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Archive for the ‘Indie Publishing’ Category

Hello and happy Friday!
Welcome along to another post to “Celebrate Indie Publishing” , the publisher this week is Urbane Publications, the book being featured is “Seeking Eden” by Beverly Harvey and I’m shining a light on Sophie Jonas-Hill as she takes part in my author feature….I say light, it’s more like a wee torch, but it’s the thought that counts eh?!


Book Feature:

Published: 6 July 2017

Description:

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’50 is the new 30 – haven’t you heard?’
Or so says Ben Wilde’s record producer on the eve of his comeback. If only Ben could win back ex-girlfriend, Kate, he’d be a happy man. But married Kate has moved on, and moved out – to Eden Hill, a quiet housing estate in the suburbs. Lonely and homesick for London, can Kate resist ego-maniac Ben’s advances and save her own flagging marriage?

Streets away, Kate’s new friend Lisa, a Chihuahua toting ex-WAG, is primed for a fresh start – until her footballer ex-husband is found dead and she is vilified in the gutter press. But Kate, Lisa and Ben aren’t the only ones having a midlife crisis; local shop owner Martin dreams of escaping his dutiful marriage, and develops an unhealthy obsession with Lisa and her friends in Eden Hill.

Alongside a colourful cast of friends and family, Kate, Lisa, Ben and Martin are living proof that older does not always mean wiser because in Eden Hill, there’s temptation around every corner.

My Thoughts & Review:

When I first read the description of this book I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, it sounds like women’s fiction but with an added edge.  The plot begins with a break in at the home of the central character Kate, which is the catalyst for her and her husband Neil, moving to the idyllic newly built estate outside London in Eden Hill.

The move to the their new home means that Neil finds the lengthy commute to London tiresome and soon takes up the offer of a sofa to sleep on from a friend in London, leaving Kate to her own devices in a strange new location.  Initially withdrawn, Kate is lonely and misses the hubub of City life, misses her friends but soon joins the local gym and takes on a dog for company.

The reader is then introduced to a varied cast of characters, Lisa who was once married to a football star, Ben an ageing pop star who happens to be Kate’s ex boyfriend, and Martin and Jan Bevan who own the local carpet shop.  Each of these characters has their own intricately woven tale that culminates in a plot rich with detail and the theme of people taking stock of life once they near 50.  The plot is intriguing, I found I was keen to read on to find out what was going to happen next with Kate, and strangely, I felt at times I was more interested in the parallel storyline of Martin and Jan.  Seeing how Martin struggled with what appeared to be a midlife crisis whilst supporting his wife who was suffering from crippling depression made for interesting and enlightening reading.

There were times that that this book read like a synopsis of the latest episode of a soap opera, this character gossiping about that one, who was doing what with whom, and so on, but on the whole the writing is good and the story flows well.
Whilst there are some serious issues written into the plot, there are also ample light hearted moments to offset this, making it quite a well rounded read and quite a good book for packing in your suitcase for your summer holidays!

 

You can buy a copy of “Seeking Eden” directly from directly from Urbane Publications here, or alternatively via  Amazon UK | Book Depository


Author Feature:

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I’ve always written and told stories, for as long as I can remember. My first self published work at the age of seven, fully illustrated in felt pen and crayon. I continued with a series of insightful ‘When I grow up I want to be an author’, essays, and an attempt at a ‘Bonk-buster’ series of supernatural thrillers written from a position of utter ignorance on all topics, until I was distracted by Art college. A never ending, or never finished, fantasy epic kept me going through my twenties, but it was motherhood in my thirties which concentrated my mind enough to actually finish a novel. It’s amazing what a bit of life experience and the sudden curtailing of your free time can do to concentrate the mind.

After that I began giving myself permission to take my writing seriously enough to spend time on it and actually listen to critiques. The writing festival in York proved invaluable, and time and disappointment got me to the point of producing something readable, which I was lucky enough to have read by Urbane publications.

If you make or write anything, the number one question you get asked is ‘where do you get your ideas from?’ In answer to that question, it’s an easy process which combines working on your craft every hour you can for as long as possible – hard graft – reading as much as you can of everyone else’s work – stealing – and inspiration, which is just one of those things that just happens. The inspiration for ‘Nemesister’ comes from a dark episode of family history, and a moment from a dream; an image of a man standing in the doorway of what I knew was an abandoned shack, which was gone as soon as it came and yet lingered, the way some dreams do.

 

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

Writing. I know that sounds a bit simplistic, but writing, the act of it, chance to have these words and people and ideas come tumbling out onto the page is one of the best feelings ever. I have always written, from when I can remember being able to write, though as I’m dyslexic and old enough to come from a time when that was just labeled as stupid, my early writing was quixotic to say the least. But that didn’t matter, I have always told stories inside my head and on paper, then on an old sticky typewriter and finally a lap top, and the chance to have other people read them is just amazing.

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

Right now it would have probably been ‘The Power’ by Namoi Alderman, simply because it is such an audacious idea, and because it’s so simple and yet so thoroughly realised. It say so much about where we are now, like all good Sci-fi, and yet is a really good read too, never letting its central ideas become polemic.

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

Well, apart from being a mum to two kids, one still a baby, I am a tutor for Kent Adult Education, where I devise and run a huge range of arts based workshops. This means that when I’m not teaching them, I’m building up pintrest boards and creating samples work out new ideas. So yes, while I’m working out the twisted excesses of the human psyche, I’m also making pom-pom chandeliers, needle felt animals and steam-punk dolls’ houses.

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

I wish I did! I have to snatch time to write at the moment, as my son is only one year old, so I tend to write when I can and where I can. I try and make myself write at least 500 words a day no matter what, and I have a rule of never reading anything I’ve written until I’ve done a first draft. Write, don’t think is my maxim – thinking is for tomorrow.

 

A huge thank you to Sophie for taking part and for sharing some more about herself, and I have to say I love the idea of making needle felt animals whilst your mind is on considerably less innocent things.  I’ll definitely be sure to head over to Pinterest later for ideas of fun things to create with my mini monster.
If you would like to know more about Sophie and her book check out her website .

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If you are an independent publisher or author and would like to feature on “Celebrating Indie Publishing” Friday please get in touch – email and twitter links are on the “About Me & Review Policy” page.

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Welcome along to my Friday post to celebrate Indie Publishing!  Today I am delighted to bring you a wonderful book from Black & White Publishing and share my review The Ludlow Ladies’ Society by Ann O’Loughlin.


Book Feature:

Published: 4 July 2017

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Connie Carter has lost everybody and everything dear to her. To help nurse her grieving heart and to try and find answers, she moves from her home in America to Ludlow Hall, deep in the Irish countryside. All she knows about Ludlow is that her late husband spent all their money on the house – without ever mentioning it to her. Now Connie needs to know why.

At Ludlow Hall, Connie befriends Eve and Hetty and is introduced to the somewhat curious Ludlow Ladies’ Society. But can Connie ever reveal her hurt? And, more importantly, can she ever understand or forgive? As the Ludlow Ladies stitch patchwork memory quilts to remember those they have loved and lost, the secrets of the past finally begin to surface.

The Ludlow Ladies’ Society is a story of friendship, resilience and compassion, and how women support each other through the most difficult times.

My Thoughts & Review:

I was lucky enough to win an early copy of this book through a blog giveaway over on Bleach House Library , pop over and check out Margaret’s reviews sometime.

The Ludlow Ladies’ Society sounded like the perfect read to take on holiday with me, the sort of thing that I could pick up and put down (if I had to) and generally sounded like a nice change of pace from my usual crime reads.  But when I started reading this book I realised I had underestimated the pull it would have on me.  Soon I was caught up in the stories of these women, invested in each of their heartbreaking tales of hardship and struggles and feeling so connected with this book.  Various of the members of the Ludlow Ladies’ Society has a secret hidden in their past that they’ve tried to overcome, or have kept hidden for one reason or another.  Ann O’Loughlin carefully lays bare each of their pasts, shares their dark secrets and allows the reader to come to terms with the deep sadness that each of these women has endured.  Whilst I found some of the tales saddening, I also felt pride that the women reached forms of closure in order to move on.

The way the sewing group is woven through the book is wonderful, this community of women supporting each other and their friendships and loyalty keeping each other going at times of hardship.  The idea that they create memory quilts to commemorate events in their village or the people within it is a lovely one, but some of the memories unearthed are not the most pleasant.  The ladies decide to create quilts for the exhibition in the town hall with the first prize being the chance to meet Michelle Obama and show their exhibits at a special show.  The emails that are interspersed throughout the narrative with the progress of the group and their task make for some brilliantly funny reading, the chairwoman, Kathryn Rodgers comes across as trying to be professional but failing slightly in her attempts which just makes this even funnier.

On the whole, I found this to be a very enjoyable read and found I was reaching for the tissues occasionally (honest it was my hayfever!), it is a story rife with emotion and spirit.  It’s the sort of book you read and find you’ve become invested in the characters, you begin to care what happens to them and care about what has happened to them.  When an author can evoke this level of emotion and attachment from the reader then  you just know the book is a special one, I will be sure to look out for more books by this author as I enjoyed her style of writing.

You can buy a copy of The Ludlow Ladies’ Society  via:

Amazon
Wordery
The Book Depository

My thanks to Margaret Madden at Bleach House Library and Lina Langlee at Black & White Publishing for the opportunity to read an early copy of this.


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If you are an independent publisher or author and would like to feature on “Celebrating Indie Publishing” Friday please get in touch – email and twitter links are on the “About Me & Review Policy” page.

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Welcome along to my Friday post to celebrate Indie Publishing!  Today I am delighted to bring you another book from  Cranachan Publishing and share my review “Nailing Jess” by Triona Scully.


Book Feature:

 

Published: 26 June 2017

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Description:

Welcome to Withering, a small town with a big problem in modern, matriarchal Britain. Here the women wear the trousers, while the men hold the handbags. Literally.

There’s a serial strangler on the loose and the bodies of teenage boys are piling up on maverick D.C.I. Jane Wayne’s patch.

Wayne needs to catch ‘The Withering Wringer’, but it’s not going to be easy. Demoted for her inappropriate behaviour, she must take orders from a man—and not just any man—an ugly one.

Still, at least she can rely on her drug stash from a recent police raid to keep her sane…

Shocking. Funny. Clever. A gender-bending, Agatha-Christie-meets-Chris-Brookmyre, mash-up. Simply genius.

Scully’s debut novel takes classic crime and turns it on its head with a deliciously absurd comic twist.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

When a book is recommended to you as “the most shocking thing you will read all year” you can’t help but wonder and if you’re as inquisitive as I am, then it’s odds on that you will want to put this to the test.

Nailing Jess is definitely different from anything I’ve read before, yes it’s a crime thriller but it’s written from the perspective of a gender reversal.  Where we readers would usually see a male detective leading a team of officers, we see that the top positions are held by females and they call the shots, whilst the males juggle careers, home life and childcare.
I have to admit that it did take me a little time to get my head round this reversal, and there were points at which I found it challenging.  However, I do think that this is a very clever way to have written this novel, challenging the preconceived notions that society holds, and it certainly did give me pause for thought.

The main character in this really is a madcap creation!  DCI Jayne Wayne is a tough, sexist, rude protagonist, and with her habits of drinking and smoking dope whilst on duty it’s little wonder that she is demoted.  Her flagrant disregard of policing policy and behaviour towards colleagues means that she becomes even more entertaining to read about when she is placed on a team headed up by a male officer.  The case they are working on is one of a serial strangler targetting teenage boys, a gruesome and graphic case that’s not for the faint-hearted.

The language used in this book is different from other crime thrillers, the word “suck” being used in place of an expletive beginning with F is just one such example of this.  Whilst some of the language used in this book is of a stronger nature, I do think that it is used to enhance the points being made and was done well.  The dark humour that Triona Scully pours into her work does work well, but it does take a little getting used to.

On the whole, an interesting and challenging read that will have readers thinking.

 

 

You can buy a copy of “Nailing Jess” via:

Amazon

Wordery

The Book Depository

My thanks to Triona Scully for the opportunity to read and review a copy of her book and for taking part in “Celebrating Indie Publishing” on The Quiet Knitter.

 


 

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If you are an independent publisher or author and would like to feature on “Celebrating Indie Publishing” Friday please get in touch – email and twitter links are on the “About Me & Review Policy” page.

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Hello and welcome along to another Friday, it’s time to celebrate another great book from another brilliant indie publisher!  This time I am shining the light on The Dome Press and sharing a review of J.D. Fennell’s debut novel “Sleeper”.


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Book Feature:

Description:

Sixteen-year-old Will Starling is pulled from the sea with no memory of his past. In his blazer is a strange notebook with a bullet lodged inside: a bullet meant for him. As London prepares for the Blitz, Will soon finds himself pursued by vicious agents and a ruthless killer known as the Pastor. All of them want Will’s notebook and will do anything to get it.

As Will’s memory starts to return, he realises he is no ordinary sixteen-year old. He has skills that make him a match for any assassin. But there is something else. At his core is a deep-rooted rage that he cannot explain. Where is his family and why has no one reported him missing?

Fighting for survival with the help of Mi5 agent-in-training, Anna Wilder, Will follows leads across London in a race against time to find the Stones of Fire before the next air raid makes a direct hit and destroys London forever.

My Thoughts & Review:

When I first heard about “Sleeper” I was intrigued, tales set during the Blitz always hold a fascination for me, throw in the fact that this is a fast paced, adventure thriller and you’re on to a winner in my eyes.

From the moment I picked up this book to flick through it I was hooked, there was something about the style of writing that captured my attention and drove me to read on.  Short chapters make this a quick and thrilling read, and there is action a plenty to entertain readers.
Will Starling is an interesting character, in the first three chapters he is portrayed as someone who is trying to do the best that he can in a difficult situation, yes he is somewhat of a suspicious young man what with his connections in the beginning, but his conscience seems to hold him in check, he has a sense of morality when it comes to the greater good and protecting others.  As the plot moves on, Will becomes victim to an amnesia and struggles with the mental block in place.  Who is he?  How did he get here?  Why is there a bullet in the notebook in his blazer pocket?  As the adrenaline surges through Will when he realises he’s in danger the pace of the book turns this into a frantic page turner.  Trying to work out who is after him and why, Will faces the impossible task of finding safety and working out who he can trust.

The action crackles throughout this book, and even in the “quieter” moments of the story the still moves on at an exciting pace.  Mystery and intrigue lurk in the shadows, the setting of Blitz London makes this wonderfully intense as events taking place provide great cover for some of the goings on in this story.  The way in which the settings are described is skilfully done, the reader can conjure vivid images of the the locations mentioned in the book, and I particularly liked the descriptions of the school that Will ends up at, my imagination was happily wandering down corridors.

The characters in this are so well fleshed out, Will granted is a little enigma, his amnesia making him a potentially unreliable narrator, but nonetheless he is still very interesting, and a character that readers will feel drawn to.  Whether readers are a fan of his action packed assassin skills or feel sympathetic to his remorse towards the casualties that occur along the way, this is a well created persona that draws the audience in.

Although this book is aimed towards a Young Adult audience, I think it would be a hit with many fans of action thrillers, there is certainly enough in the plot to entertain most fans and the ending sets things up perfectly for another instalment.

My thanks to Emily Glenister at The Dome Press for a copy of this book to read and review.

You can buy a copy of “Sleeper” via:

Amazon
Wordery
The Book Depository


Author Feature:

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J.D. was born in Belfast at the start of the Troubles, and began writing stories at a young age to help understand the madness unfolding around him. A lover of reading, he devoured a diverse range of books – his early influences include Fleming, Tolkien, Shakespeare and the Brontës.

He left Belfast at the age of nineteen and worked as a chef, bartender, waiter and later began a career in writing for the software industry.

These days he divides his time between Brighton and London, where he lives with his partner and their two dogs.

 

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

I love being “in the zone” of writing a book, where, on a daily basis, I can slip from reality and into the head of someone else in another world or time. That is the gift of writing.

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

My least favourite thing about being a writer is that I don’t have a magical time stopping device that would allow me the luxury of banging out all the ideas that are whirling around in my head  on or ahead of schedule.

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

There are so many, however, my choice is The North Water, by Ian McGuire. This book is a disturbing, fast-paced tale of an ill-fated Yorkshire whaling ship bound for the Arctic Circle. It is the story of Patrick Summer, an Irish ex-army doctor with a broken reputation, and the brutal and bloodthirsty, Henry Drax. The story builds to a gripping confrontation between the two men against the backdrop of a bleak Arctic landscape. Full of surprises, and wonderfully written, I absolutely wished I had written this book.

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

I am not one of those authors that makes a living from writing, so I have a day job, which takes up a lot of my time and headspace. Out of work, I read as much fiction as I can and always have a book to hand. I also love to cook and travel.

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

I only write long hand for notes and post-its. I can pretty much write anywhere, however, I normally do so in the morning, sometimes starting as early as 6 am. I work in my kitchen, sitting at the kitchen table overlooking the garden. I have no rituals as such. However if I walk in to find unwashed dishes, then I won’t be able to write until everything has been cleaned and tidied. It’s like I am shifting the clutter from my head and clearing a path for the next block of words.  Come evening time, if my brain is not fried, then I will squeeze out more words.

 

A huge thank you to J.D. Fennell for joining me today and sharing a little more about himself and his writing process, there’s always dishes to be done in this house so feel free to bring your marigolds!

For more information about this author and his fantastic book check out his website https://www.sleeperbook.com/ or follow him on Twitter @jd_fennell

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If you are an independent publisher or author and would like to feature on “Celebrating Indie Publishing” Friday please get in touch – email and twitter links are on the “About Me & Review Policy” page

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Hello and happy Friday!
Welcome along to another post to “Celebrate Indie Publishing” , the publisher this week is Urbane Publications, and the book being featured is “The Secret Wound” by Deirdre Quiery.


Book Feature:

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Published: 9th June 2017

Description:

Deirdre Quiery’s follow up to the critical success of Eden Burning, The Secret Wound draws the reader into a complex web of relationships within the ex-pat community in Mallorca, discovering their dangerous secrets…and a potential murderer in their midst. One of their number carries a dark and deadly secret from their past, and has murderous plans for a fellow ex-pat. Can any of the close- knit community discover the brutal plans before they are all put in mortal danger? Deirdre Quiery’s gripping thriller is not just an addictive page turner, but provides a compelling exploration of human emotion and desires, and the terrible costs of jealousy and ambition. Perfect for fans of Jane Corry and Amanda Brooke.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

The idea of “The Secret Wound” intrigued me from the outset, it’s a book that holds a multitude of secrets but also heavily features the theme of forgiveness and the idea of finding oneself.  Sounds like quite a lot in one book doesn’t it?  But somehow Deirdre Quiery pulls it off.

We first meet Gurtha who is struggling with the loss of his mother Nuala, her murder leaving him confused and questioning the meaning of life.  On the advice of family friends he heads to Mallorca to take time away from his responsibilities, to try and find himself and more importantly find the answers that make up the meaning of life.  It is during Gurtha’s  day stay in Mallorca that the tale of “The Secret Wound” unfolds and we see things are not as they first seemed.  That’s all I want to say about the plot, otherwise I might give something away!

Beautifully vivid descriptions of settings really bring this book to life, small details about Gurtha sitting in on the bed and hearing the bells of  the sheep on the mountain side, the noise of the birds combine with the description of  La Torretta to conjure a vivid and atmospheric image in my head.  Even descriptions of the sky are wonderfully poetic “The sky was a flowing emerald with streaks of ruby.  Golden light reflected onto the waves, twisting in turquoise and yellow hues into waves which looked like molten olive branches.” Beautifully flowing descriptions transport the reader into another world.

There is a thought provoking quality to this, indeed Gurtha’s realisation “human beings do have a conscience and it will triumph in the end” leads him to think that living a simple life will be more fulfilling and rewarding, that he would be best relying on a moral compass in life.  The way that Nuala lived her life also gives pause for thought, highly thought of for the best of reasons – knowing when to speak up and when not, not judging people but knowing the right thing to do, being content with what you have and enjoying life to the fullest.  I can’t help but wonder if we all were a little more like Nuala there might be less unhappiness around.

You can buy a copy of “The Secret Wound” directly from directly from Urbane Publications here, or alternatively via  Amazon UK | Book Depository


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If you are an independent publisher or author and would like to feature on “Celebrating Indie Publishing” Friday please get in touch – email and twitter links are on the “About Me & Review Policy” page.

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It’s Friday!  And that means that it’s time for celebrate another book from an independent publisher, this time the book in the spotlight is “Underneath” by Anne Goodwin.  I am also very grateful to Anne for taking the time to stop by to share some more about herself in the wee author feature that runs alongside the review of her second novel.


Book Feature:

Description:

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He never intended to be a jailer …

After years of travelling, responsible to no-one but himself, Steve has resolved to settle down. He gets a job, buys a house and persuades Liesel to move in with him.

Life’s perfect, until Liesel delivers her ultimatum: if he won’t agree to start a family, she’ll have to leave. He can’t bear to lose her, but how can he face the prospect of fatherhood when he has no idea what being a father means? If he could somehow make her stay, he wouldn’t have to choose … and it would be a shame not to make use of the cellar.

Will this be the solution to his problems, or the catalyst for his own unravelling?

 

My Thoughts & Review:

“Underneath” is the second book written  by Anne Goodwin, her first being “Sugar and Snails”.  I have to admit that when I saw the cover of this book I was instantly drawn to it, it looks so rich and intriguing and is utterly beguiling.

The plot follows a character called Steve who had a win in the lottery and decided to take off travelling around the world, and it is upon his return that we meet him.  Years of travelling have left him looking to lay down roots and so when he meets a new friend he invites her along to view prospective properties with him before finding a home that fits him perfectly.  Steve’s friendship with Liesel quickly blossoms into a love affair, but Liesel holds different views to Steve when it comes to their relationship, preferring to remain independent where she can without being tied down.  They create a happy home together, although Liesel is less keen on the underground cellar than Steve but he decorates it and is determined to put it to good use.

Both Steve and Liesel have had damaging childhoods, both having lost parents at a young age they share the experiences of unhappiness and loss.  It becomes clear that their childhoods have caused a lasting impact upon them, but damage has been done and left them mentally scarred.  Through flashbacks to Steve’s childhood the reader is privy to the bullying that he faced as well as being dominated by his older twin sisters.
I can’t say that I felt any liking or sympathy towards either of the main characters, their actions felt cold and sometimes weren’t the easiest to comprehend and on the most part both Steve and Liesel were very difficult to relate to.  I do appreciate the time and hard work that an author invests when creating characters, it cannot be easy to craft a character that is detached and “just out of reach” for readers.

Overall, I would say that this is a good but slow burn sort of read, this is not an action packed thriller that many readers might prefer.  The writing is good, very detailed and well thought out, but the timeline or lack thereof did leave me a little confused at times.  With no chapters, this book is broken into six parts which jump between present day and past events.  The shifting timeline did make it hard to keep track of events but I do think this worked here, adding a questioning sense of whether events happened as we perceived.

You can buy a copy of “Underneath” via:

Amazon
Wordery
The Book Depository


Author Feature:

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Like Steve, Anne Goodwin used to like to travel, but now she prefers to stay at home and do her travelling in her head. Like Liesel, she’s worked in mental health services, where her focus, as a clinical psychologist, was on helping people tell their neglected stories to themselves. Now that her short fiction publication count has overtaken her age, her ambition is to write and publish enough novels to match her shoe size. Underneath is her second novel; her first, Sugar and Snails, was shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize. Anne lives in the East Midlands and is a member of Nottingham Writers’ Studio.

Catch up on her website: annethology (http://annegoodwin.weebly.com/) or on Twitter @Annecdotist.

 

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

I like almost everything about it (apart from my least favourite thing) but I particularly relish those moments of connection, both in the sense of the ideas that come to me in the process of writing and rewriting which I know will make the story stronger and when a reader lets me know post-publication that stuff I’ve made up has resonated for them in some way. (I also like long sentences but am trying to wean myself off them.)

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

No-one likes rejections, not even those militantly optimistic writers who claim to celebrate them as evidence they’ve at least tried, but rejections do get easier the more acceptances you also have. And I’m sometimes irritated – by which I mean envious – at the huge gap between the promotion opportunities for “celebrity” writers and for those, like me, published by a small independent press.

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

That’s a difficult question, because there are so many. But today I’ll pick Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk about Kevin because it’s a deservedly popular book about serious issues in which she manages to sustain the suspense even when (you think) you know the ending. And also because I’m interested in the theme of problematic mothering, and how it’s repeated across generations, which is one of the themes of my novel, Underneath.

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

Having retired now from my profession life as a clinical psychologist, when not writing I spend my time singing in a mixed voice choir, battling the slugs in my vegetable plot and walking in the Peak District National Park (which is also great for “writing” or puzzling over plot problems in my head, unless I’m on duty as a volunteer Ranger). I also read voraciously – well over 100 novels a year – which I think is essential for any writer.

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

With severe chronic repetitive strain injury, I have a love-hate relationship with the voice recognition software that mediates between my mind and the screen. A sense of humour is essential, as it’s rather like having a toddler in my laptop. Because other sounds would reduce the accuracy, I can’t work with background music, but I prefer quiet anyway. I tend to avoid working in the evenings as it makes it even harder to switch off my brain when I go to bed.

A huge thank you to Anne for taking part in the author feature and telling us a little about herself.   If you would like to know more about Anne and her writing, you can contact her via her website: annethology (http://annegoodwin.weebly.com/)

 

 

The blog tour for “Underneath” is currently visiting several blogs, why not stop by some of the hosting blog for reviews and guest posts:

blog tour 25 May to 10 June

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Hello and happy Friday!  And you all know what Friday brings, yes,  its time to share another post to celebrate Indie Publishing and this time it’s Elliott & Thompson in the spotlight!   Today I have a review of “Worth Dying For: The Power and Politics of Flags” by Tim Marshall.


Description:

9781783963034_0

When you see your nation’s flag fluttering in the breeze, what do you feel?

For thousands of years flags have represented our hopes and dreams. We wave them. Burn them. March under their colours. And still, in the 21st century, we die for them. Flags fly at the UN, on the Arab street, from front porches in Texas. They represent the politics of high power as well as the politics of the mob.

From the renewed sense of nationalism in China, to troubled identities in Europe and the USA, to the terrifying rise of Islamic State, the world is a confusing place right now and we need to understand the symbols, old and new, that people are rallying round.

In nine chapters (covering the USA, UK, Europe, Middle East, Asia, Africa, Latin America, international flags and flags of terror), Tim Marshall draws on more than twenty-five years of global reporting experience to reveal the histories, the power and the politics of the symbols that unite us – and divide us.

My Thoughts & Review:

“Worth Dying For” is an interesting book which presents the history and ideologies behind a variety of flags.

The chapter on the Union Jack was particular interesting, it is a flag that I am so accustomed to seeing but have never really given much consideration towards its complicated history and so found this to be an enlightening and informative.
The political overtones of the flags within Europe and the Balkans make for fascinating reading, giving pause for thought at some of the discoveries made.  Flags of Revolution is an intriguing chapter and one I will most definitely do some further reading on.   What I like about this book is the fact that it plants the seeds of thought in the brain of the reader, imploring them to read on and find out more or to check out the additional sources of information mentioned in the bibliography.

Whilst this is not an all inclusive reference book to all flags it is still informative and fascinating.  The writing is clear and concise, Marshall demonstrates his knowledge well and the interjection of humour and wit adds light relief and entertainment for the audience.
I do feel that this is perhaps a book that is best read in chunks as opposed to reading in one sitting.  I certainly found that I took more from this when dipping in and out of it.

You can buy a copy of “Worth Dying For: The Power and Politics of Flags” via:

Amazon
Wordery
The Book Depository

My thanks to Elliott & Thompson, especially Alison Menzies for sending me a copy of this book to read and enjoy.

About the Author:

Tim Marshall is a leading authority on foreign a­ffairs with more than twenty-five years of reporting experience. He was diplomatic editor at Sky News, and before that was working for the BBC and LBC/IRN radio. He has reported from forty countries and covered conflicts in Croatia, Bosnia,  Macedonia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Israel. He is the author of the Sunday Times bestseller Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps that Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Global Politics; “Dirty Northern B*st*rds!” and Other Tales from the Terraces: The Story of Britain’s Football Chants; and Shadowplay: The Overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic (a bestseller in former Yugoslavia). He has written for­ The Times, Sunday Times, Guardian, Independent and Daily Telegraph, and his blog Foreign Matters was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize 2010. He is founder and editor of the current a­ffairs site TheWhatandtheWhy.com.

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