a great gift for book lovers!

 

Giveaway

For readers in the UK there is a chance for you to win a copy of Literary Landscapes.
Follow @modernbooks and tweet your own favourite #LiteraryLandscape for a chance to win a copy of Literary Landscapes.

This giveaway is open to UK entries only, and closes on 31st October 2018. Giveaway is not connected to The Quiet Knitter blog.

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Today on Celebrating Indie Publishing I am thrilled to share a review of a book that I immensely enjoyed. Disaster Inc by Caimh McDonnell is fifth book to feature his enigmatic character Bunny McGarry and is a true comedic delight for his fans.

Disaster Inc was published by McFori Ink on 16th September and is available to buy now!


Book Feature:

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He’s a good man having a bad day with the worst hangover. 

All Bunny McGarry wants is a spot of breakfast and a decent cup of tea. So imagine how annoyed he gets when two masked men attempt to rob the New York diner he is in? Unfortunately, dealing with that problem just leads to a whole lot more. One of the diner’s other customers isn’t who she appears to be, and the odds aren’t great that she is going to live to see another breakfast. 

So just how much trouble is she in? 

Well, you know how they’re always telling us to pay attention to our pensions?   Some ex-employees of the US government are really taking that advice to heart by using their mayhem-creating abilities to maximise their investments. When one of their fund managers has a momentary crisis of conscience and confesses all to a woman he hardly knows, they will stop at nothing to deal with the problem.  Amy Daniels is in big trouble and the only thing keeping her alive is a man who is supposed to already be dead. 

My Thoughts & Review:

I bloody love Bunny McGarry, this is a character that I can happily say that I would probably follow into any genre, even if he were to start flying a spaceship or riding rodeo, though perhaps not if he were to swerve into a Fifty Shades of Grey type book … I do have limits.
Disaster Inc is another hilarious offering from the comic genius that is Caimh McDonnell, the Irish/Cork wit that he weaves effortlessly throughout the narrative will have readers chuckling out loud and reading out to anyone around you.

Bunny McGarry is now across the pond in America, but as always, drink has played a part in his downfall and he finds himself without his phone or money and no means of getting in contact with the only person that can help him. And if that wasn’t complication enough, he finds himself on the wrong side of a gun when two balaclava clad men storm the cafe he’s eating breakfast in.
The fast thinking Irishman soon realises that something isn’t right and sets about causing mischief, or sure, doesn’t mischief find him?

What then follows is a madcap adventure with McGarry not keeping a low profile as he was told to, instead he’s coming to the aid of a damsel in distress who has some dangerous people looking for her.

The writing is clever and the pace is almost breakneck speed, readers are thrown into the vortex with Bunny McGarry, but it’s enjoyable. The level of detail in the plot is fantastic, investment banking is something that I never thought I would find interesting to read about but somehow Caimh McDonnell managed to make it almost exciting.

And for the record, I completely agree with Bunny’s horror at the lack of tea … it’s just wrong!

A wonderful start to a new series and one I cannot wait to read more about!

You can buy a copy of Disaster Inc via Amazon UK

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I’m thrilled to welcome you to another Friday post to celebrate another great indie book, this time it’s Heart in the Right Place by Lisa Hill.

This is billed as “a perfect romantic read for the summer”, and is available to buy now. It was published by Manatee Books in July 2018.


Description:

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Lottie Hardwicke is Yorkshire’s answer to Kirstie Allsopp, but ten years spent raising her three children with husband, Drew, has relegated her to Saturday Girl status at the family estate agents. This is Lottie’s year; she’s turning over a new leaf and is going to make her time in property less of a borderline obsession and more of an actual career. Only, she hasn’t bet on her interfering in-laws returning to scupper her plans or her teenage crush, celebrity Tom Thorpe, arriving in the village and offering her the opportunity of a lifetime, which could compromise everything…

Can Lottie have it all? Can she be a hands-on mum and get her career back, without wrecking her marriage in the process?

My Thoughts & Review:

Heart in the Right Place is the perfect way to round off my summer reads, the sun may not be shining as is did in the summer months but it certainly felt like it was whilst I read this listening to the autumn winds blowing outside.

A cast of very human and relatable characters spring from the pages with some quirky personalities and although some are less likeable than others, they are written in such a way that draws some strong feelings from the readers. And as readers get to know them better, they begin to see that there might be more to the fluster and bluster or the brusqueness, I certainly was surprised by one character once I found out a bit more about them.

Several separate strands make up the plot of this book and for the most part they are intriguing, if not frustrating when you put yourself in the shoes of the character involved. It’s that sort of read that you cannot help but become slightly invested in.
The themes of friendship, love and family play a huge part in the narrative and are written in such a way that moves the pace of the book along so quickly.

A truly lovely and enchanting read to pass a few hours with!

You can buy a copy of Heart in the Right Place via:

Amazon UK

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** My thanks to the wonderful Karen Sullivan for my copy of this book and Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

Happily settled in Florida, Sonja believes she’s finally escaped the trap set by unscrupulous drug lords. But when her son Tomas is taken, she’s back to square one … and Iceland.

Her lover, Agla, is awaiting sentencing for financial misconduct after the banking crash, and Sonja refuses to see her. And that’s not all … Agla owes money to some extremely powerful men, and they’ll stop at nothing to get it back.

With her former nemesis, customs officer Bragi, on her side, Sonja puts her own plan into motion, to bring down the drug barons and her scheming ex-husband, and get Tomas back safely. But things aren’t as straightforward as they seem, and Sonja finds herself caught in the centre of a trap that will put all of their lives at risk…

Set in a Reykjavík still covered in the dust of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption, and with a dark, fast-paced and chilling plot and intriguing characters, Trap is an outstandingly original and sexy Nordic crime thriller, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.

My Thoughts & Review:

Trap is the second book in the Reykjavík Noir series by Lilja Sigurdardóttir, and it’s unapologetically brilliant. It’s sharp and clever and displays the high level of excellence that fans of Sigurdardóttir have come to expect from her writing.

The writing is evocative, and teeming with detail and atmosphere. Readers get a real feel for the situations that both Sonja and Agla find themselves in, the danger feels so imposing, the fear is almost claustrophobic.
If I thought that Sonja was a great character in the previous book, Snare, then Sigurdardóttir has well and truly made a character that I love and dare I admit it, admire. Her determination to get out of the jam she’s in really impressed me, her tenacity and stubbornness were great to see and I felt that I was almost cheering for her at times. Agla, I really felt for at times. I wanted to shake her, I wanted to laugh with her and I wanted to yell at her. How is it an author can create characters that we shouldn’t like, but still feel sympathy towards? That’s the skill of this author, she can draw strong emotions from the reader with ease. The character that really tugged on my heartstrings was Sonja’s son Tomas. He is a child stuck between divorced parents, adores his mother and wants to be with her, not his father. The complexities of adult relationships are beyond his comprehension, the whys and hows of his current situation only lead to frustration.

A financial investigation thread to the plot is fascinating, seeing how Agla and others planned to work the system is mindbogglingly clever and I applaud Sigurdardóttir for taking something so complex and making it understandable.

Packed with tension, this is a book that you do not want to put down. Short chapters make it far too easy for you to fall into the trap of reading “just one more chapter”, and before you know it, the supper is burnt or it’s 3am and sleep is something you can’t contemplate until you know what’s going to happen next. It’s the sort of book that you can imagine playing out like a film, and the quality of the writing means that it sweeps you away with a momentum akin to jumping into a vortex.

I absolutely cannot wait to see what book three of the series has instore for readers, but I’ll perhaps lay off the caffeine before it comes out so I don’t feel so jumpy and on edge as Sigurdardóttir casts her icy Icelandic spell on me!

 

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** My thanks to Emma at damppebbles blog tours and Fahrenheit Press for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

Berlin is in the midst of its worst winter in decades.

Against the backdrop of freezing temperatures, blizzards and snowstorms, the city refuses to grind to a halt. Lurking within the shadows is a Stasi victim, out for revenge against the former East German informants known as ‘The Ears’. Their dark secrets are about to be exposed.

A mix of ice and water and a single gunshot, provides the ultimate payback.

With the Millennium approaching, Hanne Drais, the criminal psychologist working within the Berlin Mitte Police team led by the irascible Oskar Kruger and his laid-back sidekick, Stefan Glockner, are seeking the perpetrator of these violent crimes.

Who is the man they’ve nicknamed Snowflake?

Who is turning the river red?

My Thoughts & Review:

I absolutely love books with a Cold War setting, something about them just makes for a thrilling and enticing read, and The River Runs Red by Ally Rose is certainly that.

With a plot that spans two different timelines, Ally Rose introduces readers to a Berlin that is rife with danger and suspicion, the Stasi are omnipresent and overpowering, ordinary citizens are turning informant on their friends, neighbours and even family, and those brave enough to defect make life difficult for the ones they leave behind. But the actions of the Stasi and their informants are the catalyst for a spree of killings some years later, someone is out for revenge for having been wronged.

The dual timeline makes this quite an interesting read, readers experience a snipped of the East German way of life, and see events through the eyes of a young man struggling with life after his father’s defection to West Germany. Whilst watching life unfolding for this character, readers also see a more modern timeline where they are privy to the actions of the killer, not the exact motives or the identity of the killer but some of their thoughts and actions as they seek revenge for events from the past.
Interestingly, Ally Rose also gives readers the view of the investigating team through the eyes of Hanne Drais, a criminal psychologist working with the Berlin Police. Drais is a fantastic character, her thought processes and actions make her stand out as someone readers will want to know more about. She is a likeable character, and one that I think many readers will connect readily with.

Plotting and characterisation are well done, the way that the story unfolds is sure to hook the interest of readers and keep them captive trying to work out of they’ve guessed the connections between events and if they’ve guessed the identity of the killer. The pace is good, I found that this was a book that I was racing through, thoroughly enjoying each chapter. Giving readers a variety of characters to get to know makes this such an intriguing read, each is well rounded and multidimensional, an whilst I may not have agreed with the actions of all of them, I definitely felt that I was becoming more invested in their tales and wanted to know more.

Although The River Runs Red is the third book in the Hanne Drais series, this can definitely be read as a stand alone book. Ally Rose gives ample background information about Hanne Drais so that you get to know this character and her history, and don’t feel on the back foot at all.
Now, I think I will go back to the start of the series to enjoy books one and two!

You can buy a copy of The River Runs Red via:

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Fahrenheit Press

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