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Posts Tagged ‘Urbane Publications’

Today I am delighted to share a review of a book that’s the second in a series that I discovered by chance last year.  Rose Gold is the follow up to Blue Gold which I reviewed back in May 2017 and follows on the story of Sim Atkins in a futuristic Earth where water has become a resource to go to war over, a mining base has been set up on the moon.

Rose Gold was published by Urbane Publications on 10th May 2018 and is available to purchase now.


Book Feature:

Description:

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Rose Gold is the thrilling sequel to the bestselling Blue Gold.

 

In the aftermath of a world war for water, geopolitical tensions remain high and terrorism is a daily fact of life in the 2030s. But a mining base on the moon offers a rare example of international co-operation and a possible solution to the world’s energy problems. Yet not everyone on Earth is keen for this endeavour to succeed…

Sim Atkins and his wife are desperate to start a family. But a shocking message from the moon base tells Sim that he is already a father and that his son’s life is in danger. The mining station is full of suspects and, worse, the woman who fathered his child. Can Sim rescue his son and save his marriage?

Gopal and Rabten – the Gurkha and monk who helped Sim on his last assignment – are on the trail of terrorists and a giant airship. What the agents discover in the cargo hold makes Sim’s mission even more vital. When they get trapped, Freda Brightwell – Sim’s old partner in Overseas Division – is called out of retirement for one more mission.

Once again, corporate greed threatens the lives of millions. Overseas Divisions finest are back at the sharp end. And this time, the stakes are far more personal.

My Thoughts & Review:

When I found out that book two of this series was available to read early I jumped at the chance.  David Barker had cruelly included an extract of this book at the back of Blue Gold that had me desperate to find out what happened next for the main character Sim and I really, really needed to know where this series was going to go next after the shocking revelations uncovered.  Thankfully this book didn’t disappoint and I soon found that once I was curled up with this book I quickly shut off from the outside world around me and was fully immersed in the thrilling action that took place on the pages.

For those who have read Blue Gold, this is a continuation of the series and goes on to give a glimpse into Sim’s life upon his return to North Scotland, before he’s pulled back into the clutches of a government department that urgently needs his help.
I guess you could maybe read this without having read the previous book, there is detail given as to who people are, the backstories between them to give readers a grounding of how things are connected, but I do think that this series works best as read in order.

This is an intelligently written novel that oozes detail and tension.  The plotting is superb, and pace is perfectly matched to the storyline.  There is an underlying menace keeps the pace of this punchy and sharp, and like the main character, readers don’t quite know who is behind the dangerous plot that threatens the lives of many.
It was nice to see the reappearance of Frida Brightwell after her retirement from active duty.  Such a strong character that I loved meeting in the first book, although I did miss her movie quotes, it was entertaining to see her TV series recommendation to Sim in light of his mission to the moon.  Seeing her back in action when she goes to rescue Gopal and Rabten when their mission goes wrong is thrilling and ultimately one of my favourite parts of the book, and I really can’t wait to see what happens in the third book!

Now the impatient wait for the next instalment ….

 

You can buy a copy of Rose Gold via:

Amazon UK

 

About the Author:david_barker-745x1024

David was born in Cheshire but now lives in Berkshire. He is married to an author of children’s picture books, with a daughter who loves stories. His working life has been spent in the City, first for the Bank of England and now as Chief Economist for an international fund. So his job entails trying to predict the future all the time. David’s writing ambitions received a major boost after he attended the Faber Academy six-month course in 2014 and he still meets up with his inspirational fellow students. He loves reading, especially adventure stories, sci-fi and military history. Outside of family life, his other interests include tennis, golf and surfing. Rose Gold, sequel to Blue Gold, publishes spring 2018.

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It’s Friday, so that means it’s time to celebrate another independently published author and their book.  Today’s book in the spotlight is The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter written by Cherry Radford.  It was published by Urbane Publications on 5th April 2018 and is available to purchase now.


Book Feature

Description:

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After the break-up of her marriage, Imogen escapes to her aunt’s converted lighthouse on Beachy Head. Writing for a tedious online magazine but hoping to start a novel, she wants to be alone until she finds an entrancing flamenco CD in her borrowed car and contacts the artist via Twitter. It turns out that actor-musician Santiago needs help with English, and is soon calling her profesora.

Through her window, the other lighthouse winks at her across the sea. The one where her father was a keeper, until he mysteriously drowned there in 1982. Her aunt is sending extracts from his diary, and Imogen is intrigued to learn that, like her and Santi, her father had a penfriend.

Meanwhile, despite their differences Imogen is surrounded by emotional and geographical barriers, Santi surrounded by family and land-locked Madrid their friendship develops. So, she reads, did her father’s but shocking revelations cause Imogen to question whether she ever really knew him.

Two stories of communication: the hilarious mistakes, the painful misunderstandings, and the miracle or tragedy of finding someone out there with whom you have an unforeseen, irresistible connection.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter is a unique book that opens with a wonderful playlist of tracks to play whilst reading the book, giving the reader a glimpse of the important role that music plays.  The connection of music is what draws two characters together, one a musician in Madrid and the other a journalist/author in Beachy Head.  The discovery of a CD in a borrowed car leading to a friendship between the two and setting off a chain of events that lead to self discoveries and uncover long buried secrets.

Imogen has sought the sanctuary of her aunt’s lighthouse following the break up of her marriage, relishing the peace and tranquility that the remote setting offers her, despite missing her teenage son terribly.  However, her sadness is only magnified when you realise that the lighthouse she is staying in has another in it’s view, the one that her father worked at and subsequently lost his life at.
The backdrop of the setting is poetically offset with the struggles that Imogen has to work through.  Heartache is something that Imogen has experienced before, but the diary extracts she reads from her father rock her and throw her into a deeper turmoil.

Musician and actor Santiago Montoya in Madrid is working on a soap opera and not able to spend as much time working on his music as he’d like, his band no longer performing.  He begins learning English in the hopes that it might open new opportunities up for him in his career and is one day surprised when a tweet comes from a woman in England saying how much she connected with this music, how it made her feel alive, made her “feel”.

Their connection through Twitter is like the beginnings of a modern day love story, social media linking them from one country to another.  Imogen’s personality shines through her messages to Santiago, her chatty happiness positively glows from the pages.   The easiness of their friendship makes for enjoyable reading, the budding friendship between them grows, Imogen helping Santi with his English and he in turn helping her with her Spanish.

The story of Imogen’s father is one that slowly unravels throughout the book, and one that I found I was desperately hooked upon, wanting to discover what drove him to take the course of action he decided upon.  The diary extracts give a great insight into the mind of her father, and an alternative view to Imogen of events from her childhood.

Themes of relationships and emotion are a huge part of the plot, this is a book that takes readers on a journey along with the characters.
Vivid descriptions of the settings help to transport the readers, from the rocky, windswept Beachy Head to the sunny and continental Madrid.

An enjoyable escape.

You can buy a copy of The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter via:

Amazon UK

 


Author Feature:

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Cherry Radford was a keyboard player in a band, a piano teacher at the Royal Ballet School and an optometrist/post-doctoral researcher at Moorfields Eye Hospital before suddenly starting her first novel in the middle of a scientific conference in 2009.

Following the publication of Men Dancing (2011) and Flamenco Baby (2013) by a small Brighton-based independent, The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter is her first novel with Urbane Publications.

Cherry lives in Eastbourne and Almería (Spain).

She chats about writing and other passions on her BLA BLA LAND blog (https://cherryradforddotblog.wordpress.com), Twitter (@CherryRad), Instagram (cherry_radford) and website (http://cherryradford.co.uk).

 

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

My favourite thing is being immersed in the world of my novel, particularly in the last few chapters. At that point, I’m way past the dreadful 25K doubting stage, I’ve come through the plot-tangling developments, and I pretty much know how it’s going to end – but love watching how the characters take over and decide the final details. This isn’t the favourite thing for people around me, however; apparently, I behave like a woman in that antsy stage of labour, and… well, on all three occasions I’ve been encouraged to book into a hotel!

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

Although I love Twitter, Instagram and running my BLA BLA LAND blog, I have far too many technotantrums about things like managing photos, uploading stuff and trying to figure out how the hell Goodreads works.

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

I love unusual romances that are written for both men and women – what I call People Fiction as opposed to Women’s Fiction. It would have to be one of the stellar examples, such as Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife. I am totally in awe of that novel.

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

If I’m not plotting, I’m researching, writing or editing a novel – or possibly two of these, on different novels! I’m always reading something – a novel or some non-fiction for research – but spend far too much time Tweeting and Instagramming with all sorts of wonderful people e.g. other authors, flamenco musicians and an engineer who goes around the country fixing lighthouses! I try to swim or walk each day (both great for ideas), and two afternoons a week I have my lovely piano pupils.

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

Oh yes. I developed stationeryphilia through years of doing scientific research, and this condition was easily transferred to my writing when I started it nearly ten years ago. I have to write in pocket-size elasticated leather notebooks you can stick a (colour-matched, Pentel) biro into. The sight of a white screen page makes me nervous; I’m much happier scribbling by hand and later filtering as I transfer to the laptop. It also stops me fussing about word count, which I think is a daft way of measuring progress (does a painter count how many tubes of paint he’s using up?). It’s getting through the chapters that counts –  and not irritating readers by having too many words in them. I’m a recumbent writer – bed, sun-lounger or beach rug – but always get my break-through ideas when in the bath or swimming.

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

More seaside! I’m writing a saga about a family who own a pier, starting in 1930. At least, I hope I am; I’m still in the dreadful doubting stage.

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

Put down the phone and read – there are so many great novels out there, and only one lifetime to read them in!

Social Media Links:

Blog: https://cherryradforddotblog.wordpress.com)
Twitter: @CherryRad
Instagram: cherry_radford
Website: http://cherryradford.co.uk

 

 

 

 

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Today on The Quiet Knitter I am so pleased to share a review of a book from Urbane Publications.  Today the book in the spotlight is Spanish Crossings by John Simmons.


Book Feature:

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Spanish Crossings is an epic tale of love, politics and conflict, with the yearning but elusive possibility of redemption. A woman’s life has been cast in shadow by her connection to the Spanish Civil War. We meet Lorna in Spain, 1937 as she falls in love with Harry, a member of the International Brigade who had been at Guernica when it was bombed. Harry is then killed in the fighting and Lorna fears she might have lost her best chance of happiness. Can she fill the void created by Harry’s death by helping the child refugees of the conflict? She finds a particular connection to one boy, Pepe, and as he grows up below the radar of the authorities in England their lives become increasingly intertwined. But can Lorna rely on Pepe as he remains deeply pulled towards the homeland and family that have been placed beyond his reach? Coming through the war, then the post-war rebuilding, Lorna and Pepe’s relationship will be tested by their tragic and emotive history.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

Spanish Crossings is the first book I’ve read by John Simmons and I can safely say that it won’t be the last.  Simmons has a natural gift when it comes to storytelling which makes his books a real treat to read.  The detail in this is wonderful, it’s clear that so much research has gone into the writing of this book, the story that has been written around the events of the Spanish Civil War is truly remarkable and deserves to be appreciated.

The death of Harry leaves Lorna devastated, their lives together cruelly cut short when he is killed fighting in Spain.  Although they had just met, Lorna feels bereft, he was her first love, albeit a brief one.
Life takes on a new meaning for Lorna when she ‘adopts’ a Spanish child evacuated to the safety of England from his homeland.  She finds hope in her friendship with Pepe, a focus for her grief.   However, Pepe misses home, and his love of Spain does not diminish with either the passing of time or the distance between him and his beloved homeland.

There is so much more to this book that just the plot, which I am loathe to say too much about.  There are subtleties in the writing that make the story to poignant and moving, the descriptive quality of the writing is spellbinding.  I could feel the tension and fear, I could smell the smokey aftermath of the doodlebug attack in London, the way that this was so detailed just elevated this to another level.  The characters are engaging and vividly interesting, and will stay with you after you’ve finished reading.  I admit to having little knowledge of the Spanish Civil war prior to reading this book, but felt compelled to read up on it and find out more after reading this book.

Historical fiction that stands out from the crowd!

You can buy a copy of Spanish Crossings via:

Amazon UK

 

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Today on The Quiet Knitter I am so pleased to share a book from the brilliant Urbane Publications, a publisher who puts wonderful books into the hands and hearts of readers.  Today the book in the spotlight is The Trouble Boys, and I am honoured to have a short interview with the author E.R. Fallon to share with you too.


Book Feature:

Description:

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The Godfather meets Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, but with Gaelic complications, in E.R.Fallon’s thrilling new novel.

Trouble Boys is an historical crime novel about the Irish mob in New York City from the 1930s to the 1950s.
The story opens in pre-WWII Europe when young Irish immigrant Colin O’Brien settles with his family in New York City. There Colin befriends a Cuban-American boy named Johnny Garcia. Life in America isn’t what Colin’s family expects and he experiences a shocking tragedy that alters his life. As Johnny and Colin grow into men, their friendship changes.

They begin working for different crime syndicates, with Colin joining the ranks of charismatic Tom McPhalen’s Irish mob and Johnny becoming a member of debonair Tito Bernal’s Cuban gang. As Colin’s rise in the ranks of organized crime becomes increasingly more brutal and demeaning and his friendship with Johnny deteriorates, he begins to question his place in the seductive yet violent world he’s found himself in.

My Thoughts & Review:

I’ve been sticking to local settings with my crime reading lately, but this book sounded too good not to read.  There’s just something that grabs my attention with a mob setting, perhaps it harks back to the days of reading The Godfather and other works of Mario Puzo, but I just had a feeling that I needed to pick this book up and read it.

The book opens with young Colin O’Brien and his family in Ireland, but the O’Brien family are soon on their travels and emigrate to America, the land of opportunity….the land of the free….or so they think.  Life isn’t as grand as Colin and his siblings had hoped, and certainly there seems to be less happiness and joy than there was back home.  One thing’s for sure though, Colin makes a friend in Johnny, another outsider in the immigrant community and it is this friendship that proves to be one of the stable factors in Colin’s life when things begin to go wrong.
The friendship between Colin and Johnny is so important, their shared adolescence in the grim setting is one that sets the tone for their later lives, each of them has to decide on showing loyalty to their own kind or being loyal to their family.

The mob connections that run through the plot of this book are so tantalisingly thrilling, the danger that emanates from characters pulses from the pages, the uncertainty of the danger posed by some characters makes this such an atmospheric read and when coupled with the wonderfully descriptive settings this becomes such an immersive read.

You can buy a copy of The Trouble Boys via:

Amazon UK
Wordery

Author Feature:

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ER Fallon spent a lot of her life in and around NYC and knows well the gritty city streets of which she write, with first-hand knowledge of the localized crime world through family. She studied criminology in college and was mentored by a leading advocate for the family members of homicide victims. She has been the recipient of writing awards and has published several stories with crime elements, including two Amazon bestselling novels. The New York Times bestselling author Da Chen has said the author writes the kind of stories that ‘we stay up all night to finish.

 

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

Hearing that someone enjoyed reading my book.

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

Self-editing a first draft of a manuscript.

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

The Remains of the Day because of its lyrical writing and intelligent storyline.

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

I try to spend as much time outdoors as possible when I’m not working.

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

I like to write in the evenings, as that is usually when I have the most time, sometimes with music, sometimes without, but always with a cup of coffee close by.

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

I’m making progress on another historical gangland book that takes place in a very different setting. I hope to finish it in 2018.

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

The only thing you need to accomplish something is belief in yourself.

 

My thanks to E.R. Fallon for taking some time out to join me today and share a little about herself, I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Trouble Boys and am looking forward to finding out more about her current project.

 

 

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Today for Celebrating Indie Publishing I thought I would do something different, instead of reviewing a book I’ve decided to do a round up of the brilliant books and authors who help to make Urbane Publications so special.

It’s been an honour to work with such fantastic publishers and authors over the course of this year, and without them this feature would never have been possible!  So on that note, I’d like to take a wee moment to say “Thank You” to each of the publishers and authors who have taken part in this feature, who have kindly filled in the Q&A form that I sent out, have written guest posts or have kindly sent copies of books for me to read and review – your support has been invaluable and I truly appreciate you all!

Now on to something less gushy eh?

Here’s some of the books from Urbane Publications that have featured on The Quiet Knitter this year:

Reviews of each book can be found by following these links:

The Gift Maker by Mark Mayes
Seeking Eden by Beverly Harvey
The Scarlet Coven by David Stuart Davies
Beware The Cuckoo by Julie Newman
The Secret Wound by Deirdre Quiery
Imperfection by Ray Clark
All The Colours In Between by Eva  Jordan

I’ve also been lucky enough to chat with some of the wonderful authors published by Urbane Publications, their interviews can be found following the links above.  Some of the names include Lloyd Otis, Mark Pepper, Sophie Jonas-Hill, Simon Michael, James Silvester, David Gaffney and Rose McGinty.

There have been some amazing books published by these guys this year, some of the books I’ve read outwith this feature have utterly entranced me, some have stolen a place in my heart (Electric Souk is one that I fell in love with when I read it and might never have discovered it had it not been for this feature).

I hope that Celebrating Indie Publishing has helped you find some great new books to try this year, or perhaps opened your eyes to other books that you might have missed.  It’s certainly been a blast for me and I’ve loved every moment of it!

 

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** My thanks to the wonderful Abby and Urbane Publications for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

Blood Rites is a Northern thriller set in Huddersfield, Yorkshire in the 1980s featuring Detective Inspector Paul Snow. DI Paul Snow has a personal secret. He is a homosexual but is desperate to keep it secret, knowing it would finish his career in the intolerant police force of the time. As this personal drama unfolds, he is involved in investigating a series of violent murders. All the victims appear to be chosen at random and to have no connection with each other. After the fourth murder, Snow is removed from the case for not finding the killer but continues investigating the matter privately. Gradually, Paul manages to determine a link between the murder victims, but this places his own life in great danger. Can Paul unmask the killer as he wrestles with his own demons?

My Thoughts & Review:

I should admit that I picked up Blood Rites without having read any of the previous books in the series featuring DI Paul Snow, and this read well as a stand alone novel.

So where to begin, well for a start the setting of the book caught my eye.  Set in 1985 Yorkshire this book jumped out at me, so too did the fact that DI Snow is a high ranking police officer with a secret that could ruin his career and life if discovered, his sexuality.   The rife homophobia at the time makes it impossible for Snow to live his life openly as a gay man, indeed the institution he works for is a hotbed of prejudice and hatred towards homosexuals and so he lives a lie, courting a local headmistress from an all girls Catholic school.
Snow’s struggles are so well written and I almost found that I was reading these passages with more interest that the crime aspect itself.  It was so thought provoking following the development of this character through his worries and thoughts.

The case of the murderer is intriguing, and the characters in this book are complex and really get under the skin of readers, and just when you think you know where it’s going the author throws in a twist that will keep you on your toes.  Whilst there seems to be less focus on the procedural side of this crime novel, it does work and makes for an enjoyable read.  Perhaps not the fastest paced crime novel but impressive nonetheless.

You can buy a copy of Blood Rites via:

Amazon UK
Urbane Publications
Wordery
Book Depository

BANNER blogtourBLOODRITES(1)

 

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Hello, it’s Friday and that means it’s time for a post to “Celebrate Indie Publishing”, the publisher this week is Urbane Publications, the book being featured is All The Colours In Between by Eva Jordan, a thoroughly moving and wonderful book that deserves to be loved and read by all.

I also have the lovely Lloyd Otis in the hot seat for the author feature, his debut Dead Lands was published in October 2017.


Book Feature:

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Eva Jordan’s much-anticipated follow up to the bestselling 183 Times a Year It’s not a life, it’s an adventure!

Lizzie is fast approaching 50. Her once angst ridden teenage daughters, now grown and in their twenties, have flown the nest, Cassie to London and Maisy to Australia. And, although Connor, Lizzie’s sulky, surly teenage son,is now on his own tormented passage to adulthood, his quest to get there, for the most part, is a far quieter journey than that of his sisters. The hard years, Lizzie believes, are behind her.

Embracing her new career as a writer; divorce, money worries and the constant battle to weather the stormy complexities of the blended family, are all but a distant memory. It’s time for Lizzie to focus on herself for a change. Stepdaughter Maisy is embracing life down under and daughter Cassie is working for a famous record producer in London. Lizzie’s only concern, albeit a mild one, is for the arrested development of her Facebook-Tweeting, Snapchatting, music and mobile phone obsessed, teenage son. With communication skills, more akin to an intermittent series of unintelligible grunts, conversation is futile. However, Lizzie is not particularly perturbed. With deadlines to meet and book tours to attend, Lizzie has other distractions to concentrate on. But all in all, life is good. Life is very good.

Only, things are never quite as black and white as they seem…

A visit to her daughter in London leaves Lizzie troubled. Cassie is still the same incessant chattering Queen of malaprops and spoonerisms she ever was, however something is clouding her normally cheery disposition. Not to mention her extreme weight loss. And that is just the start. Add to that an unexpected visitor, a disturbing phone call, a son acting suspiciously, a run in with her ex husband and a new man in her life who quite simply takes her breath away; Lizzie quickly realises life is something that happens while plans are being made.

Harsh but tender, thought provoking but light-hearted, dark but brilliantly funny, this is a story of contemporary family life in all its 21st century glory. A story of mothers and sons, of fathers and daughters, of brothers and sisters, and friends. A tale of love and loss, of friendships and betrayals and a tale of coming of age and end of life. Nobody said it would be easy and as Lizzie knows only too well, life is never straightforward when you see all the colours in between.

My Thoughts & Review:

After falling in love with Eva Jordan’s writing with her debut novel 183 Times a Year, I was ecstatic to learn she had penned a follow up that would see me catching up with Lizzie and Cassie again, but I wasn’t prepared for the raft of emotions I would feel reading this and a huge hat tip to Eva for her superb writing for turning me into a blubbering wreck.

So where to begin…..even just thinking back to this book catches my breath and reminds me of some of the most inspired and moving narrative I’d read lately.
Right, so, time has moved on from where we left Lizzie in the previous book, she’s now concentrating on her writing career and careering towards the big Five Oh, her daughter Cassie is off to London, her son Connor is exactly what you would expect from a teenager and Maisy, her stepdaughter is in Australia with her partner.  For once, life seems to be settled and everyone knows what they’re doing…..or so it would seem.  Poor Lizzie is never one for a quiet and easy life, and sure enough life finds a way to complicate itself.

Poor Lizzie, my heart goes out to her, she is a parent who wants the best for her kids.  And as most parents will agree, no matter the age of your children, they are still your babies and you will care about them and want the best for them whether they are 5 or 45.  And this applies to Lizzie and Cassie.
Cassie has a secret and despite wanting to give her her independence, Lizzie also wants to help her daughter with whatever it is that’s bothering her.
Connor is a character I could not help but like, despite his moody teenage ways he’s lovely.  All too often we forget what it’s like to be on the brink of growing up, shaking off the shell of childhood and stepping into the new adult world and I think that Eva Jordan has written Conner perfectly.  The narration from his perspective felt authentic.

When it comes to the plot, I will say that this is a book to read with a box of tissues near by.  As I mentioned above, I ended up a blubbering mess reading parts of this book.  At points I didn’t even realise there were tears streaming down my face, so strong was the emotional pull of the story and the characters.  That said, there were also bits in the book where I laughed and smiled, it’s a book that really has the whole gamut of emotion woven throughout.

If you’ve not read either of Eva’s books then I wholeheartedly recommend you do, and whilst I think that All The Colours In Between can be read as a stand alone, why deprive yourself?  Go on, spoil yourself to two new books and get lost in some exquisite writing.

 

You can buy your copy of All The Colours In Between via:

Amazon UK
Urbane Publications
Wordery
Book Depository


Author Feature:

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Lloyd was born in London and graduated in Media and Communication. An avid movie fan, he wrote film reviews for his university magazine and enjoyed a stint in a television production company where he helped with props and scripts. He went on to write reviews for music sites, including ilikemusic, and after gaining several years of valuable experience within the finance and digital sectors, completed a course in journalism.

Under the pen name of ‘Paige’ he has interviewed a host of bestselling authors, such as Mark Billingham, Hugh Howey, Kerry Hudson, and Lawrence Block, and has blogged for The Bookseller, and The Huffington Post. He also wrote a regular book review column for WUWO Magazine and two of his short stories were selected for publication in the ‘Out of My Window’ anthology. He has also had articles appear on the Crime Readers’ Association website, and in the Writers’ Forum magazine. He currently works as an Editor.

 

 

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

For me, there are many favourite things about being an author such as publication day and seeing my book in a bookstore, but most of all it’s feeling like one. That’s awesome.

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

Having to do rewrites and edits with only a short time to implement them.

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

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger for its observations of a particular place and time, and Orwell’s 1984 for its amazing futuristic foresight.

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

I strum a few chords on the guitar when I can so that I’ll be able to solo like Slash one day and I also read a lot too. Fiction and non-fiction.

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

I tend to keep my stationary environment linear without too many distractions so that I can immerse myself fully into the story. Getting a consistent writing pattern is key for me and I can’t bear the thought of missing out on writing time if I am out and about, so I write on-the-move. On the bus or on the train.

 

A huge thank you to Lloyd for taking part and for sharing some more about himself, it’s always nice to get to know the person behind a book.  Especially when they’re a guitar playing rockstar – the book world’s answer to Slash perhaps?!  Love the idea that if you see Lloyd whilst he’s out he might be writing furiously on the train as an idea hits him for his next book!
If you would like to know more about Lloyd and his work, check out the following link:

Website: https://lloydotis.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/lloydotiswriter
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LloydOtisWriter

 

** My thanks to the ever wonderful Matthew Smith at Urbane Publications for my copy of this wonderful book and for taking part in Celebrating Indie Publishing **

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I am so excited to share a guest post with you today by Angelena Boden about the destructive grip of obsession as part of the blog tour for her latest book The Future Can’t Wait.

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The Future Can’t Wait is the emotive and compelling second novel from Angelena Boden, author of the gripping The Cruelty of Lambs.

Kendra Blackmore is trying to be a good mother and a good wife, as well as pursuing her pressurised teaching career. Then Kendra’s half-Iranian daughter Ariana (Rani) undergoes an identity crisis which results in her running away from home and cutting off all contact with her family.

Sick with worry and desperate to understand why her home-loving daughter would do this, Kendra becomes increasingly desperate for answers – and to find any way possible to discover the truth and bring her estranged daughter home…

The Future Can’t Wait is a gripping story of a mother’s love, and the lengths we would all go to in order to know our children are safe.

You can buy a copy of The Future Can’t Wait via:

Amazon UK
Urbane Publications


Guest Post:

THE DESTRUCTIVE GRIP OF OBSESSION (and the title of the book)

Many of us get mocked for having little rituals we carry out daily: checking the door to make sure it really is locked or the electric hob to test that all the rings are cold. My friend has to make a dramatic show of pulling out her iron from the socket to help manage her obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).  It’s a visualisation exercise in case you were wondering. When you’ve read this blog, have a cuppa and think about the rituals that shape your life.

Irrational thoughts flood our brain from time to time like when our child is late home. We can’t concentrate on anything other than ringing round their friends or zapping out numerous text messages Call me NOW. Really worried.

Is it only a certain type of person that becomes obsessive? No. It can happen to anyone in different forms. The most talked about is obsessive-compulsive hand-washing and cleaning. Think of the TV programmes featuring cleanaholics. No doubt you’ve wondered what drives someone to scrub their house for twelve hours a day.

In The Future Can’t Wait, Kendra becomes obsessive or even addicted to consulting psychics, triggered by a casual flick through a magazine. She’s a good example of a grounded personality who, in a time a deep distress, develops a set of behaviours to help cope with anxiety. It’s about taking back some control. Whilst research into the biological factors relating to the cause and development of OCD is ongoing, there is no definitive explanation as to why one person might become obsessive in their thinking and another not.

Anxiety is certainly a trigger and a driving force behind this distressing condition, which can affect relationships, work and everyday living, (think hoarders) and it is has been proposed that there might be some genetic link.

I can talk about this a little bit from a personal point of view as from time to time I get sucked into the vortex of rumination and nothing anyone can say will end it until it’s run its course, normally four days. I liken it to having your rational mind squeezed through a colander. Mine developed along with PTSD in the mid –nineties when I needed to regain some control over events that were spiralling out of control. Many anxiety-related disorders come from some sort of conflict – inner or outer. Thankfully many can be successfully treated.

To help manager her anxiety, although she did not realise this at the time, Kendra develops an obsession with her daily horoscope. Unlike most people who dismiss it as a bit of fun, she allows this multi-million pound industry of psychics and mediums to become her oracle. Operating from phone hotlines, they guarantee success from “genuine” psychics whilst milking enormous amounts of money from the gullible and desperate.

Some research coming out of the USA about this alarming phenomenon, indicates that psychic addiction is becoming an epidemic with no boundaries. Once someone gets drawn in they find it difficult to stop.

It becomes a problem is when you consult several people over a short period of time about the same issue. Psychic dependency is now classified as having more than two readings in the same year about the same issue i.e psychic hopping. The soothing words of the clairvoyant are a life line, hence the risk of addiction. As with a substance addiction, it is always about the next fix.

Maybe some of you lovely readers might want to debate the validity of psychics but that’s for another day. My issue is about how a well-balanced individuals can develop a behaviour addiction when desperate to solve a problem and its destructive nature. There are healthier avenues to explore. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for one.

I’ve heard it said from those who are the most susceptible is that the worst thing in life is the not knowing and the desperate need to bring the future forward. Hence the title of the book.

If you’ve been affected by any of the content of this blog, here are some sources of help.

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Cognitive-behavioural-therapy/Pages/Introduction.aspx

http://ocduk.org/

http://www.psychic-readings-guide.com/psychic-dependency/   Ignore the pop-ups from the sales peddlers.

NEW BANNER

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Hello and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Dead Lands, a trilling crime story set in the 1970s.  I am delighted to be able to share a guest post with you about the research behind the book so grab your cuppa and read on…..

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Description:

Dead Lands is a thrilling crime story set in the 1970s. When a woman’s body is found a special team is called in to investigate and prime suspect Alexander Troy is arrested for the murder. Desperate to remain a free man, Troy protests his innocence, but refuses to use his alibi. Trying to protect the woman he loves becomes a dangerous game – questions are asked and suspicions deepen. When the prime suspect completes a daring escape from custody, DI Breck and DS Kearns begin the hunt. Breck wants out of the force while Kearns has her own agenda and seeks revenge. Breck has his suspicions and she wants to keep it from him, and a right-wing march provides an explosive backdrop to their hunt for Troy. Dead Lands is the thrilling debut of award winning short story writer Lloyd Otis, and intelligently covers issues of race, discrimination and violence in a changing 70s landscape. 

You can buy a copy of Dead Lands via:

Urbane Publications (Publisher)
Amazon UK
Wordery
Book Depository

** My thanks to Matthew Smith at Urbane Books  for my copy of this book and to Abby Fairbrother (the immensely awesome Anne Bonny Book Reviews) for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **


Guest Post:

Dead Lands – building the story

A tremendous amount of research had to be conducted for Dead Lands and this was mainly for two reasons. The first reason:  the story is set a few decades ago and the second reason: a real-life event serves as its backdrop. I had to find out what the climate was like back then. I needed to feel it to some extent, to smell it, and to understand what the attitudes were like towards migrants, towards the police, and women. An author has to approach this sort of research carefully, which can be highly rewarding. To learn something new that will affect your story, or that you could insert into it for more realism, is an amazing feeling and I felt grateful to know what that was like.

Language and attitudes definitely change over time and I had to make a decision on how to approach that. For this story, I tried to strike a balance. With Dead Lands being set in the latter part of the 70s, it made sense that the attitudes of the times were reflected as much as possible without being an obstacle to the main story – although I gave myself more flexibility with the language. I spoke to people who were around at the time which was very important, because sometimes there is no substitute for speaking to someone who lived during a particular period. Of course you have to find those people, but when you do and you hear what they have to say, well it’s worth it. It really is.

With that part in place, I had to think about the other layers of the story and how they would interlace with each other as seamlessly as possible. Which character would have their identity pulled apart and questioned, which character would be telling the lies, and who would be hiding the biggest secrets? Setting Dead Lands in the past enabled me to highlight the complexities of proving guilt – DNA procedures as we know them today weren’t in place back then, so you really needed a good detective at the helm. Therefore, in terms of the people leading the charge, I needed strong characters.  I liked the polar opposites of a male and female investigators, and especially in that period of time, so Breck and Kearns fitted the bill perfectly. Having them operate within a fictional unit offered some flexibility with regards to what that unit was allowed to do, and in Breck, we have a bit of a maverick. A different kind of officer operating in a turbulent part of South East London. Amongst the temptations and whispers of corruption, he’ll do his job and he wants to do it the right way. That’s what he signed up for and why he joined the force. But ultimately, as the investigation progresses, he feels something is up, he’ll follow his nose and see it through to the end.

There’s a gritty underbelly to the story and life in the force is not sugar-coated in Dead Lands. Work for Breck provides a temporary escape from his feelings of discontentment and relationships are particularly important in this story. We even see this with Troy. From being a city high-flier to a man on the run, he is forced to turn to a small net of trusted people that may or may not be able to help him.

That is the landscape which I set out to create. There is no internet, no mobile phones, just a man and his limited resources, with an alibi that he can’t use and time running out.


Now I don’t know about you, but that has got me really keen to get reading and find out more!!  Perhaps I may just sneak this one up the reading pile and get lost in the world of Breck.  My review will be posted in November (sometime….)

 

Follow the blog tour:

BANNER

 

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Hello and a belated happy Friday to you all!  We’ve had some technical issues today, namely Mr Quiet Knitter having to be my Tech Support when our internet decided not to work and he’s spent the day swearing at it trying to make it work again – thankfully it’s back and here I am!

Today I’ve got a special post to celebrate indie publishing, the wonderfully lovely Matthew at Urbane Publications has kindly offered SIX paperback copies of some of their recent publications up for grabs to help celebrate The Quiet Knitter book blog turning two!  I have to add that this giveaway will only be open to UK entrants only but I am hoping to run a wee international giveaway so that readers outwith the UK can have a chance of winning some goodies too!

I’ve also managed to wrangle a chat with another of Urbane’s authors, the lovely Mark Pepper!


Author Feature:pep-pic-222x300

By now, Mark Pepper really should be on his fourth wife and in rehab at some idyllic retreat in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains. Graduating from RADA in 1990, he believed he would be a Hollywood star by the time the U.S. hosted the World Cup four years later. It didn’t work out that way.

His acting career was spasmodic, to say the least. There were high points: peeing on the Aidensfield Arms hearth-fire in the first-ever episode of Heartbeat; taking Lulu hostage in the Christmas special ten years later; acting with icons like Tom Bell and Helen Mirren; and popping up in Coronation Street several times. But there were vast deserts of unemployment between these little oases and Mark quickly turned to writing as an alternative source of expression.

His first novel, The Short Cut, was published in hardcover by Hodder & Stoughton in 1996 and in paperback by Hodder’s New English Library in 1997, and his second novel, Man on a Murder Cycle, was released by the same publisher hardcover in 1997 and paperback in 1998.

Veteran Avenue was completed a few years later but, as the pressures of earning a decent living and supporting his family took precedence, was placed on the back-burner – although not literally as that would have been stupid. Like any self-respecting struggling actor, he has had a host of jobs, including gym instructor, bed salesman, taxi driver, binman, and even a stint as a Special Constable with Greater Manchester Police. He left when he realised they were never going to give him a gun. Then ten years ago he completed a PGCE in Secondary School Drama, thinking it would be a good idea to be a teacher but not taking into account the problem of OPK – Other People’s Kids. His next move was to get his HGV licences. While happily driving artics around the country he rather stumbled into his current job of Client Intelligence Analyst, which he likes mostly because he can genuinely tell people he’s CIA.

After spending seven years living in Murcia with his wife and daughter, Mark recently returned to the UK as he missed the dull skies, frequent downpours, and especially road-rage.

He is delighted to have been adopted by the Urbane family, and is looking forward to his resurrected writing career. Veteran Avenue will publish in September 2017.

Courtesy of Urbane Publications website

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

Using my imagination, backed up by research, to create a believable and fascinating world the reader cannot wait to jump back into. Playing God with the characters’ lives.

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

Not spending time with my family.

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

This one. Veteran Avenue is loosely based on my first draft of a full-length novel from 1992, entitled Returntime. I wrote my previously-published novels, The Short Cut and Man on a Murder Cycle, after that, but, if I had to choose just one story to publish in my life, Veteran Avenue would be it. It is the closest to my heart for several reasons.

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

Earning a living! I have had a “regular” job for the past ten years, working online as a Client Intelligence Analyst. Also, spending time with my family and working out at the gym.

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

No rituals, as such; I don’t think they help, although silence is certainly preferable. I have always just grabbed as much time as I can, whenever I can. I write on a computer any time of the day or night. My first published novel, The Short Cut, was finished in one non-stop 24-hour writing spree.

 

A huge thank you to Mark for taking part and for sharing some more about himself, it’s always great to get to know a little more about the people behind the brilliant books we read.
If you would like to know more about Mark and his books, please check out his website http://www.markpepper.com/ or find him on Twitter @WritermanMark.

 


Giveaway

For your chance to win paper copies of Nemesister, Seeking Eden, The Secret Wound, Belief, Blue Gold and Beware the Cuckoo, all you need to do is leave a comment telling me where you’d like to read these books – be it a beach, on top of a mountain, in the pub….it all counts!  Apologies to readers outwith the UK, but this giveaway is only open to UK entries.
A random winner will be pulled from the hat on Tuesday 15th August (Mini Quiet Knitter will be picking a winner at lunchtime on the 15th), and good luck!


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