#Extract from White Lion @BooksOnTheHill #QuickRead #DyslexiaFriendly #Fantasy #QuickRead #LoveBooksTours @igbooktours #BlogTour

Extract/Excerpt from White Lion

Today I am taking part in the blog tour for White Lion, thanks to Love Books Tours. I have been specially given a little extract from the book to give you a sneak preview of what you can expect from this fantasy. White Lion is a Quick Read book and is Dyslexia Friendly. Discover the blurb and then find out a little about the atmospheric, tense part – The Lion At Bay.

The White Lion cover

Blurb 

In war-torn Acre, a different sort of battle is being fought as Tancred of Antioch, the White Lion, plays a desperate game of cat-and-mouse against those who would see the kingdom of Heaven in shambles. But, as armies inch ever closer, the question remains: who does the White Lion serve, Cairo or Jerusalem?

THE LION AT BAY

It was the soft scuff of booted feet that caused the man to whirl, one sinewy hand dropping to the hilt of his long knife. The sound of pursuit did not bode well in the tight warren of alleys that was at the heart of ancient Acre – sandwiched between the Venetian Quarter and what had once been the district of their ancestral enemies, the Genoans. But, the solitary man did not pause to see who it was who shadowed him. Not here; this no man’s land was not the place for confrontations. He spun and lengthened his stride.

By the moon’s fulsome light, he descended rough-hewn steps until he emerged into a crude square where four crooked alleys met. The Piazza di Lazaretto, it was called – the Lepers Square – for here is where the afflicted stopped on their way to the leprosarium of the Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem. This evening, however, the place was deserted.

Awnings of slatted wood protruding from mud brick facades, some mere frames hung with tattered canvas, spoke to the square’s use in the past. Nothing moved in the silver-shot gloom. No lepers seeking shelter. No street corner fences hawking stolen wares; no strumpets on the prowl or pimps looking for fresh meat; no dagger-men lounging in the shadows, seeking to hire themselves out for a dishonest night’s

work. Only a soft dry breeze reeking of dust and antiquity. In its rustle, the fellow heard the stamp of feet and the panted curses of his pursuers.

The White Lion copy

#BookReview By Lou of The Consequence of Choice By Natalie Sammons @N.sammonsauthor @Bloodhoundbook #LoveBooksTours #ConsequenceofChoiceTour

The Consequence of Choice
By Natalie Sammons

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Today I am delighted to be closing the blog tour for The Consequences of Choice, a rather emotional and incredibly thought-provoking book. Find out more in the blurb and my review below. Thanks to Love Books Tours and Bloodhound Books for inviting me to review and for gifting me a copy of the book.

Blurb

In a world where motherhood can be a crime, a woman risks everything to defy those in power . . .

Ten years after the world took drastic action to rein in overpopulation, Elspeth suspects she is pregnant—illegally—after a brief, alcohol-fuelled fling with Nick. Even procuring a test to confirm it would be risky.

As Elspeth tries desperately to keep her condition hidden from the authorities, a female detective becomes convinced something illicit is going on—and tries to resuscitate her own troubled career by pursuing this lawbreaker. But behind the scenes, two people are determined to come to Elspeth’s aid. One is someone close to her who has a secret. The other is someone she would never have expected. Now, as danger closes in, how far will they go to keep Elspeth—and her unborn baby—safe?

Review

This book is, although a bit dystopian and dark, it is actually really thought-provoking in so many ways, in what you might do if you were in Elspeth’s and Alice’s shoes in the overpopulated world, making it very different from some other thrillers. I reckon readers of Margaret Atwood’s books might appreciate the insights and cerebral aspects of this book.

Professor Alice Franklin reckons a one child per family policy needs to be implemented because the world is overpopulated by humans. This book isn’t talking about hundreds of years into the future, this is only just a handful as it initially takes place in 2025 at a UN World Summit in France.
In just a decade’s time, so 2035, there are Enforcers who ensure this law, that has now come into place, is implemented. The policy then gets out of hand and humans now need state permission to have a child at all. It shows how a seemingly innocent policy to help alleviate an issue can soon explode into something quite different and take all sorts of twists and turns.

It’s an intriguing read that feels like what one might say, an “important” read in that it deals with topics that have been talked about for so many years now, such as the human population size in the world. I am sure this book will start many debates in book clubs. 

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#Review By Lou of The Poet By Louisa Reid @LouisaReid @DoubleDayUK @RandomTTours #ThePoet #BlogTour

The Poet
By Louisa Reid

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Poet by Louisa Reid, nikita gill, manjett mann, poetry, poet

The Poet is powerful with current and universal themes told in ways readers may not expect. Check out the blurb and my full review below. First, thanks to the publisher – Double Day and organiser – Random T. Tours for gifting a copy of the book and for inviting me to review.

Blurb

The Poet Cover (1)Bright, promising Emma is entangled in a toxic romance with her old professor – and she’s losing control.

Charming, cruel Tom is idolized by his students and peers – and he thinks he holds all the cards.

In their small Oxford home, he manipulates and undermines Emma’s every
thought and act. Soon, he will push her to the limit, and she must decide:
to remain quiet and submit, or to take her revenge.

The Poet is a portrait of a toxic relationship, about coercive control, class
and
privilege: it is also a passionate, page-turning tale of female solidarity and survival.

Written in verse and charged with passion and anger, The Poet is a portrait of a deeply dysfunctional relationship, exploring coercive control, class and privilege. It is also a page-turning tale of female solidarity and survival.

louisa reid, the poet, erika waller, dog days, poetry

Review

The Poet gives a unique perspective as to how a story about life can be told, in that it is presented in verse inside its evocative cover. It’s a book that may prompt/provoke strong feelings to come to the fore.

There’s rawness, strong emotion, the harshness of life being challenging with a relationship being toxic and coercive control, with a softer tone of something beautiful in nature, a cat and female solidarity.
It looks great on a page, the way the words are set out to get their point across, but I also think it would be great being performed like “street/performance poetry”. There are elements that I imagined would sound great being said aloud, with its light and dark, with the shades inbetween.
The book is powerful, thought-provoking, sometimes soft, sometimes fierce with rage in its universally current themes.
There’s the idea of love, of how things could be for Emma in her relationship with Tom, then comes the searing reality of how the so called romance actually is, with a distinct creepy chill that is sure to run down any reader’s bones to see how his charm changes and turns bad, which has consequences and effects as the writing shows what someone coercing a lover can do and what happens next as a result.
There are places where it turns a corner, into how to survive and female solidarity that has some strength to it.
Overall it is an exquisitely written book.

About the Author

Louisa Reid has lived in Cambridge, London and Zurich, and now lives near Manchester. She graduated with a degree in English from Oxford before training as an English teacher at Cambridge University and she continues to work as a teacher. Louisa is the author of four novels for young adults: Black Heart Blue and Gloves Off were both nominated  for the CILIP Carnegie Medal.

The Poet BT Poster

#Review By Lou of The Slow Lane Walkers Club By Rosa Temple @RosaT_Author @BookMinxSJV @simonschusterUK @TeamBATC #BlogTour #FeelGoodFiction #ContemporaryFiction #Fiction

The Slow Lane Walkers Club
By Rosa Temple

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

 A book for those seeking the feel-good factor. It’s full of heart, soul and is picturesque for a wonderful summer read. Check out more in the blurb and my review below.
Thanks to Simon & Schuster – Books And The City for gifting me a copy of The Slow Walkers Club By Rosa Temple to review.

Walkers Club 3 pic

Blurb

Walkers Club 2 picDaniel isn’t used to living life in the slow lane. So when he finds himself unexpectedly jobless and back in his old Cornish hometown, he can’t sit still.

Hazel used to be adventurous too. But now widowed and in her eighties, she barely leaves the house. When she sees an advert for Daniel’s new walking club, she grabs at the chance of some excitement.

Daniel’s heart sinks when he sees that the only person who’s turned up for his walking club is the crazy old lady from two doors down. But what he doesn’t expect is to discover that Hazel is one of the most fascinating people he’s ever met . . .

A gorgeous, warm and uplifting story about friendship, community, adventure and the joy of walking.

Review

The sunshine yellow cover absolutely goes with this book. It’s bright and has a smiley feel-good factor.
I love walking, meeting people or just being amongst nature or good music streaming through the earphones and exploring, sometimes it’s serious stuff for charity. So, on that basis, The Slow Lane Walkers Club, I decided was worth a read as there’s so much about running etc, that I thought it nice someone talked about walking, so I jumped at the chance to read this book.
Even if walking isn’t your thing, there’s still so much enjoyment in this book.

Walkers Club 1 picMeet Daniel and Hazel on your “walk” through this book and step into an interesting, picturesque community in Cornwall.

Daniel is a fascinating character. He is relatable in that he can’t stay still and is coming up with new community ideas, this one being a walkers club. It’s easy to soak up the walking vibes.

I felt sorry for Daniel, after putting his heart into starting the walking club, albeit to pass the time until the house sells that his grandmother left behind (but readers know it would still benefit people for the greater good) and yet after his thoughtfulness, only one other person turns up – Hazel from two doors down, which, validly so, leaves him feeling so disheartened. At the same time, it’s easy to smile about Hazel because, even though she is in her 80’s, you can’t help be proud of her stepping out and giving it a go and continuing on to see what adventures life still has to give her, even though she is very slow. It shows younger folk, like me, that there’s still life when you hit 80’s, which is reassuring. She made me think of my gran in respect of walking, as she still went walking in a good chunk of her 80’s. It wasn’t what Daniel had expected nor planned, but then it turns into walking into unexpected self-discovery. Daniel discovers things about himself, as well as about Hazel and there’s much more about her than he could possibly have imagined, which, for the reader, makes her more interesting than previously thought and also knows quite a bit about Daniel’s gran.

The developing relationship between Hazel and Daniel is quite sweet and feels quite uplifting and if it wasn’t for the Walkers Club they would probably never have met like this, so it’s nice it champions such ventures, but also sets out some realities that some readers may find thought-provoking or inspiring. As I read, I had my fingers crossed that the club might pick up and gather more walkers. I kept wanting to know more and more about the two main characters and whether Daniel who really wanted to leave, pronto, would stay or go. Once started, it’s one that compels you to see if he can negotiate the obstacles and relationships he encounters in his life in Cornwall, which is so different in that it is slower than the previous chapter of his life he had been leading before. It was full of the sorts of adventures, his walking partner certainly couldn’t do now, in her 80’s; so the book poses interesting questions for the reader to keep stepping through Cornwall to come across answers as to how lives play out…

It’s a book full of warmth, care and lovely Cornish scenery to meander through at a relaxed walking pace that envelopes around you with feelgood endorphins and is a lovely, joyous summer read.

#Review By Lou of Dirty Little Secret By Jonathan Peace @JPwritescrime @HobeckBooks #CrimeFiction #Thriller #LouiseMillerSeries #Debut #readingcommunity

Dirty Little Secret
By Jonathan Peace

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Dirty Little Secret is gritty, entertaining and packs a twisty punch. It’s a great police procedural debut novel.
Find out more in the blurb and my review below. Thanks to the publisher – Hobeck Books for inviting me to review and for gifting me to book.

Dirty Little Secret cover

Blurb

March 1987
Ossett, West Yorkshire
A town of flower shows, Maypole parades and Sunday football games. Behind all the closed doors and drawn curtains live hidden truths and shameful lies.

A body is found
WDC Louise Miller’s first case as detective in her hometown is hampered by the sexism and misogyny of small-town policing. Her four years on the force in Manchester have prepared her for this. Along with ally WPC Elizabeth Hines, the pair work the case together.

What truths lie hidden?
As their inquiries deepen, the towns secrets reveal even darker truths that could lead to the identity of the killer. But when a second girl goes missing, Louise realises that some secrets should stay hidden.

Review

Be prepared to be transported to the 1980’s, an era captured well by Peace, with its telephone boxes (one which a body is found) and terminology. This is Jonathan Peace’s debut novel and also his main character’s first job in her new location in West Yorkshire – WDC Louise Miller. She had perviously been working in Manchester, so the transfer is quite a change of scene for her.
The year is 1987 and the opening date is Friday the 13th, adding a bit of a chill to the spine and even more so with some gruesome murders.


WDC Miller works with WPC Hines, the only other female on this West Yorkshire force. They get a bit of flack from the male officers, but they’re strong women and it’s nothing that they can’t handle. WDC Miller is compassionate, hardworking (since she has to give 110% at the very least) and is full of tenacity. She’s a great character to follow for a series of books.


There is a lot of authenticity to the writing, which immediately draws you in with its style. It’s a bit like Life on Mars like in characterisations which makes it quite entertaining and there are several twists in its grittiness. There are also references to real-life past cases, which adds to the atmosphere and interest in this fast-moving plot where all sorts of secrets begin to unravel, some of which were hidden for quite some time…

I recommend this book and there are more to come from Jonathan Peace.

 

 

#Review By Lou of The Silent Brother By Simon Van Der Velde @SimonVdVwriter #BlogTour #Fiction #BookRecommendation #TheSilentBrother

The Silent Brother
By Simon Van Der Velde

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

From the award winning author of Backstories, comes another well observed book –
The Silent Brother.
If you like Shuggie Bain or Brighton Rock, you may The Silent Brother. It is intensely involving and quite the page-turner. Take a look at the blurb and my review below. Thanks first to Simon Van Der Velde for inviting me to review on his blog tour.

Blurb

The Silent BrotherThe Past Never Dies

When his beloved little brother is stolen away, five-year-old Tommy Farrier is left alone with his alcoholic mam, his violent step-dad and his guilt. Too young to understand what has really happened, Tommy is sure of only one thing. He is to blame.

Tommy tries to be good, to live-up to his brother’s increasingly hazy memory, but trapped in a world of shame and degradation he grows up with just two options; poverty or crime. And crime pays.

Or so he thinks.

A teenage drug-dealer for the vicious Burns gang, Tommy’s life is headed for disaster, until, in the place he least expects, Tommy sees a familiar face…

And then things get a whole lot worse.

Review

The Silent Brother is heartrendering, well observed, intense and involving, with its setting in Newcastle. It’s easy to really get into it from the start and places, you, the reader, into it so you see everything and feel every emotion. The writing is very skillful here.
Tommy’s life seems mapped out through hardship, with an alcholic mam (mum) and violence striking through by his stepdad. Tommy is the main protagonist and is the narrator in this story of his life. His story is told in first person, which adds realism and emotion in all its gritty rawness of a life in squalor.

The book takes readers into Tommy’s childhood and adulthood and it’s a journey that packs a punch!

There’s a brother who Tommy feels a huge amount of guilt about – Benji, his brother. who he writes to. He goes with his mam on the train to do this each year, but never sees him, which is interesting to explore. 
There is also Daryl, a very dark character from a less than salubrious part of town. He insists there is no brother.
There are many questions that do get resolved and makes for a gripping read.

There’s a strength and tenacity in the characters created as they try to survive their predicaments that life has thrown at them, in the underworld of criminality and the poverty that they find themselves in. There is however, pockets of friendship to be found, a little lightness from the bleakness, with Annie who is also in a bad way, taking wrong turns in life.
There is much to experience and live through in this book and quite a few characters to meet, however unscrupulous they are, they all add to the atmosphere and plot rather well.

The Silent Brother is all consuming and a page-turner right to the end. It’s intriguing to see if and how someone lives through such hardships and if Tommy can come through it all, even though he is far from unscathed by all the trauma.