An Extract from Still Lives by Maria Hummel

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I’ve been hearing magnificent things about Still Lives by Maria Hummel and am delighted that a copy is on my TBR awaiting reading. I am thrilled to be part of the launch celebrations for this Rees Witherspoon selected book club read and have a super extract from Still Lives to share with you today.

Published by Quercus on 1st November 2018, Still Lives is available for purchase through the links here.

Still Lives

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Kim Lord’s face looked back at me, disguised in paint and the features of a murdered woman.

Revered artist Kim Lord is about to unveil her most shocking show yet: Still Lives, a series of self-portraits in which she impersonates the female victims of America’s most famous homicides, from Nicole Brown Simpson to the Black Dahlia.

As celebrities and rich patrons pour into L.A.’s Rocque Museum for the opening night, the attendees wait eagerly for Kim’s arrival. All except Maggie Richter, museum editor and ex-girlfriend of Greg Shaw Ferguson, Kim’s new boyfriend. But Kim never shows up to her party and the crowd’s impatience slowly turns to unease.

When Greg is arrested on suspicion of murder, it seems that life is imitating art. Has Kim suffered the same fate as the women in her paintings? As Maggie is drawn into an investigation of her own, she uncovers dark and deadly truths that will change her life forever…

An Extract from Still Lives

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You can read a smashing extract from Still Lives here – Still Lives Extract (1).

About Maria Hummel

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Maria Hummel is a novelist, poet, and essayist, and the recipient of a Wallace Stegner Fellowship, Pushcart Prize, and Bread Loaf Fellowship. She lives in Vermont.

You can follow Maria on Twitter @MariaHummel2, or visit her website for more information.

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Extract and Giveaway: The Boy Who Stole Time by Mark Bowsher

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A few weeks ago I had the privilege of staying in with Mark Bowsher to chat all about his book The Boy Who Stole Time in a post you can read here. Mark has had such a positive response to The Boy Who Stole Time that he is now having a formal blog tour and I’m thrilled to be invited to participate. I have an exclusive extract for you today and a signed paperback giveaway.

Published by Unbound, The Boy Who Stole Time is available for purchase here.

The Boy Who Stole Time

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When 12-year-old Krish finds out his mum is dying, he is desperate to give her more time to live. This leads to a deal with a devil-like creature to travel to another realm, Ilir, and collect the Myrthali – the essence of time itself.

Ilir is a tiny desert world where the days are a handful of hours long and there is magic and treachery on every corner. Here Krish is set three impossible challenges by the brutal King Obsendei to win from him the Myrthali. He joins forces with the razor-tongued, young girl-wizard Balthrir, who hopes to free her parents from the Black Palace; a living, breathing structure built entirely out of those subjects who have incurred the wrath of the King.

But as Krish battles these impossible tasks he may be about to learn that there is more than his mother’s life at stake as he gets embroiled in a blood-thirsty fight for power in Ilir that will push his friendship with Balthrir to its limits.

An Extract from The Boy Who Stole Time

Exclusive extract from chapter 9, The King and the Lady of the North, for Linda Hill

‘Your Majesty…’ All eyes were on him. The echoes in the chamber seemed much louder than the tiny words he had uttered. There was a prickle in the air.

Krish looked about and felt exactly what that disturbance in the air was. Sweat. The perspiration of thousands, may be millions of prisoners, each with their eyes upon him. Each breathing in and out cautiously, filling every moment of comparative quiet inthat dreadful palace with the sounds of the undercurrent. The soundof breathing. Slowly, calmly, in and out. Droplets of sweat fallingfrom their near-naked bodies into the furnace-like atmosphere and evaporating into the formidable sense of dread hanging in the air ofthe colossal chamber. That prickle of heat. That sense of millions astense as anyone could possibly be trickling down through the very air.The tension from the million eyes that stared at him from above.

The King sat on his throne, toying with his beard and eyeing him curiously.

‘Your… Most Exalted—’ He’d heard that word used in a film, but before he could be impressed with himself he was interrupted.

‘You’d better make with the gift, boy!’ one of the advisors jeered at him.

The King raised his hand to silence the calls of assent that mumbled around the room as he kept his gaze on Krish.

‘You have only been before me for a few seconds, child,’ began the King. ‘But it is clear to all that there is no gift in your hands. I would advise you to produce one or an explanation with haste, young man.’ The King was still furious from his confrontation with Vira but the distraction Krish was providing seemed to have subdued his rage somewhat.

The sea of eyes from the advisors, the nobles, from the very walls,the chandelier, the ceiling and more than anything from the King himself burned into Krish. Eshter glanced at her staff, which was no longer glowing, and then back to Krish.

‘That is because…’ Krish was trying desperately to think. ‘That’s because… my gift is… a story.’

He wasn’t entirely sure how interested the King was but at least he wasn’t interjecting.

‘A story… about a woman. My mother.’ Krish tried to build up a good story (without involving the devil), but nothing that eventful had ever happened to her. She was just his mother and he loved her.He focused on how she was so determined, how she always pushedhim to be more confident and how much she would be missed. Butwith every word he just felt more and more pathetic.

The King allowed him to speak for a few minutes but he didn’t seem convinced.

‘A charming woman, I’m sure,’ said the King. ‘But the story of her life is hardly entertaining. Put a few jokes in next time. As for your fate: it is hardly a crime to love your matriarch, deluded as it was for you to come here. I find no pleasure in the prospect of punishing you.Get rid of him!’

Guards seized him by each arm.

‘No, wait!’ cried Krish. ‘I have another story!’

‘And I have another hundred or so subjects to get through before I’m utterly bored,’ said the King, walking back to his throne.

‘But-but—’

‘Drag him away quicker, please!’

‘A story about… Bahrtakrit!’

The King turned briskly and faced him. The motion itself was enough to make the guards stop dead in their tracks. The King thought for a moment and then marched up to him. Enraged, hes poke in hushed tones, clearly hoping that even those restraining Krish might not hear.

‘Where have you heard that name, child?’

(Oh my goodness. Now I can see where all the excitement about The Boy Who Stole Time comes from. Children of ALL ages will love this!)

Giveaway: A Signed Paperback Copy of The Boy Who Stole Time

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If that extract has made you as excited about The Boy Who Stole Time as it has me and you’d like to enter to win a signed copy, click here! Open internationally and please note that the book will be sent directly from the author and that after the end of the giveaway I will not retain any of your personal details!

Giveaway closes at UK midnight on Sunday 18th November.

About Mark Bowsher

mark bowsher

Mark is a proudly dyspraxic writer and filmmaker who has made over 100 book promos for a certain publisher named Unbound. He wrote and directed his first full-length play, Not the Story of Me, at 20 and went on to make three shorts which won Best Short awards (plus one Best Screenplay award) at festivals in the UK and the US. The last of these, Only One Person Will Like This Film, was picked by the BFI as one of their ’10 to try’ out of over 300 films at LSFF 2013.

He has written short fiction (The Pitch and I Killed Tristan Metcalf and Here’s How I Did It… ) for Lionsgate’s Fright Club ezine as well as articles for Den of Geek and Cult TV Times.

Since going freelance in 2013 he has created video content for Santander, Pearson, Choice Support, The Big Issue and MyLex as well as music videos (all based on concepts he pitched to the artists) for Nisha Chand, Ekkoes, Good Work Watson, Morgan Crowley and Go-Zilla. He recently wrote and directed the pilot episode for a sitcom based on his previous career in film marketing entitled It’s All Lies. He isn’t married and doesn’t live in Surrey but he did once climb a mountain dressed as Peter Pan.

You can follow Mark on Twitter @MarkBowsherFilm. You’ll also find him on Facebook.

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The Boy Who Stole Time final banner

@HQstories #HQCrime Fiction 2019 Showcase

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I have a very eclectic taste in reading from chicklit to non-fiction with almost everything in between so imagine my delight when this invitation dropped into my inbox:

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I was so lucky to be able to take my husband along for the evening too for a change!

We were welcomed by a rightly enormously proud Lisa Milton, Executive Publisher at HQ Stories, before we were treated to lots of delicious canapes and drinks. Now, those of you who know me know I can’t drink ordinary wine but I am rather partial to a glass of something sparkling! With dramatic views from the window it was time for the evening proper to begin.

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I had a brilliant time chatting with fellow bloggers and being somewhat starstruck by speaking with the authors. Although I didn’t get to them all I was thrilled to chat with about half those there, including HQ’s latest signing Louise Jensen, a friend and author of The Family.

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I also got to speak with Mick Finlay, author of The Murder Pit, Roz Watkins, author of The Devil’s Dice and Dead Man’s Daughter, Vicky Newham (whom I feel I’ve known forever anyway), author of Turn A Blind Eye and Out of the Ashes, Kerry Barnes, author of The Hunted, friend Amanda Jennings, author of The Cliff House (which has been on my TBR far too long) and finally Kia Abdullah, author of Take It Back. Sadly, trains to darkest Lincolnshire meant we had to dash off promptly at 8.30 so I missed other wonderful writers.

You can see what a star-studded showcase it was: IMG_2195 (1)

By the time I got to the book tables all the books had been snapped up but I did manage to wangle a copy of Kerry Barnes’s The Hunted as I’d found talking to her really interesting.

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Some of the books are so new that I have nothing more to tell you yet as cover and blurb are still in process, including House of Whispers by Annabel Kantaria, The Perfect Girl by Helen Warner, Elevator Pitch by Linwood Barclay, The Alibi Girl by CJ Skuse, Take It Back by Kia Abdullah, The Family by Louise Jensen and This Lovely City by Louise Hare.

However, here are the books that we call all look forward to over the next year and are already available for purchase or pre-order by clicking on the book title.

Home Grown Hero by Khurrum Rahman

Home Grown Hero

Reluctant spy.
Trained assassin.
WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON?

JAY QASIM is back home in West London and in pursuit of normality. He’s swapped dope-dealing for admin, and spends his free time at the local Muslim Community Centre or cruising around Hounslow in his beloved BMW. No-one would guess that he was the MI5 spy who foiled the most devastating terrorist attack in recent history.

But Jay’s part in sabotaging Ghurfat-Al-Mudarris’ hit on London didn’t pass unnoticed.

IMRAN SIDDIQUI was trained to kill in Afghanistan by the terrorist cell who saved his life after his home was destroyed by war. The time has finally come for him to repay them – throwing him headlong into the path of Jay Qasim.

Now, they must each decide whose side they’re really on.

The Murder Pit by Mick Finlay

The Murder Pit

London Society takes their problems to Sherlock Holmes. Everyone else goes to Arrowood.

1896: Sherlock Holmes has once again hit the headlines, solving mysteries for the cream of London society. But among the workhouses and pudding shops of the city, private detective William Arrowood is presented with far grittier, more violent, and considerably less well-paid cases.

Arrowood is in no doubt who is the better detective, and when Mr and Mrs Barclay engage him to trace their estranged daughter Birdie, he’s sure it won’t be long before he and his assistant Barnett have tracked her down.

But this seemingly simple missing person case soon turns into a murder investigation. Far from the comfort of Baker Street, Arrowood’s London is a city of unrelenting cruelty, where evil is waiting to be uncovered . . .

The Devil’s Dice by Roz Watkins

The Devil's Dice

A SHOCKING DEATH

A lawyer is found dead in a Peak District cave, his face ribboned with scratches.

A SINISTER MESSAGE

Amidst rumours of a local curse, DI Meg Dalton is convinced this is cold-blooded murder. There’s just one catch – chiselled into the cave wall above the body is an image of the grim reaper and the dead man’s initials, and it’s been there for over a century.

A DEADLY GAME

As Meg battles to solve the increasingly disturbing case, it’s clear someone knows her secrets. The murderer is playing games with Meg – and the dice are loaded…

Dead Man’s Daughter by Roz Watkins

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‘She was running towards the gorge. The place the locals call Dead Girl’s Drop…’

DI Meg Dalton isn’t prepared for her latest case. A ten year old girl is found running through the woods, barefoot and wearing only a blood-soaked nightdress. She has no memory of what happened to her, but her father is found stabbed to death in their nearby house.

At first, Meg blames an intruder – but why had the girl’s murdered father been so obsessed with the creepy statues in the woods, and with the girl’s recent heart transplant?

Meg’s investigation leads her down a chilling path. The girl has been having nightmares, and seems to remember things that happened to her heart donor. Who was the donor and what happened to them? Could this have anything to do with the murder of the girl’s father?

Meg is forced to question her deepest beliefs to discover the shocking truth before the killer strikes again…

Turn A Blind Eye by Vicky Newham

Turn a Blind Eye

A headmistress is found strangled in an East London school, the victim of a ritualistic act of violence. Found at the scene is a single piece of card, upon which is written an ancient Buddhist precept:

I SHALL ABSTAIN FROM TAKING THE UNGIVEN.

At first, DI Maya Rahman can’t help but hope this is a tragic but isolated murder. Then, the second body is found.

Faced with a community steeped in secrets and prejudice, Maya must untangle the cryptic messages left at the crime scenes to solve the deadly riddle behind the murders – before the killer strikes again.

Turn a Blind Eye is the first book in a brand-new series set in East London and starring DI Maya Rahman.

Out Of The Ashes by Vicky Newham

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A terrible accident – or a fire set to kill?

When a flash mob on Brick Lane is interrupted by a sudden explosion, DI Maya Rahman is called to the scene. A fire is raging through one of the city’s most infamous streets – and it’s soon clear that it was a deliberate act of violence.

The discovery of two charred bodies in the burnt-out shell of the building transforms an arson attack into a murder case. And, with witnesses too caught up in the crowd to have seen a thing, Maya is facing an investigation without a single lead.

The possible motives are endless: money, vandalism, revenge. And, when reports of a second and even more horrifying crime lands on Maya’s desk, she knows she doesn’t have long to find answers – before all of East London goes up in flames.

The Girl Next Door by Phoebe Morgan

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One little lie just became deadly…

Perfect mother. Perfect wife. Jane Goodwin has spent years building her picture-perfect life in the quiet town of Ashdon.

So when the girl next door, sixteen-year-old Clare Edwards, is found murdered, Jane knows she must first protect her family.

Every marriage has a few white lies and hers is no exception. Jane’s worked hard to cover up her dark secret from all those years ago – and she’ll do anything to keep it hidden…

The gripping new psychological thriller from the author of The Doll House, the number one digital bestseller.

The Guilty Party by Mel McGrath

The Guilty Party

On a night out, four friends witness a stranger in trouble.

They decide to do nothing to help.

Later, a body washes up on the banks of the Thames – and the group realises that ignoring the woman has left blood on their hands.

But why did each of them refuse to step in? Why did none of them want to be noticed that night? Who is really responsible?

And is it possible that the victim was not really a stranger at all?

The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald

The Night Olivia Fell

They said it was an accident. Her mother knows they’re lying. But the truth comes with a price…

A fast-paced and action packed psychological thriller that is full of twists and turns you won’t see coming. The Night Olivia Fell is the most gripping suspense mystery you’ll read this year.

IT’S EVERY PARENT’S WORST NIGHTMARE.

Abi Knight is startled awake in the middle of the night to a ringing phone and devastating news – her teenage daughter, Olivia, has been in a terrible accident.

Abi is told that Olivia slipped and fell from a bridge into the icy water below, and now she lies silent, dependent on life support.

But then Abi sees the angry bruises around Olivia’s wrists and learns that her sensible daughter is in fact three months pregnant . . .

WOULD YOU BELIEVE IT IF THEY TOLD YOU IT WAS AN ACCIDENT?

The Inquiry by Will Caine

The Inquiry

Knowledge of these files is classified.

You must not use police or intelligence services to carry out your investigation. Those channels are compromised.

A final warning: you must move fast.

Former MP Francis Morahan swore never to return to politics. But when he’s asked to chair a government inquiry into the intelligence agencies’ record against terror, it’s clear that it’s an order from the top – not a request.

Sara Shah once teetered on the edge of a dangerous circle. Now a lawyer in a prestigious London firm, she’s put her past behind her. Until a letter delivered by hand summons her to join the Morahan Inquiry.

Duty-bound, Sara accepts. Armed only with a list of names, dodging her one-time connection to the networks she infiltrates, she finds herself led by an anonymous source into the darkest corners of post-9/11 Britain.

What, or who, was the weapon at the heart of British terror?

IT IS A SECRET SOME WILL STOP AT NOTHING TO KEEP HIDDEN.

Westminster’s best-kept secrets are hunted down in this edge-of-your-seat political thriller – perfect for fans of Sam Bourne, Frank Gardner and Mick Herron.

The Hunted by Kerry Barnes

The Hunted

Having spent her life watching her father run his East London firm, Zara Ezra has learnt a thing or two about being a gangster, and she’s ready to take over when the time comes.

Mike Regan, a blast from Zara’s past, is the head of his own firm, but when his son is kidnapped in the middle of a gangland feud, Mike has no choice but to accept help from the Ezras to get his little boy back alive.

With a rival firm playing increasingly dirty, murder moves to the top of the agenda and Zara has some big choices to make. It seems that the only way to come out on top is to play them at their own game…

But will she become The Hunter or The Hunted?

The Girls Beneath by Ross Armstrong

The Girls Beneath

Tom Mondrian is the last person you want on your case. And the only one who can solve it, in this quirky psychological thriller.

Tom Mondrian is watching his life ebb away directing traffic as a PCSO, until a bullet to the brain changes everything. With a new unusual perspective, including an inability to recognise faces and absolutely no filter between what he thinks and what he says, Tom’s career is suddenly shifting gear.

Tom’s new condition gives him an advantage over other police officers, allowing him to notice details that they can’t see. Now, with his new insight and unwavering determination, Tom is intent on saving three missing girls, before more start to disappear…

Have You Seen Her by Lisa Hall

Have You Seen Her

Bonfire Night. A missing girl.

Anna only takes her eyes off Laurel for a second. She thought Laurel was following her mum through the crowds. But in a heartbeat, Laurel is gone.

Laurel’s parents are frantic. As is Anna, their nanny. But as the hours pass, and Laurel isn’t found, suspicion grows.

Someone knows what happened to Laurel. And they’re not telling.

Have You Seen Her is the breath-taking new thriller with a killer twist from bestseller Lisa Hall.

Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

Little Darlings

THE TWINS ARE CRYING.
THE TWINS ARE HUNGRY.

LAUREN IS CRYING.
LAUREN IS EXHAUSTED.

Behind the hospital curtain, someone is waiting . . .

After a traumatic birth, Lauren is alone on the maternity ward with her newborn twins. Her husband has gone home. The nurses are doing their rounds. She can’t stop thinking about every danger her babies now face. But all new mothers think like that. Don’t they?

A terrifying encounter in the middle of the night leaves Lauren convinced someone or something is trying to steal her children. But with every step she takes to keep her babies safe, Lauren sinks deeper and deeper into paranoia and fear. From the stark loneliness of returning home after birth, to the confines of a psychiatric unit, Lauren’s desperation increases as no one will listen to her. But here’s the question: is she mad, or does she know something we don’t?

Loosely inspired by the ghostly folktale The Brewery of Eggshells, where a mother becomes convinced her twins are in danger, Little Darlings offers a fresh perspective on modern motherhood, postnatal psychosis and the roles women play. It has always been thus: folk tales do not spring from whimsy; they warn us and teach us, and speak to the fear in us all.

A Fatal Obsession by Faith Martin

A Fatal Obsession

The start of a brand new series from the global bestselling author of the DI Hillary Greene series.

Oxford, 1960. There’s a murderer on the loose and two unlikely heroes are poised to solve the case.

Meet Probationary WPC Trudy Loveday – smart, enthusiastic and always underestimated.

In the hope of getting her out of the way, Trudy’s senior officer assigns her to help coroner Clement Ryder as he re-opens the case of a young woman’s death. She can’t believe her luck – she is actually going to be working on a real murder case.

Meanwhile, the rest of the police force are busy investigating a series of threats and murders in the local community, and Clement can’t help but feel it’s all linked.

As Trudy and Clement form an unlikely partnership, are they going to be the ones to solve these crimes before the murderer strikes again?

I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney

Draft I know who you are

Aimee Sinclair: the actress everyone thinks they know but can’t remember where from.

Except me. I know exactly where you’re from, who you are, what you’ve done.

Your husband has gone missing and the police think you’re hiding something. You lie for a living, always pretending to be someone else. But that’s not new, is it?

Because I know you lied before. You’ve always lied. And the lies we tell ourselves are always the most dangerous . . .

 

The Cliff House by Amanda Jennings

The Cliff House

Some friendships are made to be broken

Cornwall, summer of 1986.

The Davenports, with their fast cars and glamorous clothes, living the dream in a breathtaking house overlooking the sea.

If only… thinks sixteen-year-old Tamsyn, her binoculars trained on the perfect family in their perfect home.

If only her life was as perfect as theirs.

If only Edie Davenport would be her friend.

If only she lived at The Cliff House…

Don’t Tell Teacher by Suzy K Quinn

Don't Tell Teacher

School should have been the safest place…

For Lizzie Riley, switching her six-year-old son Tom to the local academy school marks a fresh start, post-divorce. With its excellent reputation, Lizzie knows it’ll be a safe space away from home.

But there’s something strange happening at school. Parents are forbidden from entering the grounds, and there are bars across the classroom windows.

Why is Tom coming home exhausted, unable to remember his day? What are the strange marks on his arm? And why do the children seem afraid to talk?

Lizzie is descending into every parent’s worst nightmare: her little boy is in danger. But will she be able to protect him before it’s too late?

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As you can see, it was quite an evening and my TBR pile of books is certainly not going to shrink with all of these heading our way. I have a feeling I’m going to be busy in 2019!

I hope some of these appeal to you too!

My enormous thanks to all the HQ team for putting on such a smashing event.

An Extract from Alaskan Holiday by Debbie Macomber

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I’ve always heard such wonderful things about Debbie Macomber’s writing that I’m delighted actually to feature an extract from her latest novel, Alaskan Holiday as part of the launch celebrations for the book. My huge thanks to Rachel Kennedy at Penguin Random House for inviting me to take part.

Alaskan Holiday will be published by Penguin imprint Arrow on 15th November 2018 and is available for pre-order through the links here.

An Alaskan Holiday

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An uplifting tale of finding unexpected love in the Alaskan wilderness from bestselling author, Debbie Macomber.

Before beginning her new job as sous chef at one of Seattle’s finest restaurants, Josie Stewart takes on a six-month position cooking at a lodge in an Alaskan lake town. It’s only temporary–or so she thinks, as she becomes a valued part of the local community, falling in love with the people who call the Klutina Lake home.

But one man, in particular, stands out among the rest of Josie’s new friends: an intriguing swordsmith whose very existence forces her to question whether her heart wants to return to Washington at all.

An Extract from Alaskan Holiday by Debbie Macomber

“Are you gonna propose to Josie or not?” Alicia demanded.I closed my eyes. It felt as if my heart was doing cartwheels inside my tightening chest.

“Palmer, did you hear me?”

“I heard you just fine.” I knew it was a mistake to call my sister. Alicia wasn’t one to hold back on sharing her opinion. She knew how I felt about Josie, and as my big sister, she was determined that I not let Josie leave town without letting her know how I felt about her.

“Then answer the question. Are you going to tell Josie you’re in love with her?”

My sister and I had been raised in Alaska in a tiny town above the Arctic Circle. We were home schooled,so I didn’t have a lot of the exposure and experiences most kids get for social interaction. I wouldn’t give it up for anything, though, except for my lack of certain skills. Alicia made it sound easy to lay one’s heart out on the chopping block with the big chance of it getting axed.

The problem is, I’ve never been anything even close to what one would consider romantic. I leave that to those city boys. I am a man, an Alaskan man; fancy,romantic words are as unfamiliar to me as a pumpkin-spice latte. I’ll admit, when it comes to sweeping a woman off her feet, I’m about as dense as a guy can get,and I’ll certainly never be the kind of man who recites poetry. Living up here in the Alaskan wilderness doesn’t help. Ponder is miles from what most people would consider civilization. Northeast of Fairbanks and close to the Far North region of Alaska, Ponder has a population that swells to three hundred in‑​season when the lodge is in operation. In the wintertime, these numbers drop to a few hearty men and women, and only a handful of families.

Alicia reminded me that it was now or never. I could do without the clichés, especially when my gut was in knots. Even the thought of telling Josie that I loved her and wanted her to stay in Ponder had me breaking into a cold sweat. This felt worse than the case of flu I had last year.

Although the fishing and hunting lodge brought in a fair amount of traffic in‑​season,single women were few and far between here in Ponder. The only women I’d happened to meet in the last several years were those employed by the lodge, or those I met on my infrequent trips into Fairbanks. Most of the lodge employees were college students and so flighty and immature that I didn’t pay any attention to them. All that changed when Josie Avery arrived.

(Argh! Now I need to know what happens next!)

About Debbie Macomber

Debbie Macomber

Debbie Macomber is a no. 1 New York Times bestselling author and one of today’s most popular writers with more than 170 million copies of her books in print worldwide. In addition to fiction, Debbie has also published two bestselling cookbooks; numerous inspirational and non-fiction works; and two acclaimed children’s books. The beloved and bestselling Cedar Cove series became Hallmark Channel’s first dramatic scripted television series and Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove was ranked as the top programme on US cable TV when it debuted in summer 2013. Hallmark has also produced many successful films based on Debbie’s bestselling Christmas novels.

Debbie Macomber owns her own tea room, and a yarn store, A Good Yarn, named after the shop featured in her popular Blossom Street novels. She and her husband, Wayne, serve on the Guideposts National Advisory Cabinet, and she is World Vision’s international spokesperson for their Knit for Kids charity initiative. A devoted grandmother, Debbie and her husband live in Port Orchard, Washington (the town on which her Cedar Cove novels are based) and winter in Florida.

You can find out more by following Debbie on Twitter @debbiemacomber, visiting her website and finding her on Facebook.

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Staying in with Reyna Marder Gentin

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What could be better than to stay in with a brand new author on publication day? I’m delighted to welcome Reyna Marder Gentin to Linda’s Book Bag today as she stays in with me to tell me about her debut novel.

Staying in with Reyna Marder Gentin

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Reyna. Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?

Unreasonable Doubts cover art

I have brought along my debut novel, Unreasonable Doubts. I believe your readers will enjoy staying in and spending some time with the protagonist, Liana Cohen, a woman who finds herself at a critical crossroads in both her personal and professional life.

(And I understand today is publication day, so congratulations on Unreasonable Doubts!)

What can we expect from an evening in with Unreasonable Doubts?

When the story opens, Liana is a talented young attorney working in the appeals bureau of the Public Defender’s Office in New York City representing defendants who don’t have the money for private counsel. Although she has taken the job out of a deep sense of idealism, Liana’s experience representing those convicted of the most ghastly crimes has taken a toll on her, and she is having doubts about her career choice. Her uncertainties have spilled over to her personal life, where she has become distanced from her corporate lawyer boyfriend Jakob. Liana finds herself questioning whether she can commit to Jakob, who is ready to get married and looking for an equal partner in the relationship.

Into this chaotic scenario enters Danny Shea, Liana’s new client, who stands convicted of the unthinkable. Except Liana believes he is innocent. Working on his case restores Liana’s sense of hope and her belief in her mission as a defense attorney. In Danny, Liana is confronted by a man who is intelligent, sexy, potentially dangerous, and obsessively devoted to her. As their relationship transforms into something less than arms length, Liana risks losing it all.

Liana is challenged throughout the novel to look for the good in others and to find the good in herself – by Jakob and Danny, by her mother, by her friends and colleagues, and by a traditional yet unconventional rabbi with whom she develops a relationship. I hope your readers will enjoy Liana’s journey.

(Oh I don’t think there’s much doubt about that Reyna! Unreasonable Doubts sounds brilliant!)

I have been fortunate to receive advance praise across different genres from best-selling authors including William Landay (Defending Jacob), Susan Isaacs (Compromising Positions), Linda Fairstein (Final Jeopardy), and Rabbi Joseph Telushkin. I think the novel will appeal to different readers on different levels and across demographics.

(How lovely to have such endorsements.)

What else have you brought along and why?

I have brought along the Beatles cover of the song ‘”Til There Was You” from the musical The Music Man. This song is one of my favorites, and plays a special role in the novel. You can listen to it here.

Capture

I’ve also brought along a photograph. One of the advantages of writing in my home is that I can also indulge in another one of my passions, which is cooking and baking. This photograph is of the special challah bread that I bake every Friday. If I could bring along the aroma, that would knock your socks off!

(I wish you’d brought the actual bread rather than a photo Reyna. They look delicious!)

Thanks so much for staying in with me to tell me about Unreasonable Doubts Reyna. I hope you enjoy the rest of your publication day.

Unreasonable Doubts

Unreasonable Doubts cover art

Jaded New York City Public Defender Liana Cohen would give anything to have one client in whom she can believe. Dozens of hardened criminals and repeat offenders have chipped away at her faith in both herself and the system. Her boyfriend Jakob’s high-powered law firm colleagues see her do-gooder job as a joke, which only adds to the increasing strain in their relationship.

Enter imprisoned felon Danny Shea, whose unforgivable crime would raise a moral conflict in an attorney at the height of her idealism―and that hasn’t been Liana in quite a while. But Danny’s astonishing blend of good looks, intelligence, and vulnerability intrigues Liana. Could he be the client she’s been longing for―the wrongly accused in need of a second chance? Is he innocent? As their attorney-client relationship transforms into something less than arm’s length, Liana is forced to confront fundamental questions of truth, faith, and love―and to decide who she wants to be.

Published today, 13th November 2018 by She Writes Press, Unreasonable Doubts is available for purchase through these links.

About Reyna Marder Gentin

Reyna Gentin, photo by Ayelet Feinberg & Stephen Friedgood

Reyna Marder Gentin attended college and law school at Yale. For many years, she practiced as an appellate attorney representing criminal defendants who could not afford private counsel. Reyna studies at the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College, and her fiction and personal essays have been published in The Westchester Review and online. She lives with her family in Scarsdale, New York.

You can visit Reyna’s website for more information. You can also follow Reyna on Twitter @reynagentin and find her on Facebook.

An Extract from Every Colour of You by Amelia Mandeville

Every colour of you

I’m delighted to part of the launch celebrations for Every Colour of You by Amelia Mandeville and would like to thank the lovely folk at Midas PR for inviting me to take part. It’s a real privilege to be starting off the tour.

I had hoped to have a review to share today but sadly postie didn’t bring the book in time (along with at least another 7 missing books that I am aware of) so my review will be later on! However, I do have an extract from the very beginning of Every Colour of You to share so I’m excited about that and even better, Amelia dropped by to tell me about the book.

Staying in with Amelia Mandeville

Hi Amelia. Thanks for staying in with me. Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it? 

Every colour of you

I have brought my debut novel, Every Colour Of You. It is a really exciting and nerve-racking time. The book means a lot to me.

(I bet! Congratulations.)

What can we expect from an evening in with Every Colour Of You?

I think you can expect an evening of multiple emotions, laughing, crying, being angry, happy, sad. Hopefully you will be going on a journey with Tristan and Zoe, as they do.  It’s been said to break your heart, and put it back together again, and hopefully it does. But hopefully for all the right reasons.

This is one of my favourite reviews ❤

What book!

OMG

I mean the blurb had me but the words on the pages well and truly stole my heart.

Told from dual POV, we meet both Zoe and Tristan aka Tree. 

 Zoe is someone who tries to keep a positive outlook on life, and she is a friend you most definitely want in your life, not that Tristan realises it when fate first throws them together.

 Tristan is Zoe’s opposite, suffering with depression, he is most definitely not optimistic.

 But as a friendship blooms and outlooks change, you come to realise that as happy as Zoe is, she’s hiding a secret, honestly you won’t manage to guess what it is but it strikes without warning.

 A story that is both heartbreaking and heartwarming all at once (yes, it is possible).

 Extremely poignant, I challenge you to read this and not then reflect on what you are doing in your own lives.

 Have the tissues to hand, expect tears and be ready to have a massive book hangover.

 This novel is a must read.

(I’m not surprised you’re happy with that response Amelia!)

What else have you brought along and why? 

I have brought a disposable camera, sharpies, hair dye, and of course I’ll be drawing smiley faces on anything and everything.

No, not the walls again! Seriously. Congratulations on your debut Amelia and I wish you every success.

Every Colour of You

Every colour of you

What happens when someone who lives every day to the full meets someone who can only see reasons to stop living?

We had a story – short, but not a simple one. I couldn’t stay here and explain it all to you. If you really want to know, you’ll have to take time out of your day.

You’ll have to read it…

Zoe’s life is full of colour. A fan of impromptu yoga, inspirational quotes and experimenting with hair dye, she’s on a mission to make the most of each and every day – even if she is currently spending most of her time behind a checkout till.

Then she meets Tristan. The rumour is that since his dad died, Tristan’s life has fallen apart. No one has seen him for months. But now he’s reappeared, does that mean he’s back to ‘normal’?

Zoe soon realises Tristan is struggling with a sadness that she can’t possibly understand and becomes determined to bring a world of colour back into his life. But the harder she tries, the more she realises it’s something she can’t fix – and in trying to put him back together, a part of her is beginning to fall apart. . .

Published by Sphere, an imprint of Little Brown, on 15th November 2018, Every Colour of You is available for purchase through these links.

An Extract from Every Colour of You by Amelia Mandeville

Chapter 1

Tristan

I turn towards Lucy. I’m having to look down at her because she’s about five foot nothing. Lucy is pretty, so I can only imagine how pretty she looks when she’s out of the nurse’s uniform. She stops by the door, opens it and stares up at me. ‘You got everything?’ she says. ‘These past few weeks have gone so quickly. It feels like just yesterday we were celebrating your birthday.’

I feel my forehead crease. I wish she wouldn’t remind me of my age. It’s safe to say that turning twenty-two here was not a personal highlight. How many twenty-two-year-olds are in a situation like mine?

I was allowed out on my birthday. Luke and I went to Winter Wonderland. It’s something we used to do every year, with Dad – that’s what happens when you have a December birthday. It was okay, if a bit strange. I grew out of it, years ago.

But today, I don’t know how I feel about leaving. This time, I won’t becoming back. I’ve had my assessment – Luke and I had a meeting with Dr Lawn a couple of days ago – so it’s real, and has been for a couple of days; but somehow it’s only just hit me, and now I feel strange. I don’t like it.

‘We’re going to miss you,’ Lucy says with another soft smile.

I wonder how many times she has said that to the other mentally unstable dickheads like me. ‘Yeah,’ I reply. I’m not going to say, ‘I’ll miss you, too’ because, honestly, I won’t. She was a good nurse, but that was her job. And now she will be a good nurse to the next guy. She’s getting paid for this shit.

‘You’ve done so well, Tristan, we’re proud of you,’ she says, reaching up and placing a hand on my shoulder. I look at her hand as she holds it there. I’m not proud. I haven’t changed. The only way that I’m different now is that I’ve learned the way to do things, the right things to say, the right way to act. I’ve got the hang of the game. Yes, I am cheating, but if it means I win, it’s okay, isn’t it?

And it’s not that I’ve given up; leaving this place doesn’t mean I’m going to jump off a bridge. This place might not have fixed me, but I still want to try to change. In fact, I’m going to change. I’m going to change for Luke, for Dad, maybe even for the people here, like Lucy, too. But I don’t want to be in this place any more. I cant be in this place any more.

Lucy’s attention is diverted at the sound of an alarm. It’s coming from her waistband, where a small plastic device is flashing. Her pager. ‘Shit,’ she mutters as she looks down at it to see which room is calling for her help. ‘Not again.’ She looks at the door in front of us that leads towards reception, which she’d just started to open, then back at me, then at her fob, and then at me again. ‘I bet that’s Russ. Okay, I’ve got to run, Tristan,’ she says, already heading back the way we came, down the corridor to the ward. ‘I will be back, I promise. Just stay here.’ She motions to the plastic seats lining the wall.

‘But I’ve got to—’

‘I’ll be right back to sign you out. I promise. I just really need to help with this,’ she says, as the door in front of me swings shut again. My freedom being slammed in my face.

There’s no point arguing. I nod my head.

So with one more smile, Lucy legs it down the corridor to help restrain whichever poor sod is losing it right now.

I turn back towards the door in front of me, and my stomach jolts as I notice a green light. The door didn’t lock this time. Lucy didn’t fully close it. And now that the option is there, it’s tempting. I can get to the reception by myself, can’t I? The decision to send me home has been made and it’s not like I need to be chaperoned. I don’t need to be looked after.

I look back to the green light again. What does green mean? Surely green means good, as in, Good idea, Tristan. No, wait – green means go.

(And now you can see why I’m so frustrated by postie! I’ll be reading and reviewing Every Colour of You just as soon as I can!)

About Amelia Mandeville

Amelia Mandeville - Author Photo

Amelia Mandeville has been creating stories and characters in her head ever since she can remember. When there became too many, she started to write them down. Now 21, Amelia is the debut author of Every Colour of You, publishing in November. Besides getting lost in the stories she’s written, Amelia spends her time attempting to bake, dyeing her hair and vlogging for the YouTube channel she shares with her sister, Grace – the aptly named The Mandeville Sisters.

You can follow Amelia on Twitter @AmeliaMandev and there’s more with these other bloggers:

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The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

harold Fry

I bought The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce when it was first published and typically of many of the books I buy, I didn’t get round to reading it because life got in the way. I then completely lost the book so when it was on the list of choices for the U3A reading group to which I belong, I had to select it.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is available for purchase through the links here.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

harold Fry

When Harold Fry nips out one morning to post a letter, leaving his wife hoovering upstairs, he has no idea that he is about to walk from one end of the country to the other. He has no hiking boots or map, let alone a compass, waterproof or mobile phone.

All he knows is that he must keep walking.

To save someone else’s life.

My Review of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

When Harold goes out to post a letter to Queenie Hennessy it takes him longer than he anticipated!

Now, I have no idea how to write my review of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce because I’m genuinely not sure what I think. Initially I wasn’t convinced I was going to complete the book because it made me feel uncomfortable and yet I simply couldn’t set it aside. I have a feeling that what I have experienced is incredibly skilled and clever writing. I was compelled to finish the book in exactly the same way Harold Fry is unsure about his journey but he feels compelled to walk all the way. I think I have been subtly manipulated by a very astute and clever author.

There is no denying the superb quality of Rachel Joyce’s writing. The contrast between the poetic quality of her descriptions, the gentle humour underpinning deep emotion and the realistic and minimal direct speech, especially between Harold and Maureen, is an absolute triumph. I could hear their conversations as vividly as if I were standing next to them. I felt too as if I were treading the path with Harold.

I found the uncovering of Harold’s memories and his relationship with Maureen and his son David was so good. And I think it is here where my difficulty with The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry lies. I wanted Harold and Maureen to be happy together and it didn’t seem as if they would. I wanted them to forgive themselves for their perceived wrongs, but instead they appeared to be tearing themselves apart. I think this again illustrates what a brilliant author Rachel Joyce is. She made me care even when I didn’t want to. I resisted being affected by the story of Harold and his pilgrimage but in the end I didn’t have any say in the matter. Indeed, my heart broke for Harold on occasion and I found both he and Maureen were such believable characters.

I thoroughly appreciated the messages behind the narrative. Harold comes to realise that he doesn’t need material possessions to feel happy. Maureen understands that guilt, fault and blame can be apportioned differently with a different perspective. Love in all its forms is laid bare, from its lack in a person’s life through unrealistic expectations of it to its purest form. All these elements make for compelling reading and yet I couldn’t entirely let myself go as a reader and simply accept the book as an entertaining and enlightening narrative – which it undoubtedly is.

Did I enjoy reading The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry? I don’t honestly know. Did I find it moving and affecting? Absolutely. Was I impressed by the fabulous quality of the writing? Without doubt. Would I recommend The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry to another reader? Without hesitation. Rachel Joyce has completely flummoxed me with The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and I’m off to read more of her work as this bizarre feeling has captivated me completely.

About Rachel Joyce

rachel joyce

Rachel Joyce is the author of the Sunday Times and international bestsellers The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Perfect, The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, and a collection of interlinked short stories, A Snow Garden & Other Stories. Her work has been translated into thirty-six languages.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book prize and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Rachel was awarded the Specsavers National Book Awards ‘New Writer of the Year’ in December 2012 and shortlisted for the ‘UK Author of the Year’ 2014.

Rachel has also written over twenty original afternoon plays and adaptations of the classics for BBC Radio 4, including all the Bronte novels. She moved to writing after a long career as an actor, performing leading roles for the RSC, the National Theatre and Cheek by Jowl.