World Poetry Day – inVerse – Poetry reimagined!

I am incredibly excited about this blog post because it’s all about celebrating World Poetry Day!

Launching on World Poetry Day on 21st March 2021, inVERSE is a collection of five of the world’s oldest surviving poems re-imagined for the 21st century through the medium of film, by the award-winning film maker Jack Jewers. 

Each film takes an ancient poem as a prism through which to explore the world today. With historical poems ranging from the 1st Century Italy to 1500 BCE Mesopotamia, these five short films explore time and the human condition using the language of the ancients and the modern film making techniques of the 21st century. In celebration of humanity’s long relationship with poetry on World Poetry Day, these five films are a reminder that in these troubled modern times, poetry still has the ability to sooth and inspire.  

Far from being dry, remote echoes of a long-gone age, each poem chosen for the collection feels like it could have been written yesterday. And why shouldn’t they? People are people. Our dreams are nothing new. Our ancestors had the same hopes and fears that we do. And if we can understand this, perhaps it helps to put some of the problems of our modern world into perspective. 

The five films being released to mark World Poetry Day on Sunday 21st March are:

·       Love Song –  An Egyptian love poem written in 1400 BCE reveals a meditation on the meaning of relationship and gender in 2021.  

·       Long Wall – A poem about loss and suffering from the Han Dynasty in China, opens up a conversation about Europe’s refugee crisis.

·       My Heart – Originating from ancient Mesopotamia, “My Heart Flutters Hastily” is a delightful reminder that those giddy, dizzy feelings you can get when you really like somebody are nothing new.

·       The Look – A first century poem taken from Ovid’s Ars Amarosa is reimagined as a celebration of inclusivity and tolerance.

·       The Dawn – The ancient Indian poet Kālidāsa’s Salutation to the Dawn transforms into a rallying cry for a better tomorrow led by young street protestors.

All five of the films are available free to watch via the inverse website inversefilm.uk.

Jack Jewers is a filmmaker and writer. Passionate about telling stories in all media, his body of work crosses film, TV, and digital. His short films and web series have been shown in and out of competition at dozens of film and web festivals, including Cannes, New York, Washington D.C., Marseille, Dublin, and London’s FrightFest.

In 2014 he developed and directed Night School, a web series based on the popular young adult novels of the same name. It quickly grew from a couple of low-budget short films to become one of the highest-profile British web series to date. Jack’s numerous short films as director include the critically-acclaimed Shalom Kabul, a dark comedy based on the true story of the last two Jews of Afghanistan. 

Jack has won several accolades for his film work, including an award from the Royal Television Society and a nomination for Best Short Film by BAFTA Wales. He has been invited to speak about his work at several major film and TV industry events, including Series Mania in Paris. Jack has also worked in advertising.

Through his production company, Queen Anne’s Revenge, Jack is currently in development on the fantasy TV series Whatever After, featuring Jessica Brown Findlay. He is also working on a small slate of feature film projects, including a thriller set in the international protest movement, entitled Generation Revolution. 

Away from the cinema in all its forms, Jack has a deep interest in literature and history. He writes historical fiction, and is the co-founder of the publishing company Moonflower Books. 

He lives near London with his wife, the author Christi Daugherty, a small menagerie of pets, and a friendly ghost. But that’s another story. 

Love Song – Based on the poem The Flower Song Anon. Egypt, c.1400 BCE. (Abridged).

Watch here: https://inversefilm.uk/watch/love-song 

A timeless declaration of love and desire, this poem feels as fresh today as it did when it was written – a long, long time ago. The imagery is strikingly sensual; how the narrator describes the sound of their true love’s voice as being like the taste of sweet wine; or wishing they were her very her clothes, so that they could forever be close to her body. It’s passionate, erotic, and quite beautiful

inVERSE: Love Song from Jack Jewers on Vimeo.

Long Wall – Based on the poem He Waters His Horse By A Breach in the Long Wall Anon. China, c.120 BCE

Watch herehttps://inversefilm.uk/watch/long-wall
Jack Jewers says: The first time I read this anonymous poem – dating from the Han Dynasty in China, sometime around 120BCE – I was blown away by its age. How can a poem this rich and vivid be so old? The idea for this whole series of films grew from there. The poem conveys such poignant feelings of separation and loss that it seemed to be perfectly suited to a tale of refugees, far from home.

inVERSE: Long Wall from Jack Jewers on Vimeo.

My Heart – Based on the poem My Heart Flutters Hastily Anon. Mesopotamia, c.1500 BCE

Watch herehttps://inversefilm.uk/watch/my-heart 

Originating from ancient Mesopotamia, “My Heart Flutters Hastily” is a delightful reminder that those giddy, dizzy feelings you can get when you really like somebody are nothing new. Whether it’s in a world of dating apps and socially-distanced love, or from a time that feels unimaginably distant, people have been falling in love the same way forever.

inVERSE: My Heart from Jack Jewers on Vimeo.

The Look  – Based on the poem Take Care With How You Look from Ars Amarosa by Ovid. Italy, 1st Century CE.  (Abridged).

Watch herehttps://inversefilm.uk/watch/the-look 

The Romans knew how to have a good time. The Look is an abridged version of ‘Take Care With How You Look,’ a chapter from Ars Amarosa (“The Art of Love”), by the poet Ovid. Its themes of rejecting false nostalgia about the past, and embracing the richness of the modern age, sounded to me like a celebration of inclusivity and tolerance. Of course, Ovid was writing about a very different age to our own, but the message holds as true today as it always has been. And what more fabulous harbingers this message than Drag Queens United?

inVERSE: The Look from Jack Jewers on Vimeo.

The Dawn – Based on the poem Salutation to the Dawn by Kālidāsa (attributed) – India, c.400 CE

Watch here: https://inversefilm.uk/watch/the-dawn 

Considered the greatest poet of ancient India, Kālidāsa is a founding figure of world literature. And yet, a lot of mystery surrounds Kālidāsa. Some scholars even question whether he was a real person, suggesting instead that his work a kind of collected greatest hits of the ancient Sanskrit world. And perhaps it’s appropriate that such an inspiring poem was written by a semi-mythical figure. It sounds to me like a rallying cry for a better tomorrow. And who better to get that across than young street protestors? 

inVERSE: The Dawn from Jack Jewers on Vimeo.

You can read all five poems on the inverse website here: https://inversefilm.uk/the-poems

Follow inVerse on Twitter: @inversefilmInstagram: @inversefilms, Website: https://inversefilm.uk/

Watch Dawn here:

#BlogTour #Audiobook The Evidence by K. L. Slater

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour The Evidence by K.L. Slater, narrated by Clare Corbett, Rachel Atkins, Alexandra Afryea & David Holt

About the Author

Kim is the million-copy bestselling author of twelve psychological crime thrillers. Kim’s titles are published by Bookouture, Audible and are available in paperback by Sphere in the UK and Grand Central in the USA.

For many years, Kim sent her work out to literary agents and collected an impressive stack of rejection slips. At the age of 40 she went back to Nottingham Trent University and now has an MA in Creative Writing.

Before graduating in 2012, she gained literary agent representation and a book deal. As Kim says, ‘it was a fairytale … at the end of a very long road!’ Kim is a full-time writer and lives in Nottinghamshire with her husband.

Follow @KimLSlater on Twitter, Visit klslaterauthor.com

About the book

When a killer’s podcast reveals more than the truth….

Esme is a start-up success who runs her own successful media company and heads up a series of investigative podcasts. She also has a beautiful home, where she lives with her sister, Michelle, and her son, Zachary. Sure, there’s an ex-husband hanging around – Owen likes to pop round a bit too often – but everything is civilised and amicable. She has life all tied up.

But Esme knows that any successful podcaster is only as good as her last story, so she sets out on a new series of interviews to get to the truth behind Simone Fischer’s high-profile murder of her husband. Self-defence, crime of passion or coldly pre-meditated? She emerges after one jail visit to discover that her sister has been viciously attacked and is in a coma. And so begins the unravelling of Esme’s life. Where she thought there was trust and loyalty, she slowly discovers deceit and betrayal. No one is quite who they seem – not even her closest family.

As the podcast interviews plunge deeper into revealing the unnerving psychology of a murderer, Esme must try to keep her own sanity intact. The truth – about Simone and Esme’s own family – is there, if Esme can only find it. But will her investigations reveal more than she ever wanted to know?

Review

Esme has her own media company and her thing is investigative podcasts. It’s all the rage to dismantle the details of true crime and if possible to solve complex, cold cases and cases where doubt hovers like a helicopter.

Esme is looking for the buzz. The type of story that gives you media-cred and helps to build your reputation. She juicier the better, but it also means she might dig too deep and uncover something that puts herself and her family in danger.

The high profile murder committed by Simone Fischer seems to be the right story to draw the listeners, but things go pear shaped really quickly when violence comes calling after she starts investigating. It is the beginning of a downhill roll. Esme has no clue what’s coming for her.

This reminded me of the brilliant Six Stories series by Wesolowski. The combination of modern media, a zest for true crime and the truth, and of course characters who run so close to the boundary of reality and fiction that it is hard to discern what is real or fiction.

When I listen to a well narrated book I often wonder whether the listening, and the very specific experience of multiple character narrators will give you the same experience if you are reading it. The audiobook gives this extra distinction and feel for the differences between the characters, especially when it comes to one of the female characters.

It’s a gripping psychological thriller, which has an incredible cast of narrators who bring life and an air of authenticity to the story.

Buy The Evidence in Audible Ukat Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Audible Original | 11th February. Buy at Amazon com.

Listening Length – 9 hours and 1 minute, Author – K L Slater, Narrator – Clare Corbett, Rachel Atkins, Alexandra Afryea, David Holt, Audible.co.uk Release Date – 11 February 2021, Publisher –Audible Studios, Program Type – Audiobook, Version – Unabridged, Language – English.

#BlogTour Ruthless Women by Melanie Blake

 It’s an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Ruthless Women by Melanie Blake and to begin with let me tell about the exciting book launch event coming up…

Melanie will be launching the book alongside two of TVs leading ladies Coleen Nolan and Beverly Callard who will be spilling the beans on their own personal lives for a digital book launch “Melanie Blake’s Girls Night in” that members of the public can buy tickets to for £10 including a copy of the book. Click here to book your place: A Girls Night In With Melanie Blake – Fane

About the Author

Melanie Blake is to UK TV what Jackie Collins was to Hollywood, both using insider industry knowledge to write authentic stories. Few writers can pull off the bonkbuster genre successfully and Melanie Blake is one of them. With her industry experience and knowledge shining through on the page, she effortlessly writes solid characters and scenarios based on real life events, that will have you playing a guessing game of who’s who!  So addictive it’s been described as a “binge read,” Ruthless Women is perfect for fans of Killing Eve and The Devil Wears Prada.

Blake’s own rags to riches story of pulling herself out of an early life of poverty and homelessness as a teen through sheer grit and determination to become one of the UK’s most successful talent agents reads like the plot of an outrageous novel itself. Just like Jackie Collins, Melanie Blake’s books are about showing that women are more than equal to men, and about exposing the double standards that women face in the worlds of entertainment, politics, and business – something that Melanie Blake has been doing all her life and continues to expose in Ruthless Women. 

A real life ‘Samantha’ from Sex and the City, Melanie Blake was inspired by reading Jackie Collin’s novels as a teenager to pull herself out of poverty and homelessness in Manchester to become one of the UK’s leading celebrity agents and has worked with everyone from Cher and Madonna to The Spice Girls and Destiny’s Child.  

Following in Jackie Collins’s footsteps, Blake is determined to bring the bonkbuster back for 2021 and a well as her own novel, she has written the forward for Jackie Collins novel Drop Dead Beautiful being re-issued by Simon & Schuster in November 2021 while her own novel Ruthless Women publishes on 18th February 2021. In summer 2021 Melanie Blake will go on a Jackie Collins author tour alongside Sunday Times Bestselling authors, Jill Mansell, Milly Robinson and Joan Collins’ daughter and author Tara Arkle. 

Follow @MelanieBlakeUK on Twitter, Visit melanieblakeonline.comBuy Ruthless Women

About the book

Ruthless Women takes readers on a wild ride behind the scenes of beloved TV drama Falcon Bay, beamed globally to millions three days a week from its picturesque location in the Channel Islands. But even in this beautiful coastal spot, tensions swirl. Once one of the world’s most popular soap operas, but now with ratings and syndication at an all-time low, the production has been sold to an American businesswoman, beautiful and malevolent Madeline Kane, the new network owner who arrives on the tiny island just off Jersey, determined to do whatever it takes to get the show back to number one.  

Writer Farrah, star Catherine and producer Amanda are the driven, ambitious women who keep the show on the road. But Farrah is losing episodes to the network’s lead male rival, Catherine is terrified of the public falling out of love with her and Amanda’s evil husband Jake, vice president of the network, is plotting to get his own wife kicked off the show.

As the dawn of a new era begins, cast and crew turn against each other with loyalty, decency, and trust, replaced by scandal, betrayal, and an outrageous ambition to survive. 

In a true battle of the sexes, these women will do anything to stay on top. But can they team up to bring down their male rivals? Or will jealousy, betrayal and revenge tear their long-held friendships apart? 

As the story reaches a climax so shocking readers will be talking about it for decades, one thing is certain: only the most ruthless woman will survive…

Review

The world’s most popular soap opera, Falcon Bay, has a new owner. Madeleine Kane is determined to ensure the show is on the tip of everyone’s tongue and top of the ratings game. It’s let the games begin when it comes to staying ahead in the creative process and ahead of the competition.

Amanda, Catherine and Farrah are used to keeping Falcon Bay at the top and they intend to keep it that way, regardless of affairs, betrayal, conniving male competitors and new owner. They least expect push back from a corner and person who should by rights be helping them to achieve their goals and keep their jobs. It’s a dog eat dog world of showbiz, carnal pleasure and ruthless women, who will stop at absolutely nothing to be at the top.

I read the book before I read the promotional blurbs, and the first thing I thought of was Jackie Collins. The comparisons are right on the money. Just like Hollywood’s answer to glitzy romp and scandalous bonkbusters (gotta love that phrase), Blake has an eye for combining the lascivious and the outrageous. 

It’s bold and doesn’t give two monkeys, both from a character and a plot perspective. The joy of the hot raw need combined with scandal and characters willing to take what they want when they want is a genre that has somehow wandered into obscurity. It is neither the pulse raising romance of a naughty Mills and Boon, nor the bodice-ripper of the 80s or indeed the genre that panders only to those who like their love thrills with a bit of whip and a side portion of bondage. This straddles the wall between them all. Pun totally intended.

Buy Ruthless Women at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Head of Zeus pub date Feb 18 2021 |HB | £12.99. Buy at Amazon comHiveBookshop orgWaterstones.

#BlogTour Audiobook – Dear Lina by Jess Glaisher

It’s an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for the Audiobook Dear Lina by Jess Glaisher, narrated by Amélie Roch and Dervla Kirwan, 

About the Author

Jess is a queer disabled feminist and activist, whose writing focusses on LGBTQ+ character representation, mental health visibility, and the lives of women. Her first short story ‘Destiny’ appears in the anthology (Re)Sisters: Stories of Rebel Girls, Revolution, Empowerment and Escape. Her work has also been featured in Novelty Magazine, Severine Lit, The Tiny Narrative, and on Dear Damsels, including their print anthology for 2019. 

She writes alongside a creative collective of women who met through the amazing Write Like a Grrrl course. She has written a TinyLetter about her mental health called The Stories I Tell Myself, as well as a blog about her experiences with endometriosis called Eight Years and Counting.

Follow @JGlaisher on Twitterjessglaisher_writer on Instagram, on Goodreads, Visit jgrenaissancewoman.comBuy Dear Lina

About the book

 England is recognisable on the surface: the buildings are the same, there is still a government, the tube still runs through London. For Lina, however, the England she knew when she was little, when her mum was still around, has disappeared completely.

Arriving home one day to find her mum gone, Lina finds in her place a leather-bound notebook containing hundreds of pages of her mum’s handwriting: letters of advice and memories; all the things her mother would no longer have the chance to teach her. Through these pages, Lina learns that her mother, Eve, left in the middle of the night to avoid being arrested. The Government crackdown on immigrants meant that Eve either had to flee or risk the same fate as her friends; friends who were taken away from their homes and families, but never made it back to their country of birth.

Taking Eve’s advice, Lina leaves her life behind, and sets off on a journey north to Scotland to find freedom and, she hopes, her mother.

Review

I hope this is released in book format, although there is a particular emotional element to hearing both characters speak to each other. I loved it. There is so much packed into this dystopian read, but in a subtle way, which means the reader may be paying attention to either woman and the oppressive structure of the time Lina lives in flows alongside like a bad dream.

The story is delivered by mother and daughter, as both narrate in turns. The mother speaking about the all the hopes and dreams she had and has for her daughter. The daughter as she tires of the Big Brother society, the inability to live and love as she pleases, and as her thirst for freedom grows stronger.

All that is left of her mother are memories and a notebook with thoughts her mothers wants her to acknowledge and hear. The mother who disappeared without a trace one day. Is she alive or is she a victim of the suffocating rules of the country they live in.

It’s a scathing social commentary on our own times and yet takes place in a dystopian setting. A moving and harsh scenario that shines a light on the systemic racism, discrimination of the population, but predominantly of those considered to be inferior and different. Women fit into that category, non-whites fit into that category and any LGBTQ+ fit into that category, as do Lina and her mother.

This author is definitely one to watch out for in the future. The intuitive, intelligent and accurate portrayal of a futuristic society bogged down by the shortfalls of the one we live in today is a sharp tongued warning delivered with finesse. Excellent listening experience.

Buy Dear Lina at Audible Ukat Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

Listening Length – 9 hours and 7 minutes,  Author – Jess Glaisher, Narrator – Amélie Roch, Dervla Kirwan, Audible.co.uk Release Date – 03 December 2020, Publisher – Audible Studios, Program Type -Audiobook, Version – Unabridged, Language – English.

#BlogTour Audiobook – No Ceremony for the Dead: Stories from the Margins by Shane Dunphy

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for Book 3 in the Audiobook series Stories From the Margins – No Ceremony for the Dead by Shane Dunphy.

About the Author

Shane Dunphy was born in Brighton in 1973. A child protection worker for 15 years, he is the bestselling author of 16 books. His first nine titles dealt with his time on the frontline of social care work, and include the number one bestseller Wednesday’s Child. His series of crime novels (written under the name SA Dunphy) feature the emotionally damaged criminologist David Dunnigan. Stories From the Margins, his new series of True Crime books written for Audible, is critically acclaimed as well as being an audio-bestseller.

Follow @shanedunphy1 on Twitteron Facebookshanedunphyauthor.comBuy No Ceremony for the Dead: Stories from the Margins 

About the book

‘I know I has special needs. So does Stanley and Francis and Billy and Josh. People don’t listen to us, ’cause they thinks we’re thick in our heads.’

Charlie works at St Patrick’s residential home, where the walls are so thick no one can hear you cry. He’s asking child protection expert Shane Dunphy for help, before someone gets murdered. Charlie tells him of mistreatment, brutality and random cruelty, and now Maisie, his girlfriend, a resident at the home, has gone missing. When Shane finds out what has happened to Maisie, he knows he’s uncovered a world of trouble.

Shane works his connections and, together with the ingenuity of the care home residents, attempts to subvert and infiltrate the system and bring the guilty to justice.

Review

In this third book of the Stories from the Margins series, which is part memoir and true crime, the author turns his attention on a story about St Patrick’s residential home. A place that purports to protect the vulnerable special needs adults it is supposed to be caring for. Instead it has become the hunting ground for an habitual abuser, a person who enjoys the power, pain and humiliation of his charges.

After being approached by a vulnerable young man who has come looking for assistance from the man who helps those who are unable to help themselves. Shane believes Charlie’s tale is enough to warrant a closer look into the accusations of abuse, what follows is the kind of truth that needs to be made public and the voiceless deserve to be heard loud and clear.

What I really enjoy about the way Dunphy approaches this series is the way he breaks up the listen with music and folklore, both of which give context and flavour to the story. The history on the way imperfect children were treated historically, which explains misconceptions and attitudes towards them. The chapter on the Changelings was especially interesting, albeit it very tragic.

Now this may seem to be an odd angle to work when it comes to true crime, however it turns the listen into a learning experience and an enjoyable one too. It also serves the purpose of being able to listen to the hard stuff by inserting breathers – music, folktales, historic crimes – intermittently throughout the audiobook.

The result is an invigorating encounter for the senses, a talent and style specific to this author, as he guides the listener with his dulcet tones and Irish lilt. Always an exceptionally enjoyable experience.

Buy No Ceremony for the Dead at Audible UkAmazon Uk, Published by Audible Studios – pub date 14 Jan 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

Listening Length – 8 hours and 19 minutes, Author – Shane Dunphy, Narrator – Shane Dunphy,  Audible.co.uk  Release Date – 14 January 2021, Publisher – Audible Studios, Program Type – Audiobook, Version – Unabridged, Language – English.

Read my review of the Audiobook – The Bad Place: Stories From the Margins by Shane Dunphy.

#BlogTour One Chance: Surviving London’s Gangs by Terroll Lewis

“It’d be easy for me to go back to my old life, but I know where that old life leads you. You’re either behind prison bars or six feet underground.” 

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour One Chance: Surviving London’s Gangs by Terroll Lewis

About the Author

Terroll Lewis is the founder of the Brixton Street Gym, a charity-based community gym that has gained a huge cult following in the short time that it has been around. He also founded the Block WorkOut Foundation — the charitable base that supports this amazing gym, making it accessible to everyone regardless of income — and The ManTalk, an online platform that promotes male positivity.

Terroll had been embroiled in some of the most serious street gang warfare even seen in London, leading a band of armed and dangerous young men through the streets of the city, a wild time that ended in him being accused of murder. He was eventually acquitted of the crime and proven innocent, but is thankful for his time in prison, as it enabled him to re-evaluate his life and come out a better man, the man he is today.

Terroll Lewis has been named an Evening Standard Next Generation Trailblazer as well as Men’s Health most inspirational black men of 2020.

Follow @TerrollLewis on Twitteron GoodreadsBuy One Chance: Surviving London’s Gangs

About the book

Born and raised on Brixton’s notorious Myatt’s Field and Angell Town estates, Terroll Lewis has lived a crazy life. Surrounded by gang culture from an early age, like so many other young inner-city people, he found it hard to resist the lifestyle.

By the time he was 15, he had already joined a gang, been stabbed, shot at, and was selling drugs. A chance to play professional football at Stevenage offered him a way out, but the short-term allure of a glamorous street life — the promise of girls, money, and cars — compared to the £50 a week he was being paid to play football, led Terroll back to South London and the notorious OC, or Organised Crime, gang. 

Violence and drug dealing were the norm in OC, and in 2009, aged 20, Terroll was accused of being involved in an extremely serious crime. After spending 11 months inside Thamesmead’s Belmarsh prison, he was acquitted of all charges and released back into mainstream society, which signalled the start of a new life.

Having used fitness, and callisthenic exercises in particular, as a coping mechanism while in prison, Terroll soon realised that there were other people like him who couldn’t pay for a gym membership, but still wanted to keep fit. Determined to spread the word further, he created a YouTube video demonstrating his workout regime. The views and messages quickly began rolling in, which encouraged Terroll to start conducting classes in local parks. As his client base grew, so did his ambition and self-belief. Leveraging his rapidly growing social media fame to reinforce his case, Terroll was granted a spot – a converted depot on Somerleyton Road in Brixton – to turn the newly titled Block Workout into a fully-fledged street gym.

Through Block Workout and Brixton Street Gym, Terroll is now able to give something back to the community he was raised in, offering young people an opportunity to follow a different road to the one he took during his adolescence — helping them to develop their minds as well as their bodies — and the chance to live a better life.

Not only is One Chance a truly authentic guide for the urban youth, steering them through the world we live in today – from education and relationships, to jail, social media and mental health issues – it also has the power to educate wider society on the experiences that this frequently demonised demographic face. Whichever form it takes, the aim of the book is to increase understanding on both sides, leading to a more harmonious, progressive, and positive society.

Review

I think it’s one thing knowing something and another to experience it, which is what flows through from the author to the reader in the strongest way possible in this read. It’s unfathomable for the majority of us to accept there are certain areas in our first world country that resemble a war zone. A war zone where street law reigns supreme over any other laws.

For many being born into these areas is the first choice when it comes to roads taken and for the majority it is the beginning of a life full of minimal choices and prospects. That is the stark and brutal reality of certain demographics.

Terroll is one of those children, who experiences the violence before he is even born, and unfortunately goes on to live a life full of said violence. His walk through life is a thin tightrope leading past go and straight to prison. He credits his time in prison and the fight to prove his innocence with the epiphany of needing to try and find another path to walk upon.

Part of that choice was coupled with the determination to help others and give them the opportunities that he and others lacked. With Block Workout, Brixton Street Gym, and his courage to step outside of the box and stereotypes determined by society, he has managed to create a living legacy.

It’s remarkable how he fights against the stereotypes, the systemic racism, the pressure to belong, and above all has the strength to take the hard road after being on the one society expects him resign himself to. It’s a brutally honest and often shocking piece of work, which will remain with me for a long time. Kudos to Lewis.

Buy One Chance at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Ad Lib Publishers Ltd, pub date 21 Jan. 2021. Buy at Amazon comHiveBookshop orgWaterstones.

#Audiobook #BlogTour The Bad Place: Stories from the Margins by Shane Dunphy

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Audiobook BlogTour The Bad Place: Stories from the Margins by Shane Dunphy – narrated by Shane Dunphy.

About the Author

Shane Dunphy was born in Brighton in 1973. A child protection worker for 15 years, he is the bestselling author of 16 books. His first nine titles dealt with his time on the frontline of social care work, and include the number one bestseller Wednesday’s Child. His series of crime novels (written under the name SA Dunphy) feature the emotionally damaged criminologist David Dunnigan. Stories From the Margins, his new series of True Crime books written for Audible, is critically acclaimed as well as being an audio-bestseller.

Follow @shanedunphy1 on Twitteron Facebook,  Visit shanedunphyauthor.comBuy The Bad Place: Stories from the Margins 

About the book

The Bad Place sees Shane Dunphy contacted by an old friend seeking advice about children who went missing in the 1980s. The call forces him to revisit a dark time in his early career as a child protection officer, when a young girl described children in care being taken to a residence known as the Bad Place. As a conspiracy emerges that goes to the top of the Irish police and Government, Dunphy recognises the MO of the alleged killer as The Dark Man, a terrifying figure he encountered over thirty years ago, who nearly ended his career before it had even begun.

Determined to confront his past, Dunphy decides to investigate, uncovering a vast international child trafficking ring involving cases of historical child disappearances, unsolved abductions, collusion with the Catholic church and its culture of secrets, lies and cover up

Review

I love the way the music, the talk of the culture, history and folklore of Ireland are interwoven into the stories. The frightening uncertain balance between fact and fiction, abuse and murder, and the general stereotypical ideas that come to mind when the country and people are mentioned.

Dunphy lifts the lid on the horrors, the reality and the unspoken is a direct contradiction to the image portrayed by anyone outside of the aforementioned. These brutally honest stories of True Crime will often make listeners shake their heads in horror, dismay and disbelief, especially given what appears to be complacency about the systemic abuse and murder committed against children and the vulnerable in Ireland.

Dunphy also delves into the status of the Irish Travellers as an ethnic minority. History builds a picture of why there is such a divide between the travelling community and the rest of Ireland. There is so much in this second book in the Stories from the Margins it would be hard to go into each story individually and would also spoil the listen for other listeners.

I’ll be honest some of the stories are tough to listen to, others are riveting because they explain so many unanswered questions, but overall this is a fascinating listening experience. One I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.

Dunphy’s personal experiences result in a commentary, which will of course be uncomfortable for many, but it is important to open the doors on these horrors that the perpetrators want to keep hidden. Too many predators are organised in a way that is shockingly accurate, clever and done in a way that functions just below the surface of the face of normality. Somebody has to be the voice of the lost, the innocent and the forgotten. Shane Dunphy is one of those important voices.

Buy The Bad Place: Stories from the Margins at Amazon Uk 

Listening Length – 7 hours and 43 minutes, Author – Shane Dunphy, Narrator – Shane Dunphy, Audible.co.uk Release Date – 15 October 2020, Publisher – Audible Studios, Program Type – Audiobook, Version – Unabridged, Language – English.

Stories From the Margins #3 – Ceremony For the Dead (to be released March 2021)

Ceremony of the Dead – A group of childhood friends are coming after the man who abused them and put one of their friends in a coma; can Shane Dunphy stop their murderous plans but still bring the predator to justice?

#BlogTour #Audiobook Little Whispers by K.L. Slater

Today it’s my turn on the Blogtour Little Whispers by K.L. Slater.

Released in audio on 21st May 2020, Little Whispers will be narrated by prolific audio narrator, Lucy Price-Lewis, who has narrated ten of Slater’s previous novels on Audible, in addition to voicing over 100 audiobooks, including thrillers by Lynda La Plante, Leigh Russell and Malorie Blackman. Little Whispers is published in print on the same date by Bookouture, and the audiobook is available to order on Audible here: Little Whispers at Audible Uk

Little Whispers follows the release of Slater’s audio-first novel, The Apartment, on Audible in 2019.

About the Author

For many years, Kim sent her work out to literary agents and collected an impressive stack of rejection slips. At the age of 40 she went back to Nottingham Trent University and now has an MA in Creative Writing.

Before graduating in 2012, she gained literary agent representation and a book deal. As Kim says, ‘it was a fairytale … at the end of a very long road!’ Kim is a full-time writer and lives in Nottinghamshire with her husband.

Follow @KimLSlater on Twitteron Goodreads,  Visit klslaterauthor.comBuy Little Whispers

About the book

When Janey Markham moves to the smartest address in a suburban town, full of gossipy local mothers, she’s delighted when she meets Tanya, the kind of woman Janey has always looked up to. As Janey and Tanya grow closer, Janey feels she can finally leave her troubled past behind. But then everything changes…

In a weak moment over a bottle of wine, Janey finds herself telling Tanya her most shocking secret. And when Janey witnesses something that makes her suspect Tanya’s daughter, Angel, of being involved in a murder, Tanya threatens to make sure that her Janey’s dark secret gets out. Janey faces an impossible choice. Stay quiet about what she saw. Or speak up, and destroy the family she has worked so hard to protect…

Review

Janey is two sheets to the wind when she tells Tanya her secret. She doesn’t expect to end up in a situation where she uses it as an effective way to silence her. She might have been more careful, but hey the booze and the fact she feels vulnerable and in over her head in her new neighbourhood. She feels like the poor relative in a community full of rich people.

It’s a nice little moral dilemma. You tell someone your darkest secret in a vulnerable moment, perhaps in an attempt to bond with that person. Then you see the daughter of your friend potentially take part in a crime, but can’t say anything, because your secret has made you a target for blackmail. What do you do? Risk your secret coming out or keep stumm about the potential criminal? What say you?

It’s a domestic thriller with an intriguing premise. Questioning the loyalty of people in general and whether you ever really should trust anyone with your most treasured secrets. There will always be a possibility that someone will reveal it. As sad as it is I always tell my kids to only ever tell people things they would be happy to hear about themselves through the grapevine of the gossip mill, because people who keep secrets forever is a bit like finding a unicorn. Someone always tells and deathbed confessions are very popular.

Slater takes a common scenario of anxiety and trying to fit in, and turns it into the kind of read you can both relate to and find yourself shaking your head at whilst reading.

Buy Little Whispers at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Bookouture; pub date 21 May 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

Listening Length – 9 hours and 18 minutes, Author – K. L. Slater, Narrator – Lucy Price-Lewis, Whispersync for Voice – Ready, Audible.co.uk Release Date – 21 May 2020, Publisher –Audible Studios, Program Type – Audiobook, Version – Unabridged, Language – English,

#BlogTour Audiobook: Animal Societies by Ashley Ward

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for the Audiobook – Animal Societies: How Co-Operation Conquered the Natural World by Ashley Ward.

Written and narrated by Ashley Ward, Professor of Animal Behaviour at the University of Sydney, Animal Societies takes listeners around the world to give an incredible insight into the intimate worlds of social animals. Perfect for fans of David Attenborough, Animal Societies explores how the study of animals’ social behaviour can reveal much about mankind’s own behaviour, including leadership, empathy and selflessness.

About the Author

Ashley Ward is Professor of Animal Behaviour at the University of Sydney and has travelled extensively for his research all over the world – studying lions and elephants in Kenya, whales in the Azores and Tonga, crows in Iceland and Nevada, and fish in Lincolnshire.

Follow @ashleyjwward  @audibleuk on Twitter, Visit ashleyward.netBuy Animal Societies

About the book

Animal Societies is a voyage of discovery across desert, forest, tundra and ocean to uncover the many benefits and intricacies of sociality in the animal kingdom.

Taking listeners on a journey from Aysgarth Falls to the Great Barrier Reef, Animal Societies explores the intimate worlds of social animals, demonstrating how studying their social behaviour provides insights to the development of such things as empathy, altruism, leadership and language. It’s clear that animals are not so far removed from us as we might imagine

In a time where humans are struggling to navigate cityscapes, isolation and a loneliness epidemic, Ward shows us that studying the social behaviour of animals offers a window into the evolutionary basis of our own species.

Review

Ward makes animal behavioural science both a learning and a captivating listening experience. The personal thoughts are woven seamlessly into the more serious aspect of the book, which isn’t without its merits when it comes to science.

It’s quite curious how humans create this invisible barrier between themselves and animals. The hierarchy of living creatures – oh and humans must be perceived as different, because our evolution suggests a superiority. Not many think of comparing us to them. How can studying animal behaviour give us insights into societal roles, communities and behaviour? For some it’s hard to fathom the commonalities and comparisons.

I especially enjoyed the last chapter, which suggests that we can’t simply explain certain base instincts and behavioural patterns based on the echos of our ancestral dna. The differences in species and their responses to specific stimuli can help us to understand their behaviour and in turn ours.

It’s a fascinating read, and I can honestly say I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up another book or read by Ward for educational purposes and for a read or listen that promises an expansion of knowledge, as opposed to trying to rein it in with mothball covered theories that support antiquated thought processes.

On a final note, which takes me back to the start of this audiobook and indeed Ward’s own travels. It might bring him some joy to know that where his journey was one of rejection and endurance at times, in regards to learning and sharing the same space with animals whilst doing so, that for younger generations it has become slightly easier to get access to this kind of learning and physical experience. Case in point when we spent a few weeks driving our daughter to Scarborough Sea Life Centre each day a few years ago so she could clean up smelly penguin poop and cut up baby chicks for the animals. Zoological careers and opportunities are evolving.

Buy Animal Societies at Amazon Uk  Publisher: Audible Uk; pub date 23rd April 2020. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Audible.co.uk


Listening Length – 13 hours and 36 minutes, Author – Ashley Ward, Narrator – Ashley Ward,  Audible.co.uk Release Date – 23 April 2020, Publisher – Audible Studios, Program Type – Audiobook,Version – Unabridged, Language – English.

#BlogTour Robert Ludlum’s – The Treadstone Resurrection by Joshua Hood

Today it’s an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for Robert Ludlum’s The Treadstone Resurrection written by Joshua Hood.

Coinciding with the much-anticipated return of the Treadstone series – released by Amazon in January 2020 in the UK – and with the 40th anniversary of the first Bourne book, The Treadstone Resurrection is the latest instalment of the franchise. Picking up the baton from Robert Ludlum, Joshua Hood is an author and former Airborne Division fighter, whose real-world experience and combat training makes him the perfect writer for The Treadstone Resurrection.About the Author

Robert Ludlum (1927 – 2001) was the author of twenty-seven novels, each one a New York Times bestseller. There are more than 225 million of his books in print, and they have been translated into 32 languages in 50 countries. Among his best-sellers were The Scarlatti Inheritance (1971), The Osterman Weekend (1972), The Matarese Circle (1979). He is most famous for the Jason Bourne series – The Bourne Identity (1980), The Bourne Supremacy (1986) and The Bourne Ultimatum (1990). The series was adapted for TV in 1988, for a film featuring Matt Damon in the lead role in 2002, and for a brand-new TV production from the writer behind Heroes and Chicago Hope in January 2020.

Joshua Hood is the author of Warning Order and Clear by Fire. He graduated from the University of Memphis before joining the military and spending five years in the 82nd Airborne Division. He was a team leader in the 3-504 Parachute Infantry Regiment in Iraq from 2005 to 2006, conducting combat operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. From 2007 to 2008, Hood served as a squad leader with the 1-508th Parachute Infantry Regiment in Afghanistan for which he was decorated for valour in Operation Furious Pursuit. On his return to civilian life he became a sniper team leader on a full time SWAT team in Memphis, where he was awarded the lifesaving medal. Currently he works as the Director of Veteran Outreach for the American Warrior Initiative.

Follow @joshuahoodbooks on Twitter, Joshua Hood on Amazonon Goodreads, Visit joshuahoodbooks.comBuy The Treadstone Resurrection

About the book

Working as a cabinet-maker in rural Oregon, Adam thinks he has left Treadstone – the CIA Black Ops programme – in the past, until he receives a mysterious email from a former colleague, and soon after is attacked by an unknown hit team at his job site.

Operation Treadstone has nearly ruined Adam Hayes. The top-secret CIA Black Ops programme trained him to be a nearly invincible assassin, but it also cost him his family and any chance at a normal life, which is why he was determined to get out. Everything changes when he receives a mysterious email from a former colleague, and soon after is attacked by an unknown hit team at his job site rural Oregon.

Adam must regain the skills that Treadstone taught him – lightning reflexes and a cold conscience – in order to discover who the would-be killers are, and why they have come after him now. Are his pursuers enemies from a long-ago mission? Rival intelligence agents? Or, perhaps, someone inside Treadstone? His search will unearth secrets in the highest levels of government and pull him back into the shadowy world he worked so hard to forget.

Review

The Treadstone Resurrection is the first in the Treadstone series, which is going to be one heck of a series, if this one is anything to go on. The release coincides with the return of the Treadstone (tv) series on Amazon (January 2020 in the UK) and also with the 40th anniversary of the first Bourne book. I can’t believe it has already been four decades!

It’s fair to say that Operation Treadstone has left more than a mark on Adam Hayes – it has destroyed any semblance of a normal life he once thought he could have. The side-effects of the manipulations and changes that make him the operative he is, ergo a highly trained ruthless assassin without any compassion, make living a normal life impossible. His mood swings and violent outbursts have made his wife and child put plenty of miles between himself and them. The other physical side-effects are kept at bay by popping more pills than a hardcore addict.

He has a target on his back, but he has no idea why. All he knows is that a team of well-trained killers are determined to take him, and anyone who helps him, down. By down I mean kill. They have no idea what they have just triggered, because when Hayes gets his teeth into something he doesn’t stop until he is the last man standing.

It’s an action thriller with military and covert operations at the core of it.

One thing is for sure it starts with a bang – continues at an alarmingly fast pace and ends with a bang. Joshua Hood absolutely does the Bourne/Treadstone/Ludlum legacy justice with this first instalment. The plot, writing and the majority of the scenes benefit from the fact the author is a former Airborne Division fighter and brings real life experience to the story.

The authenticity he brings to the table is equally as important as the moments of frustration and sheer rage a Treadstone operative feels, whilst captivating readers with the hardcore action scenes.

Buy The Treadstone Resurrection at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Head of Zeus pub date 25 Feb. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.