No Honour by Awais Khan – Review-Blog Tour

A young woman defies convention in a small Pakistani village, with devastating results for her and her family. A stunning, immense beautiful novel about courage, family and the meaning of love, when everything seems lost…

In sixteen-year-old Abida’s small Pakistani village, there are age-old rules to live by, and her family’s honour to protect. And, yet, her spirit is defiant and she yearns to make a home with the man she loves.

When the unthinkable happens, Abida faces the same fate as other young girls who have chosen unacceptable alliances – certain, public death. Fired by a fierce determination to resist everything she knows to be wrong about the society into which she was born, and aided by her devoted father, Jamil, who puts his own life on the line to help her, she escapes to Lahore and then disappears.

Jamil goes to Lahore in search of Abida – a city where the prejudices that dominate their village take on a new and horrifying form – and father and daughter are caught in a world from which they may never escape.

Moving from the depths of rural Pakistan, riddled with poverty and religious fervour, to the dangerous streets of over-populated Lahore, No Honour is a story of family, of the indomitable spirit of love in its many forms … a story of courage and resilience, when all seems lost, and the inextinguishable fire that lights one young woman’s battle for change.


Orenda Books over and over publishes novels that are beautifully written, challenging and captivating. No Honour by Awais Khan is another such book!

It has grand and mesmerizing themes about the things that make us human love, family and bravery, yet it also explores human characteristics that are dark and threatening, misogyny, cruelty, poverty and violence. Complex themes to bring together successfully in any story and a balancing act to ensure they align perfectly to create a narrative that challenges the reader, yet doesn’t overwhelm them. Awais Khan in this his second novel, creates the perfect storm, by taking all these powerful themes and creating a novel of startling honesty, breathtaking beauty and heartbreaking pain.

Sixteen-year-old Abida chooses love, in doing so she finds herself threatened by age old customs that are shaped in a deep rooted culture of contempt for women, ingrained prejudice and systematic violence. Only her father, who recognizes her spirit, who loves her, allows her to escape from the village. What follows for them both is a journey to Lahore, where the threats Abida was running from, become ever more complex and terrifying. From this, you would be imaging a story of never ending misery, but this is a far more nuanced piece of literature. Abida is brave and resilient, but for every threat she faces from those that seek to abuse her, the writer shows us that not all men are her enemy. He creates a picture in words of a society and culture that is not one dimensional, because her indomitable spirit, is matched by the devotion and friendship of the men that love her the most and often it is other women, that seek to exploit and control her. It gives the story a sense of hope and though, he never hides the violence Abida faces, neither does he seek to lesson the central tenant of his story, love and it’s remarkable power to redeem us all. He delves down into the dark heart of the city of Lahore, then shines a light on individuals willing to risk everything to bring change for the better.

He fills his story with stunningly wrought characters that bring the story to life. Abida has a spirit that yearns for the freedom to choose, longs for change, to be free of claustrophobic village life, no matter the consequences. Her father frets over her choices, but inspired by a strong woman in his life, chooses change, despite all that it will cost him. There are women who are complacent in the violence, there are young women like Abida that face the awful consequences of threatening the honour of their fathers. There are men that use violence because they can, but there are good men to. Altogether they make No Honour a must read novel, one that will open your eyes the frightening complexity of Abida’s world.

You can purchase this novel directly from the publisher at Orenda Books.

From Amazon and Waterstones.

You can also order it from one of the amazing independent bookshops we are so lucky to have, such as Bert Books that offer an Orenda book subscription.

About the author

Awais Khan is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario and Durham University. He has studied creative writing with Faber Academy. His debut novel, In the Company of Strangers, was published to much critical acclaim and he regularly appears on TV and Radio. Awais also teaches a popular online creative writing course to aspiring writers around the world. He is currently working on his third book. When not working, he has his nose buried in a book. He lives in Lahore.

You can follow the author on Twitter.

One August Night by Victoria Hislop- Review- Blog Tour.

Beloved author Victoria Hislop returns to Crete in this long-anticipated sequel to her multi-million-copy
Number One bestseller, The Island.

25th August 1957. The island of Spinalonga closes its leper colony. And a moment of violence has devastating

When time stops dead for Maria Petrakis and her sister, Anna, two families splinter apart and, for the people
of Plaka, the closure of Spinalonga is forever coloured with tragedy.

In the aftermath, the question of how to resume life looms large. Stigma and scandal need to be confronted
and somehow, for those impacted, a future built from the ruins of the past.

Victoria Hislop returns to the world and characters she created in The Island – the award-winning novel that
remains one of the biggest selling reading group novels of the century. It is finally time to be reunited with
Anna, Maria, Manolis and Andreas in the weeks leading up to the evacuation of the island… and beyond.


We all have authors that we automatically buy whenever they publish a new novel! Sometimes though we start to find ourselves disappointed, feeling that the author is losing their ability to keep us engaged with the story, thankfully that is not the case with Victoria Hislop and her latest offering One August Night. In the follow-up to her bestseller, The Island, we are returned to 1957 when the Island of Spinalonga closes it’s Leper Colony, an act that has heartbreaking consequences for so many!

What we can always rely on in a Victoria Hislop book, is a strong sense of place, the story rooted in the often calamitous history of Greece and it’s people. You can feel the underlying currents of a culture dominated by war and male power over society, which fed into years of upheaval and the violent act that Lies at the Centre of One August Night. Maria, her sister Anna, cousins Manolis and Andreas all find themselves caught up in a tragedy that has dramatic consequences that ripple through the years. The author handles it well, wrapping up a story about love, betrayal and redemption in a narrative about how, what should have been a day of celebration and hope of a better future, turns into a nightmare and a world torn asunder.

I loved how she took us not just on a journey around the tragedy itself, but also how Greek culture shaped the events and the story she is telling. Manolis and Andreas are there to represent the hot blooded Greek male, Anna and Maria the passionate, strong, resilient women of Greece, who show the truth of how they may have been absent from the bigger events, but that the world around them is shaped by their quiet inner strength. She exposes the fault lines that run through Greek culture and show the reader how forgiveness is the most powerful of human emotions and within One August Night, the most important.

Character wise for me Maria Petrakis is the best of her characterization’s, around whom all the others flow. Not the proud, passionate Anna, who is stunningly wrought, or the fiery, yet tragic Manolis and Andreas, both of whom are superbly written characters. There was just something about Maria, loyal, studious, quietly passionate, who having survived the Lepar colony, aches to find a world that will accept her. Victoria Hislop recognizes that her strength has the potential to heal the wounds that have their roots in a small island near Elounda in East Crete, Spinalonga. It is her life there and her determination to forge a new future, that means she shines off the page and managed to worm her way into my heart.

Now many may wonder if they need to go back and read The Island to get the best out of this follow-up, but it reads perfectly as a standalone, so no worries there. If you want to read The Island first, do, it is stunning and will fill in the background of this story, but you really don’t have to, to read and enjoy One August Night.

You can purchase this novel from Amazon and Waterstones, as well as all the wonderful independent bookshops we are blessed with.

About the author

Inspired by a visit to Spinalonga, the abandoned Greek leprosy colony, Victoria Hislop wrote The Island in 2005. It became an international bestseller, has sold more than six million copies and was turned into a 26-part Greek TV series. She was named Newcomer of the Year at the British Book Awards and is now an ambassador for Lepra. Her affection for the Mediterranean then took her to Spain, and in the number one bestseller The Return she wrote about the painful secrets of its civil war. In The Thread, Victoria returned to Greece to tell the turbulent tale of Thessaloniki and its people across the twentieth century. Shortlisted for a British Book Award, it confirmed her reputation as an inspirational storyteller.

Her fourth novel, The Sunrise, about the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and the enduring ghost town of Famagusta, was a Sunday Times number one bestseller. Cartes Postales from Greece, fiction illustrated with photographs, followed and was one of the biggest selling books of 2016. The poignant and powerful Those Who Are Loved was a Sunday Times number one hardback bestseller in 2019 and explores a tempestuous period of modern Greek history through the eyes of a complex and compelling heroine. Victoria’s most recent novel, One August Night, returns to Crete in the long-anticipated sequel to The Island. The novel spent twelve weeks in the Top 10 hardback fiction charts.

Her books have been translated into more than thirty-five languages.

Victoria divides her time between England and Greece and in 2020, Victoria was granted honorary citizenship by the President of Greece. She was recently appointed patron of Knossos 2025, which is raising funds for a new research centre at one of Greece’s most significant archaeological sites. She is also on the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles.

You can follow the author on Twitter @VicHislop

The Great Silence by Doug Johnstone – Review – Blog Tour.

The discovery of a human foot in an Edinburgh park, the inexplicable circumstances of a dying woman, and the missing daughter of Jenny’s violent ex-husband present the Skelf women with their most challenging – and deadly – cases yet…


Keeping on top of the family funeral directors’ and private-investigation businesses is no easy task for the Skelf women, and when matriarch Dorothy discovers a human foot while walking the dog, a perplexing case presents itself … with potentially deadly results.

Daughter Jenny and grand-daughter Hannah have their hands full too: The mysterious circumstances of a dying woman lead them into an unexpected family drama, Hannah’s new astrophysicist colleague claims he’s receiving messages from outer space, and the Skelf’s teenaged lodger has yet another devastating experience.

Nothing is clear as the women are immersed ever deeper in their most challenging cases yet. But when the daughter of Jenny’s violent and fugitive ex-husband goes missing without trace and a wild animal is spotted roaming Edinburgh’s parks, real danger presents itself, and all three Skelfs are in peril.

Taut, dark, warmly funny and unafraid to ask big questions – of us all – The Great Silence is the much-anticipated third instalment in the addictive, unforgettable Skelfs series, and the stakes are higher than ever.


The Great Silence by Doug Johnstone is the third in the Skelfs series and the finest to date and that is saying something, as book one A Dark Matter and number two The Big Chill were stunning as well.

What makes this book and the series as a whole, some of my favorite books of all time? Dorothy, Jenny and Hannah, that’s who, a trio of females, all of whom are strong, passionate and intelligent women, protagonists in a story in which they hold centre stage. How rare is that? How marvelous that they command a story in which the humour is dark, in which they are not there to support the male lead, but masters of their very unique and marvelous world.

They are frankly some of modern literatures best characters, rounded, emotional, fragile and yet strong, creative and brave. Mother, daughter, granddaughter all work as undertakers as well as private investigator’s, what more is there to love? Best of all, as the series progresses we get to understand them more and more, we cheer their success’s, we cry tears at the losses they suffer, we fear for their lives and we turn the pages at a relentless pace, because we care, we love them and the thought of losing even one of them feels like a physical pain. Doug Johnstone understanding this, takes the reader in The Great Silence right to the edge of what they can bear, as he places all three in terrible danger. But he never losses sight of why I love this trio so much, they are authentic, they make mistakes, they love with every inch of their being, they are kind and they have an instinctive need to help people. In this installment that includes a postgrad researcher who worries his colleagues are trying to tip him over the edge, by making him believe that aliens are sending him messages. A family at war and a wild animal on the loose and most worrying of all, Jenny’s murderous ex-husband is still haunting them. It is physically impossible to turn away in case by taking a breath, we miss a moment, a clue that solves the mysteries the women are investigating.

He takes us and them on a journey racked with danger, but remarkably manages to fill the story with human experiences that will have you in tears, as he touches on some of life’s greatest agonies, grief, loss, loneliness, the intrinsic need to be loved, to make a connection with others. All that would be unbearable, if not balanced out by the community he creates around them, by how they as individuals reach out to help others, to help them find peace, by making that human contact that chases the pain away, or at least makes it infinity more bearable.

Where there is silence, Doug Johnstone fills it with a wonderful story and three remarkable women. Showing in this, his finest work to date, that thrillers can be beautifully written, that women can not only carry a story, they can command it.

The Great Silence is utterly compelling and everyone needs to buy it, because you will not regret it!

You can purchase this novel directly from the publisher at Orenda Books.

You can also buy it from Amazon and Waterstones.

Or why not order it from one of the wonderful Independent Bookshops we are blessed with?

About the author

Doug Johnstone is the author of eleven novels, most recently The Big Chill, the second in the Skelfs series, which has just been optioned for TV. In 2020, A Dark Matter, the first in the series, was shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year and the Capital Crime Amazon Publishing Independent Voice Book of the Year award. In 2019, his thriller Breakers was also shortlisted for the prize. Several of his books have been bestsellers and award winners, and his work has been praised by the likes of Val McDermid, Irvine Welsh and Ian Rankin. He’s taught creative writing and been writer in residence at various institutions, and has been an arts journalist for twenty years. Doug is a songwriter and musician with five albums and three EPs released, and he plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. He’s also player-manager of the Scotland Writers Football Club. He lives in Edinburgh.

You can follow the author on Twitter

My Wonderful Reading Year – July 2021. The Journey Continues.

As summer continues and we feel the pull of the honest world and yet rising cases of Covid yet again see me seeking the safety of my home, my reading continues to be a source of comfort. It remains an integral part of me and I am looking forward to some fantastic reads as the summer conitues.

I am continue to try balancing my reading simply for pleasure, with book reviewing and have found some absolute gems that have patiently sat on my bookshelf waiting to be read.

What follows are the books that I read in July 2021.

The Book Of Echoes by Rosanna Amaka is a stunning and inspiring read. It is about how discrimination and hopelessness, have their roots deeply in our past, but that love is humanities greatest gift.

The Secret Keeper of Jaipur by Alka Joshi was a really enjoyable story set in India.

I have to say that although I enjoyed The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, I’m not sure I enjoyed it enough to buy the sequel.

On The Red Hill by Mike Parker is the stunning memoir of a house called Rhiw Goch and two couples whose lives become intwined with its very fabric. Mike and his partner Peredur and those that came before them, Reg and George.

Next came a superb thriller. Girls Who Lie by Eva Bjorg Aegisdottir is chillingly, superb and one heck of a read.

The Black Dress by Deborah Moggach is the darkly funny tale of a women left on her own later in life and the novel idea she comes up with to meet a new man. It really is a great read, especially if you love your humour dark and slightly mad!

Last but not least One August Night by Victoria Hislop. You always know when you pick this authors novels up that you are going to enjoy a fantastic story and this one is no different.

Well that was my reading month for July 2021! I can’t believe how fast time is passing, but I am looking forward to some more fantastic books in August. I hope it is a great reading month for you all too.