Staying in with Patrick Canning

The Colonel and the bee

I am extremely fond of historical fiction and I love a bit of travel, so it gives me very great pleasure to welcome Patrick Canning to Linda’s Book Bag today to tell me about one of his books.

Staying in with Patrick Canning

Hi Patrick. Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.

Thanks for having me! I’m glad whatever better plans you had fell through.

You’re more than welcome! Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?

The Colonel and the bee

The Colonel and the Bee, a coming of age/adventure story that takes place in the Victorian Age. I would consider it escapist entertainment in a lot of ways, which I think people need right now given how stressful things seem to be. So many current events and the ensuing news coverage is overwhelmingly negative, I think sometimes it’s okay to check out for an hour or two. This book has some dramatic and emotional moments, but a lot of the time it’s a fun adventure, and I hope it genuinely makes people feel better as some books have done for me in the past.

(Brilliant philosophy Patrick. I agree that fiction can be the perfect escapism.)

What can we expect from an evening in with The Colonel and the Bee?

The story is very playful. Sometimes when we hear Victorian Age/1800s, we think of a stuffy society, but the characters in The Colonel and the Bee are always raring to explore and escape danger, using great Victorian slang along the way like “enthuzimuzzy” (making a big deal out of nothing) and “butter upon bacon!” (excessive extravagance). If I did my job right, an evening with this book will make you laugh, worry for the characters, and maybe even enliven your wanderlust with its menagerie of fantastic destinations (better make sure your passport is up to date before reading, just in case).

(Sounds perfect for me. I already have itchy feet and am always looking for my next adventure.)

What else have you brought along and why?

compass

I have brought the Oxford Starladder, it’s just outside killing the grass on your lawn. The four-story house attached to a hot air balloon is full of trinkets from a thousand destinations, complex navigational equipment, a nursery of exotic flowers, and a packrat named Jasper who steals anything that isn’t nailed down. We’d better get going as the wind is picking up…

Oh! I’m not terribly keen on heights. You won’t mind if I shut my eyes whilst we take off will you. Don’t worry about the grass. It’s been so hot here of late it’s dead anyway!

Thanks so much for staying in with me to tell me all about The Colonel and the Bee Patrick – and for this trip in the Oxford Starladder!

The Colonel and the Bee

The Colonel and the bee

A peculiar explorer and downtrodden acrobat span the globe on a building-sized hot air balloon, in search of a precious artifact and the murderous treasure hunter who seeks it.

Beatrix, a spirited but abused acrobat in a traveling circus, seeks more than her prison-like employment offers. More than anything, she wants to know her place in the world of the halcyon 19th century, a time when the last dark corners of the map were being sketched out and travel still possessed a kind of magic.

One night in Switzerland, the mysterious Colonel James Bacchus attends Beatrix’s show. This larger-than-life English gentleman, reputed to have a voracious appetite for female conquests, is most notable for traveling the world in a four-story hot air balloon called The Ox.

Beatrix flees that night to join the Colonel, and the two of them make a narrow escape—Beatrix from her abusive ringleader, the Colonel from a freshly-made cuckold. Beatrix, feeling the Colonel may have the answers to her problems, pledges to help him catch the criminal he seeks in exchange for passage on his magnificent balloon.

The criminal seeks a precious figurine, The Blue Star Sphinx, but he’s not alone. The Sphinx’s immense value has also drawn the attention of the world’s most deadly treasure hunters. A murder in Antwerp begins a path of mystery that leads all the way to the most isolated island on Earth.

What dangers await the Colonel and the acrobat?

The Colonel and the Bee is available for purchase through these links.

About Patrick Canning

Patrick Canning

Patrick Canning lives in Los Angeles where he spends a lot of time stressing out over proper sentence structure. His greatest achievement is beating a dog in a hamburger eating contest, and he aspires to one day be on Jeopardy.

You can find out more by visiting Patrick’s website and finding him on Instagram @catpanning.

Cover Reveal: Too Far by Jason Starr

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I’m delighted to be helping launch Too Far by Jason Starr which will be published by No Exit Press on 22nd November 2018.

Too Far

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One night. One date. What have you got to lose?

Jack Harper isn’t a bad man, but he’s stuck in a loveless marriage with a mediocre job just trying to keep sober. The only good thing in his life is his son. When an old college friend introduces him to a new extramarital dating website, he tentatively reaches out to find a distraction from his misery. But when he goes to meet up with his steamy online date, he quickly realises it was a dire choice.

Soon, Jack finds himself desperately trying to prove his innocence for crimes he did not commit, and the life he once had – unhappy as it was – is nothing but a dream. Now, he’s living his worst nightmare. . .

As gripping as TM Logan’s Lies and as compulsive as Gillian McAllister’s Anything You Do Say, this intense psychological thriller is packed with shocking twists and turns and plays with a basic anxiety we all harbour: What if one reckless decision could ruin your life forever?

‘The ultimate page turner’ – Michael Connelly

‘A rocket-paced, propulsive, and utterly addictive thrill-ride. Jason Starr is a master of ratcheting up the suspense page-by-page, making it totally impossible to look away’ – Lisa Unger

‘Jason Starr is a brilliant storyteller…I loved Too Far, pure and simple, and I’d recommend it to anyone’ – Scott Pratt, bestselling author of the Joe Dillard series and the Darren Street series

Too Far is available for pre-order here.

About Jason Starr

Jason Starr

Jason Starr is the international bestselling author of numerous crime novels and thrillers.

He has won the Anthony Award twice, as well as the Barry Award, and his books are published in more than a dozen languages.

He lives in New York City.

You can find out more on Jason’s website, by following him on Twitter @JasonStarrBooks or finding him on Facebook.

Giveaway: Kill For Me by Tom Wood

Kill for me cover

My enormous thanks to Millie Seaward for inviting me to be part of the launch celebrations for Kill For Me by Tom Wood and for sending me a copy of the book in return for an honest review. I haven’t quite got to reading Kill For Me yet as life has got in the way but it doesn’t matter as I have a hardback copy of the book to give away to a lucky UK reader so that they can see for themselves just what an exciting book this is! You can enter at the bottom of this blog post.

Published by Sphere, a Little Brown imprint, on 26th July, Kill For Me is available for purchase through the links here.

Kill For Me

Kill for me cover

For years, two sisters have vied for the turf of their dead crime boss father. Across the streets of Guatemala City, bodies have piled up; the US Drug Enforcement Agency, operating far from its own borders, is powerless to stop the fighting.

But now one sister has a weapon that could finally win the war – a cold, amoral hitman known, fittingly, as ‘Victor’.

Freed from previous employers the CIA and MI6, Victor is a killer for-hire whose sense of self-preservation trumps all else. Yet as betrayal and counter-betrayal unspool in the vicious family feud, Victor finds himself at the centre of a storm even he could be powerless to stop.

About Tom Wood

tom

Tom Wood is a full-time writer born in Burton-on-Trent who now lives in London. After a stint as freelance editor and film-maker, he completed his first novel, The Hunter, which was an instant bestseller and introduced readers to a genuine antihero, Victor, an assassin with a purely logical view on life and whose morals are deeply questionable. Like Victor, Tom is passionate about physical sport, being both a huge boxing fan and practising Krav Maga martial arts, which has seen him sustain a number of injuries. He has not, however, ever killed anyone.

You can follow Tom on Twitter @TheTomWood and find out more by visiting Tom Wood’s website. You can find Tom on Facebook and there’s more with these other bloggers.

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Kill For Me UK Hardback Giveaway

Kill for me cover

For your chance to win a hardback copy of Kill For Me by Tom Wood, click here.

UK only I’m afraid. Giveaway closes at UK midnight on Friday 3rd August 2018.

Staying in with Joseph Reid

Take Off

One of the ways Linda’s Book Bag has evolved over the three years I’ve been blogging is to support new authors as they begin their publication journeys and today I’m delighted to be doing just that by inviting newly published Joseph Reid to stay in with me.

Staying in with Joseph Reid

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

Take Off

I’ve brought my debut thriller TAKEOFF.  It just officially released to the public-at-large on July 1 after being chosen as one of Amazon’s First Reads available exclusively to Prime members in June.  It’s obviously the only book I have out at the moment, but since TAKEOFF is the first entry in my series about air-marshal-turned-investigator Seth Walker, it’s also a logical jumping off point.

(What exciting times for you. Congratulations on TAKEOFF.)

What can we expect from an evening in with TAKEOFF?

Hopefully a night where we lose track of time and stay up far later than we’d intended! Those kinds of page-turners were always my favorites growing up—books where you get to the last page of each chapter and keep telling yourself, “one more, just one more” despite the hour on the clock.

(Oh yes! We all like those kind of reads Joseph!)

And that’s the kind of momentum I’ve tried to impart to TAKEOFF: it starts with a bang, literally, when Seth and the young girl he is bodyguarding are attacked in the first chapter, and then they are forced to race to save themselves from there.  Thankfully, readers seem to be getting that feeling I wanted, as “couldn’t put it down” is one of the most consistent comments I’ve received in the reviews.

(You must be delighted with that feedback. I think TAKEOFF sounds very exciting.)

What else have you brought along and why?

If we’re staying up late, we’ll need some sustenance.

(I agree!)

suchi

To eat, I’ve brought a variety of sushi and dim sum.  Like me, Walker lives in southern California and has spent extensive amount of time in Asia, so he’s developed a taste for Asian cooking.  On the raw side, there’s sashimi of salmon, kampachi (amberjack tuna), and saba (mackerel) on ice, while on the hot side we’ve got steaming baskets of shrimp har gow, pork siu mai, and siu lungh bao.  That should keep us going for a while and help us get into Walker’s headspace.  I hope you’re good with chopsticks!

(Hmm. I’ll do my best. I only recently got in to eating sushi when I went to Japan on a trip so you may have to forgive my chopstick incompetence.)

tea

To drink, a pot of Walker’s favorite: decaffeinated tea. He has this unique condition where his brain can shift into overdrive unless it’s constantly stimulated by content he listens to through an earpiece. Because of that, he scrupulously avoids caffeine and alcohol.

(Walker is a man after my own heart – there’s always all kinds of tea available in this house. I’ll put the kettle on!)

Thanks so much for staying in with me Joseph and telling me about TAKEOFF. It sounds like a very exciting read to me.

TAKEOFF

Take Off

Still reeling from a devastating personal tragedy, air marshal turned investigator Seth Walker embarks on his first case. All he has to do is accompany female pop star Max Magic to Los Angeles and deliver her to the FBI. But when their routine flight ends in a hail of gunfire at LAX, Walker has no choice but to take the frightened diva on the run.

After a second attack leaves him battered and bloody, Walker realizes he cannot trust the FBI. To keep his client alive, he must use a patchwork of trusted aviation contacts to get her home to Austin, where the key suspects await.

But as they race to stay one step ahead of their deadly pursuers, the biggest danger of all may be what they’re heading toward—the dark secrets that Max herself has been keeping…

TAKEOFF is available for purchase through the links here.

About Joseph Reid

Joseph

The son of a navy helicopter pilot, Joseph Reid chased great white sharks as a marine biologist before becoming a patent lawyer who litigates multi-million-dollar cases for high-tech companies.  He has flown millions of miles on commercial aircraft and has spent countless hours in airports around the world.  A graduate of Duke University and the University of Notre Dame, he lives in San Diego with his wife and children.

You can find Joseph Reid on Twitter @josephreidbooks, find him on Facebook and visit his website.

In the Dark by Cara Hunter

Cara Hunter cover

Earlier this year I was so lucky to host a guest post from Cara Hunter all about Positive Social Media to celebrate the publication of Close to Home. You can read that post here.

I’m thrilled to be part of the launch celebrations for Cara’s latest book, In the Dark and I’m sharing my review. I cannot thank Jane Gentle at Penguin enough for inviting me to be part of this tour and I’m honoured to be closing it today.

Published by Penguin, In the Dark is available for purchase through the links here.

In the Dark

Cara Hunter cover

A woman and child are found locked in a basement room, barely alive.

No one knows who they are – the woman can’t speak, and there are no missing persons reports that match their profile. The elderly man who owns the house claims he has never seen them before.

The inhabitants of the quiet Oxford street are in shock. How could this happen right under their noses? But DI Adam Fawley knows that nothing is impossible.

And that no one is as innocent as they seem . . .

My Review of In The Dark

When a young woman and a boy are found in a cellar, finding out who they are will not be easy.

Well my goodness. What a book. I was left reeling by Cara Hunters’ In The Dark. It is a magnificent read. Not only are the two captives literally in the dark at the start, but the police, other characters and the reader are all metaphorically in the dark too as this story writhes along.

Cara Hunter writes with fabulous skill. In the Dark is an absolute triumph of plotting with a stunning structure so that the reader has access to part pictures the police don’t necessarily have. So much information is presented through different means in diaries, bulletins, newspaper reports and so on, that this is a stunningly fresh and totally riveting read. I simply didn’t know what would happen next and every bit of the action was utterly convincing. I had to stop reading every so often to process the intimation I had received and reassess my theories so that reading In the Dark was like being on the investigative team itself rather than being a passive observer, giving an extra dimension of interest to an already captivating read.

Alongside the exciting and pacy story is such wonderful depth too. I haven’t read the first in the DI Adam Fawley series yet but I loved the subtle way Cara Hunter humanises the police so that we see who they really are as people and how they are affected by the crimes they have no choice but to investigate. I found this a very emotional and touching surprise. There are no stereotypical hard boiled detectives here, but rather real people I now care about deeply so that I have to go back and read Close to Home now too.

I also thought the way Oxford was presented as a backdrop to the action was intelligent and skilfully handled. The writing is nuanced and perfectly balanced. There’s a real sense of place but without it ever feeling contrived or not integral to the narrative.

It’s very difficult to review In the Dark without giving too much away and spoiling the experience for other readers. What I will say is that I have read some absolutely fantastic crime thrillers but In the Dark ranks among the very best. I thought it was utterly outstanding and completely magnificent and Cara Hunter is a genius.

About Cara Hunter

Cara

Cara Hunter is the pen-name of an established novelist who lives in Oxford, in a street not unlike those featured in her series of crime books, who is starting a new life of crime in a series of Oxford-based books to be published by Viking/Penguin.

She also studied for a degree and PhD in English literature at Oxford University.

Close to Home was her debut featuring DI Adam Fawley, and her second, In the Dark, is out now.

You can follow Cara on Twitter @CaraHunterBooks.

There’s more with these other bloggers too:

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Staying in with G K Holloway

What Fates Impose

Sometimes I really wish there were 48 hours in a day so that I could read every book I’m offered. Today’s guest to stay in with me on Linda’s Book Bag, Glynn Holloway, has one such book I really wish I’d had time to read.

Staying in with G K Holloway

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag, Glynn and thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.

Thank you for inviting me.

Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?

What Fates Impose

I’ve brought along my first, and so far, only published book, 1066 What Fates Impose. The sequel is still in manuscript form,so, not quite finished.

(But what an exciting stage to be at Glynn. When the sequel is out you’ll have to come back and tell us all about it.)

What can we expect from an evening in with 1066 What Fates Impose?

A historical novel that brilliantly weaves together fact and fiction in an epic struggle for the English crown. Family feuds, court intrigues, papal plots, assassinations, loyalties, betrayals, a love triangle and a few battles lead the way to the year that changed England forever. These events may have happened almost one thousand years ago, but such is the intensity of the story telling the history comes to life and the reader gets caught up in the events. Even though the outcome is well known, people find they still root for Harold, hoping he’ll somehow win the day.

(I think sometimes, knowing the outcome of a plot but seeing how the author gets us there is the really interesting element Glynn.)

What else have you brought along and why?

bayeux

I couldn’t help myself; I’ve brought the Bayeux Tapestry. I hope you don’t mind but I’m sure we can find a place to hang it. There are no films, videos or photographs of any of the events, but this pictorial version of my story is a great guide to the history, even if some crucial parts have been left out. I promise I’ll take it back in the morning.

(Crikey – it takes up quite a bit of room doesn’t it? I’ll have to shift some of those photos from our travels from the walls otherwise we’ll never fit it in.)

I’ve also bought along the sound track to the film, The Lord of the Rings. So many of the scenes in the film are like ones in my novel, at least superficially. Great halls, battles, clothing, etc. Because so many people have seen the film, it made my job of writing scenes much easier.

(I bet it did. There are some epic battles there.)

mead

I’ve bought some lovely food as my contribution to the evening. I think you’ll enjoy the roast swan and the goldfinch pie is a favourite with everyone.  Oh, and some lovely mead to wash it all down.

(I’ll have a glass of the mead, thanks, but I think I’ll pass on the food. I’m not certain goldfinch pie is to my taste.)

Thanks so much for staying in with me Glynn. I know I’d love 1066 What Fates Impose and I wish you every success with the novel.

1066 What Fates Impose

What Fates Impose

England is in crisis. King Edward has no heir and promises never to produce one. There are no obvious successors available to replace him, but quite a few claimants are eager to take the crown. While power struggles break out between the various factions at court, enemies abroad plot to make England their own. There are raids across the borders with Wales and Scotland.

Harold Godwinson, Earl of Wessex, is seen by many as the one man who can bring stability to the kingdom. He has powerful friends and two women who love him, but he has enemies will stop at nothing to gain power. As 1066 begins, England heads for an uncertain future. It seems even the heavens are against Harold.

Intelligent and courageous, can Harold forge his own destiny – or does he have to bow to what fates impose?

Published by Matador, 1066 What Fates Impose is available for purchase here.

About G K Holloway

Glynn

After graduating from Coventry University with an honours degree in history and politics, G K Holloway worked in education in and around Bristol, England, where he now lives with his wife and two children. After reading a biography about Harold Godwinson, G K studied the late Anglo-Saxon era in detail and visited all the locations mentioned in the sources. When he had enough material to weave together facts and fiction he produced his novel.

1066 What Fates Impose is the product of all that research – and some imagination.  A sequel is on its way.

You can find out more by visiting G K Holloway’s website, finding him on Facebook and following him on Twitter @GlynnHolloway.

Audiobook Blogtour: The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

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It’s a slightly different post on Linda’s Book Bag today as I’m taking part in an audio book tour for The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory read by Bafta award-winning actress,Vanessa Kirby and I am delighted to be able to share an extract from chapter three with you today.

Harper Collins will publish all 6 of Philippa Gregory’s best-loved Tudor novels over the coming months in audio format, with an all-star cast of narrators. In addition to Vanessa Kirby, the narrators include, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Cathleen McCarron, Georgia Maguire, Yolanda Kettle, Alex Kingston, Richard Armitage and Madeleine Leslay. The Constant Princess is also available from 26th July, read by Karina Fernandez.

Published by Harper Collins, The Other Boleyn Girl is available for purchase through these links.

The Other Boleyn Girl

The Other Boleyn Girl

This chance for us Howards comes once in a century…

1521. Henry VIII rules over a fashionable court alive with pageant and celebration, the lack of a son his only threat. When young Mary Boleyn arrives at court, she becomes his new mistress, an unwitting pawn in the ambitions of the powerful Boleyn and Howard families.

As Henry’s interest begins to wane, the Boleyns scheme to put forward Mary’s sister, Anne. Yet Anne Boleyn, newly returned from the French court, won’t agree to be Henry’s mistress – only his wife.

Pitting the king’s desperation for an heir against the advice of his powerful advisors, Wolsey and Cromwell, what follows will change the course of a country’s history.

The Other Boleyn Girl Audiobook Extract

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To listen to an extract from The Other Boleyn Girl click here.

About Philippa Gregory

philippa gregory

Philippa Gregory is an internationally renowned author of historical novels. She holds a PhD in eighteenth-century literature from the University of Edinburgh. Works that have been adapted for television include A Respectable Trade, The Other Boleyn Girl and The Queen’s Fool. The Other Boleyn Girl is now a major film, starring Scarlett Johansson, Natalie Portman and Eric Bana. Philippa Gregory lives in the North of England with her family.

You can follow Philippa on Twitter @PhillippaGBooks, visit her website and find her on Facebook.

You’ll find more details and audio clips with these other bloggers:

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