For anyone who hasn’t yet seen or heard me banging on about it (where have you been?), this month I became a member of the newly instituted Urbane Book Club. Now anyone who knows me will know I do not part with my money at the drop of a hat unless I think it’s good value. Trust me, this club represents excellent value. At £99.99 (say it quickly) I acknowledge it might not be your average impulse purchase, I know it’s certainly not mine. But having looked at what’s on offer I conceded I’d be daft not too – and it is nearly Christmas, so Merry Christmas to me!
So first of all, before the what do I get, who exactly is Urbane Publications? Urbane was founded by Matthew Smith in February 2014 and he’s come a long way in a relatively short space of time. You can read Matthew’s update on the company in this recent article which appeared on Never Imitate hosted by fellow blogger Jackie. In the run up to Christmas Jackie is also posting reviews of a small selection of their more recent releases alongside interviews with the books’ authors and the occasional guest post. So no excuse for not discovering Urbane.
I will admit that until fairly recently Urbane was not really on my radar, although on looking I did already have a couple of it’s books in my collection. Last year I reviewed the e-book 183 Times a Year by Eva Jordan. While at the time Eva was self published, she has now joined Urbane and the paperback was published in April. Also sitting on my bookshelf is As if I Were a River by Amanda Saint. I became more aware of Urbane however, following my Q&A with Simon Michael in October. What I liked about the company was the supportive and inclusive vibe that was given off. The authors are all very friendly, approachable and supportive, which also describes Matthew. It has a family feel and it’s an ethos I like and am happy to buy into. In fact I acquired a selection of titles as a result, namely:-
In addition I’ve also got the following wish list of back titles I’ll be acquiring. So you can see I’m quite smitten with Urbane.
Yesterday I was delighted to receive my first Urbane box, not even part of the deal, just a random selection of back titles to say thank you and welcome. That’s my kind of book post, and I’ll happily read every one of the titles included. Titles may vary in the welcome box, but everyone gets a coveted Urbane mug.
My well received books were:-
So back to what you will get – over to Matthew.
A full year of Urbane books – hot off the press!
From fiction to biography, politics to childrens, you’ll have a unique collection of books and more.
As an Urbane Book Club member you’ll receive a print and ebook edition of every new Urbane title published from the date you join for an entire year. Urbane currently publishes around 5 books a month
You’ll receive a 75% discount on any further purchases of Urbane titles through the Urbane website, including the entire backlist – all with free p&p in the UK
You’ll receive exclusive invitations to Urbane events and author signings
Each member will have the chance to receive pre-publication scripts of forthcoming titles
Every member will be able to book exclusive one-to-one writing and publishing sessions at a significant discount
All for the ridiculously low price of £99.99!
Have I tempted you yet? If you’re still wavering take a look at some of the forthcoming titles you’ll be guaranteed to receive.
‘Gifts ought to be free, but they never are. They tie you to the wishes of others. To your own sad expectations. To the penitentiary of your dreams.’ Late one night, Thomas Ruder receives a strange package: a small blue box. Another such item is delivered to his friend Liselotte Hauptmann. These ‘gifts’ will change their lives forever. In the far-off border town of Grenze, a play is to be performed at the Sheol Theatre. Reynard the impresario expects a very special audience. Thomas and Liselotte, together with their friend Johann, are drawn into Reynard’s seductive web, as Daumen, the gift maker, must decide who his master really is. The Gift Maker is a story about identity, about fulfilling your dreams and becoming the person you always were … at whatever cost.
New York 1936. Leading New York detective Simon Finch has received an unexpected inheritance and left the force to pursue his dream of becoming a writer. But a true detective is never far from finding trouble…or trouble finding him… A stranger approaches Finch in the Algonquin Hotel, asking him to help find his sister who has disappeared. When he later visits the man’s hotel room he discovers that he has been murdered – stabbed with a dagger decorated with strange markings. As Finch investigates further he discovers recently acquitted crime boss Fats Molloy is mixed up with the man’s murder and the missing sister. The trail leads him to an occult bookshop …has the missing woman been kidnapped by a group of Satanists, The Scarlet Coven? Joining forces with a black private eye, Patrick Murphy, who is also investigating the cult, they endure a series of wild adventures and close calls with demonic forces as they seek the truth about the mysterious leader of the Coven…and the nefarious plans for death and mayhem…
The second in the Hampstead Murders series opens with a sudden death at an iconic local venue, which some of the team believe may be connected with an unsolved murder featuring Cold War betrayals worthy of George Smiley. It soon emerges that none other than Agatha Christie herself may be the key witness who is able to provide the missing link. As with its bestselling predecessor, Death in Profile, the book develops the lives and loves of the team at ‘Hampstead Nick’. While the next phase of a complicated love triangle plays itself out, the protagonists, struggling to crack not one but two apparently insoluble murders, face issues of national security in working alongside Special Branch. On one level a classic whodunit, this quirky and intelligent read harks back not only to the world of Agatha Christie, but also to the Cold War thrillers of John Le Carre, making it a worthy successor to Death in Profile which was dubbed ‘a love letter to the detective novel’.
It is August 2014. Six Leeds United supporters set off for a short break in Bruges. Two brothers Allan and Johnny Collins – the former a successful businessman, the latter just out of prison – are visiting great-grandad’s grave on the Western Front, at the time of the centenary of the start of the Great War. They’re joined by Johnny’s mates, Craig and Terry; the tomboy Petra; and the out-of-sorts Yvonne, who failed to persuade estranged husband Tony to accompany her. For all the political events, historic and current, that surround them, they find it difficult to avoid discussion of the wildly eccentric new owner of their beloved football club as it languishes in the second tier of English football. He has sold the best striker and banned the Number 17 shirt as being ‘unlucky’. Meanwhile other obsessions, secrets and ambitions lie within their hearts. Can Johnny find love again, or a job? Will Terry make it as a photographer? Is Allan’s business as successful as it appears to be? What is the family secret behind the antique silver locket that Yvonne keeps in her handbag? And can she finally accept the result of the 1975 European Cup Final, and begin to move on with her life?
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.
With 50+ books in the pipeline you’re looking at £2 per paperback – so what are you waiting for – go for it! PS I’m not on commission!