Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Published in hardback 13th June 2019, and in paperback 1st October 2020, by Zaffre Books.
From the cover of the book:
In the sleepy village of Babel's End, trouble is brewing.
Bilal Hasham is having a mid-life crisis. His mother has just died, and he finds peace lying in a grave he's dug in the garden. His elderly Auntie Rukhsana has come to live with him, and forged an unlikely friendship with village busybody, Shelley Hawking. His wife Mariam is distant and distracted, and his stepson Haaris is spending more time with his real father.
Bilal's mother's dying wish was to build a mosque in Babel's End, but when Shelley gets wind of this scheme, she unleashes the forces of hell. Will Bilal's mosque project bring his family and his beloved village together again, or drive them apart?
Bilal Hasham is not a man who is comfortable with his Muslim faith. He cannot even remember the last time he set foot in a mosque. When he moved away from Birmingham with his family, their intention was to live an "English" life in the country, and for eight years they have succeeded. For all intents and purposes, they have settled into village life, as members of the community of Babbels End, although they are the only non-white family for miles. On the surface, they seem content with their lives and have made many friends, but things are not always what they appear to be...
When Bilal feels compelled to proceed with his task to build a mosque whatever the cost, the relationships both within his own family and with many of their neighbours change significantly - the majority of the villagers are outraged at the suggestion, seeing it as an attack on their traditional way of life, and Bilal is not really sure of his own standing with his wife and stepson either.
In the midst of strife, an unexpected light at the end of the tunnel appears, in the form of Bilal's aunt Rhuksana, who has lived most of her adult life in the shadow, and home, of Bilal's mother, after being tragically widowed at a young age. She speaks no English and has always been content to stay at home, away from the busy world around her, saying her prayers and writing poetry. She is not really arriving at the best of times, but her quiet presence and endless kindness has a profound effect on Bilal's family and the village of Babbels End. Rhuksana does not understand why everyone is so angry, and is determined to forge friendships where she can - even with the difficult Shelley. Why can't they all just get along?
This is a pretty complex story, with multiple themes beyond that of a Muslim man who is compelled to question his own faith and identity, at the behest of his dying mother. It is actually the ideas of friendship, love, home and finding a compromise in the face of change that shine through, above all else.
The nature of love is explored in the stories of many of the characters in this book - romantic love, matrimonial love, and parental love - both happy and sad. Friendships are broken and sometimes remade, but the story also shows that kinship can be found in unexpected places as well - even if those friends appear to have nothing in common. And I rather enjoyed how Ayisha Malik makes you think about what home actually means to us too, and how is this tied to our identity? Is it the place we are born, where we are living, or the people we live with? Plenty to think about here.
Big chunks of this book are really very funny and touching, which balances out nicely with the parts that deal with controversy and strife. It is loaded with humour and there are more than a few odd-ball characters for you to laugh at - in fact, it reminded me a little of some of the characters from the old Tom Sharpe books (Blott on the Landscape springs to mind).
This book was a slow burner for me, but once Rhuksana made an appearance she worked her magical way her way into my heart and made this story very special. Her kindness, her ability to see beyond the surface and her persistence in forming a friendship with even the most reluctant of villagers - while she was suffering from her own secret sadness - really made this book for me.
This is a very emotional story, which made me shed more than a few tears, and has left me with lots of things to ponder over too. This is a perfect read for the post-Brexit age.
This Green and Pleasant Land is available to buy now from your favourite book retailer - also available in ebook and audio formats.
Thank you to Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for inviting me to be part of this blog tour.
About the author:
Thursday, September 24, 2020
Published 10th September 2020 by Orbit Books.
From the cover of the book:The emperor's reign has lasted for decades, his mastery of bone shard magic powering the animal-like constructs that maintain law and order. But now his rule is failing, and revolution is sweeping across the Empire's many islands.
Lin is the emperor's daughter and spends her days trapped in a palace of locked doors and dark secrets. When her father refuses to recognise her as heir to the throne, she vows to prove her worth by mastering the forbidden art of bone shard magic.
Yet such power carries a great cost, and when the revolution reaches the gates of the palace, Lin must decide how far she is willing to go to claim her birthright - and save her people.
places across the United States. When her (admittedly ambitious) dreams of becoming a dragon
slayer didn't pan out, she instead turned to writing books. She now lives in sunny California.
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
By Helen Kitson
Publishing 18th January 2021
from Louise Walters Books
from Helen Kitson and Louise Walters Books:
her teaching job at an all girls’ school following a shocking outburst in the classroom after enduring
years of torment. Antonia enjoys her “nice” magazines, Diana is a regular at the local library, and
they treat themselves to coffee and cake once a week in the village café.
Naomi lives alone, haunted by the failure of her two marriages. She works in the library, doesn’t
get on with her younger colleagues, and rarely cooks herself a proper meal. Secretly she longs for
a Boden frock.
When a body is discovered in the local quarry, all three women’s lives are turned upside down.
And when Diana’s old flame Gill turns up unexpectedly, tensions finally spill over and threaten to
destroy the outwardly peaceful lives all three women have carefully constructed around
Helen takes us back to the fictional Shropshire village of Morevale in this, her brilliant second novel
which exposes the fragilities and strengths of three remarkably unremarkable elderly women.
children and two rescue cats. Her first poetry collection was nominated for the Forward Best First
Collection Prize. She has published three other poetry collections and her short fiction has
appeared in magazines including Ambit, Feminist Review and Stand. The Last Words of
Madeleine Anderson was published by Louise Walters Books in 2019. Old Bones is her second
Published 15th September 2020 by Orbit Books.
Under the name Mike Carey he has written for both DC and Marvel, including critically acclaimed runs on Lucifer, Hellblazer and X-Men. His creator-owned series The Unwritten appeared regularly in the New York Times graphic fiction bestseller list.
He also has several previous novels, games, radio plays, and TV and movie screenplays to his credit.
Sunday, September 20, 2020
Published 15th September 2020 by Source Books.
From the cover of the book:
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marieke Nijkamp comes a shocking new thriller about a group of friends tied together by a game and the deadly weekend that tears them apart.
For five friends, this was supposed to be one last getaway before going their separate ways—a chance to say goodbye to each other, and to the game they’ve been playing for the past three years. But they’re all dealing with their own demons, and they’re all hiding secrets.
Finn doesn’t trust anyone since he was attacked a few months ago. Popular girl Liva saw it happen and did nothing to stop it. Maddy was in an accident that destroyed her sports career. Carter is drowning under the weight of his family’s expectations. Ever wants to keep the game going for as long as they can, at all costs.
When the lines between game and reality start to blend with deadly consequences, it’s a race against time before it’s game over—forever.
About the author:
She holds degrees in philosophy, history, and medieval studies, has served as an executive member of We Need Diverse Books, and is the founder of DiversifYA.
She lives in the Netherlands.
Friday, September 18, 2020
Releaased 28th August 2020.
Narrated by Craig Bowles.
Listened September 2020.
From the cover:
Will physicist Martin Riley get the rewards he feels he deserves?
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
Since I started book blogging about eighteen months ago, I have learned so much about the publishing industry that I was not aware of before, even though I have always been a big reader and worked as a librarian for many years.
"I'm a reader, writer, editor and publisher. My imprint Louise Walters Books is tiny, indie, and receptive to books bigger publishers may not be able to consider. I aim to publish only the very best in adult literary and literary/commercial fiction, across all genres."Louise is an author herself and offers a critiquing service to writers. In 2017, inspired by the notion that her fiftieth birthday was approaching and if she did not do it then she never would, Louise set up her own publishing house, Louse Walters Books (LWB).
LWB, operates as a 'one woman band', has seven fabulous authors on the books and publishes up to four titles a year in a range of genres - in hardback, paperback, ebook and audio formats.
You can see the amazing range of books available from LWB, and purchase them direct, HERE.
Louise also offers a brilliant subscription service for those who wish to support her by more than just buying her books, which you can read more about HERE.. I am honoured to be one of her supporters myself.
I have had the pleasure of reading three of the LWB authors so far, who all write very different kinds of books - Diana Cambridge, Laura Laakso and Dominic Brownlow - and have shared the links to my reviews below so you can find out why I loved them all so much and hopefully be inspired to read them too.
LWB logo reproduced courtesy of louisewaltersbooks.co.uk
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Published 17th September 2020 by Zaffre.
LISBON, 1943: When her cover is blown, SOE agent Elisabeth de Mornay flees Paris. Pursued by the Gestapo, she makes her way to neutral Lisbon, where Europe's elite rub shoulders with diplomats, businessmen, smugglers, and spies.
Posing as wealthy French widow Solange Verin, Elisabeth must infiltrate a German espionage ring targeting Allied ships, before more British servicemen are killed.
The closer Elisabeth comes to discovering the truth, the greater the risk grows. With a German officer watching her every step, it will take all of Elisabeth's resourcefulness and determination to complete her mission.
But in a city where no one is who they claim to be, who can she trust?
Thursday, September 10, 2020
Published 10th September 2020 by Dead Ink Books.
From the cover of the book:
“At minus five degrees, even the densest blood materials start to turn: the beginnings of a human heart will still into black ice.”
There is a house, a beautiful house, that sits in a sought-after London location and is filled with priceless works of art. Joszef the elderly owner is ill; all he wants is some company until the end, and someone to trust his home to once he’s gone. Someone to help him over that final line, perhaps.
When Callum, a lost young man longing for direction, comes into his life, the pair form a friendship that transcends their ages. Lauren, Callum’s new girlfriend, has other plans, though. Calculating and ambitious, Lauren has already reinvented herself once and to reach the top she will do it again.
Pushed onwards by the poison of ambition and haunted by losses from the past, these characters are drawn together in a catastrophe of endings. Naomi Booth’s second novel is an unnerving dissection of class, xenophobia and compassion. Showing us the lengths that we will all go to in order to secure our futures, Exit Management will seize you in its cold hands and show you the dark heart within us all.