Julia Hughes - writing thrilling adventures - time after time after time.
If yesterday didn't bring you all the cards and red roses you hoped for, nil desperandum! Randall Peterson to the rescue: The charming rogue with a heart of gold, Johnny Lang appears in "For Ever More" an action/adventure/rom/com, over on Randall's site right now: There's Magic in Everything.
For discerning readers who enjoy Randall's eclectic stories (never boring) there's already two "Tales of Cloverdale", volumes one and two - available free to Kindle Prime members, or for only £2.18:
Click here to download a sample of Cloverdale, Volume one, Tales of Terror. and here for Volume two.
Both on my kindle now - so watch this space for a review!
Or available for pennies! So far this month, I've read two very different books; and I know many of you are avid readers who devour a novel a day, (probably before breakfast,) so before anyone jeers "only two?" I have a couple of excuses!
Book one was David Mitchell's latest "The Bone Clocks" (kindle version £1.99). My own view paraphrases that of *Joseph Heller, author of "Catch 22". It is unlikely that any author will ever be able to match the brilliance of "Cloud Atlas". That includes David Mitchell. However, I'd like to be wrong about this - in fact, I'd be ecstatic!
Book two was a joy to read - having devoured the last page, I immediately started re-reading. So Michael Murray's done it again - with Julia's Room. (currently less than a quid).
Set in the hey day of Fleet Street, at a time when women could be even more sexist than men, this was compelling reading. Fantastic characters who, frankly, deserve to have their own stories told. Dominating all was the narrator's obsession with the enigmatic, yet worldly Julia, who collects men's hearts like other women collect shoes. However, when a romance becomes too serious, Julia poses an all important question. Infatuated men are advised "to think carefully before you respond. Our future together depends on your answer." How can you not love this woman? Once again, effortless prose allows readers to enter the story, experience the heady atmosphere of a gossip hungry newspaper office, and stroll through London with the extremely likeable - and lively - narrator.
Our good friend and fellow author Jenny Worstall has recommended "The Miniaturist", (Jesse Burton) while the lovely Monica La Porta, in honour of Valentine's Day has a great gift for her readers - (time limited so grab yours now) "An Immortal Valentine's Day" - part of Monica's fabulous Immortals series is free to download & both these are on my kindle now - so thank you Jenny for the recommendation & thank you Monica for a generous gift. Happy Valentine's Day to all!
Nothing gets past me! I've just noticed Jenny's heart warming collection of short stories, "Jubilee Violin" topping Amazon's best sellers freebie charts - I suspect this is a time limited offer too, so go grab your copy now!
*At a party: Book critique to Joseph Heller. 'Such a pity you've never managed to write anything as brilliant as Catch 22.'
Heller: 'Yep. It's a crying shame.' Pause. (And I like to think a wicked grin). 'Of course, neither has anyone else.'
If it ain't true, it should be.
This week's is a retake on "The Three Little Pigs" - but this wolf is bigger and badder than any fairy tale.
The bearded one swears "A Straw House" is based on a true story and admits it's the most horrific tale from Cloverdale yet. He even managed to scare himself! (Shamelessly stolen from Randall's blog):
"I often get so into my work that I wake in the night needing to pee and race into the bathroom slamming the door behind me. On my return to bed I always jump at least four feet away onto the mattress (everyone knows a creepy hand will grab your leg from under the bed if you don't) ... Is this why my wife sleeps on the couch?"
Answers on a postcard please!
Moving on quickly - an update on Kindle Prime: A Ripple in Time and An Explosive Time are now enrolled. So new readers can download A Raucous Time and The Griffin's Boy for free from all good virtual book stores, and those who have Kindle Prime can borrow the remaining Celtic Cousins' Adventures, and/or The Griffin Cryer, and for a little light romance, The Bridle Path via Amazon. For more details, visit my author page Julia Hughes on Amazon, and follow the links. If you choose to follow my page, Amazon will send automatic updates on new releases - or click here to add your email and I'll send a personal shout-out.
Checking out twitter I saw Harper Lee trending and my heart sunk - fearing we'd lost her. For the past too many decades I've written to this lady, but never sent my puerile outpourings of gratitude for her gift to the world. But then the sky opened revealing a glimpse of heaven. Ring out the celebratory bells - prepare to see dancing in the streets.
Harper Lee has announced "To Set A Watchman" will be published later this year.
The timeline scrolled and along with tweets from tweeple delirious with joy, were the usual suspects; falling over themselves to be amusing and original by sneering. Yeah, it's beyond me too. Maybe it makes 'em feel a little bit better about being a non-entity, but more likely they don't have any real friends willing to pull them aside and explain that Harper Lee's genius is already legendary. She owes us nothing. We owe her a bottomless well of thanks.
And although I too suspect that nothing will ever come close to the brilliance that is "To Kill A Mockingbird", I don't give a damn, my order is in. Even more thrilling, and confirming my faith in humanity, it seems thousands share my sentiments.
"To Set A Watchman" is already topping the bestseller charts world wide, and is the number one bestselling book in the United States, and I predict, will remain there for many many months.
One last observation of twitter's Harper Lee's timeline. There are some expressing fears that Harper Lee is somehow being persuaded to publish against her will, or even knowledge. I sincerely hope this isn't the case. I sincerely hope that Harper Lee is aware of the respect she has worldwide, not only from her peers, but also from us, the ordinary people. Hopefully the fact that her second novel has shot into the bestsellers charts gives Miss Harper Lee some indication of how very much she is loved and admired.
A literary mystery; memorable characters who are all too human live and breathe in a vividly painted landscape, set mainly in Britain during the Seventies, a time when the old school tie network still prevailed. The scene is set as biographer Nigel Lush's latest (and only official) commission nears publication. His subject, Sir Maurice Brearley, served in the trenches of World War One, was instrumental in arming Britain for World War Two, and in retirement, was the founder of "Magnificent Britain", an annual "Best in Britain" garden competition. So far, so average. However, Nigel's last minute meeting with a dying man reveals a serpent in Sir Maurice's past.
This novel works on three levels. Readers are transported to the grandeur of country estates reminiscent of Brideshead Revisited. The author's descriptions vividly portrays the splendour of these great houses and gardens. Likewise, the scenes painted of London during the Seventies are wonderfully atmospheric and reminds us of an era when society sought to break free of the staid restrictions of class, social and sexual hypocrisy. Sir Maurice Brearley, recently deceased, together with his much younger (trophy) wife appear to epitomise the old guard. But then Nigel learns of a dreadful crime committed during the First World War, a crime which Sir Maurice helped cover up in order to save his own reputation.
Having clawed his way up from a terrace house in Lewisham, to an apartment in one of London's grandest squares, on the back of so called "Pop-Biographies", Nigel has fame and fortune. However, he is convinced that exposing the true nature of Sir Maurice's sinful past will bring the literary respect he craves; Nigel gets to work as an historical detective, so providing readers with a second theme of mystery.
Paradoxically though, apart from a few close friends, Nigel keeps his own emotions and desires a tightly guarded secret.
For me, this is where "Magnificent Britain" transcends the historical and mystery genres. It holds up a mirror to human frailties. Despite his faults, Nigel becomes very real, with fears of failure and ridicule, combined with ambitions to be accepted as a "serious" writer, and to find personal happiness: These sentiments are universal. The friendship between Nigel's housekeeper and the support he provides for her daughter is touching and poignant. But now moderate success as an hagiographer and a family man is thrown into jeopardy as Nigel uncovers the truth about "Magnificent Britain". He is faced with a stark choice: maintain the status quo or attempt to expose Maurice? By keeping quiet about the dreadful truth, Nigel will become an unwilling accomplice to Maurice's "crimes" and condemned to live with his own lies.
Finally, we hear from Sir Maurice himself, in the form of a diary. In addition to reliving the horror and outrage of WW1, Sir Maurice lays bare his own soul, and there is one final surprise; a completely legitimate twist that I dare any reader to predict. This third timeline added yet another dimension to the novel and marks Michael Murray as a gifted author; one who enables readers to suspend time and enter a different world, and really care about fictional characters who are so true to life, they actually exist.
"Magnificent Britain" is an exceptional novel, one I intend to re-read, and would highly recommend to friends and fellow readers.
Wren Prenderson; "A Ripple in Time" best hero.
"The Griffin Cryer" best Urban Fantasy. Thank you to the hard working judges and everyone who voted at the eFestival of Words, organised by Julie Dawson, of Bards & Sages.
A Raucous Time, A Ripple in Time, and The Griffin Cryer. Thank you to Julie and her hard working panel of judges and reviewers.
Follow on Twitter