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Extract and Giveaway: Win a copy of Princess Maria by @LauraESanchez_


This Novel is Special. It is the story of 10 year-old Elena's quest to unite her family. A little girl. An Impossible journey. Living 5 years without her mother Elena bravely boards a bus - to see her mother once again. The only thing standing in her way is the 2000 mile bus trip across Mexico, robbers with machetes, trigger happy Federales. Her journey will shake her to her core, challenge her values as she fights for the family she loves

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This scene occurs when Rey is taken from a bus at gun point

Each Federale armed with a tactical carbine - killing machine, allows the Federale to adapt to any enemy, blast a target at short, intermediate or long range; keeping gun flat and on target, match grade, 5.56 chambered stainless steel 14.7 barrel.
            Jose looks back at all his passengers and silently prays that this checkpoint will pass

without incident. The military pressure, the unevenness of their presence and demands gives Jose

an internal breakdown that he covers with an outward veil of calmness……

            “Well you will have to get off this bus. You cannot cross without a passport.  I don’t care if you are with the band.”
            He shoves Rey with his hand and slams Rey into the seat, “ GET OFF THIS BUS,” the automatic rifle dangling in front of his face.
            Rey looks down and tells him. “I am not getting off this bus.”
            “WHAT DID YOU SAY?” said the Federale leaning his face into Rey’s nose, shoving him with two hundred and ten pounds of concentrated mass and muscle.
            THUD.   Rey’s right leg hits the bus floor. His back hits the floor, bounces up and slams down a second time. Rey’s head hits the floor of the bus.  His eyes seal shut.
            Elena stands up and looks over to Rey.   Juana holds Elena back from running over to Rey. 
            “Sebastian, stay here,” says Felix, trying to keep his son out of danger.
            The cowboys, the old women, the salsa champions, the students from Guadalajara, the members of Sebastian’s band stand up to see Rey slumped over on the floor.
            Rey, reeling from the pain, opens his eyes and gets up, “ I AM NOT GETTING OFF THIS BUS.”
            The Federale, sensing everyone is looking at him, shoves the rifle so hard into Rey that he falls backward.
            THUD.  THUD. THUD.  Rey tumbles back and lands against the floor of the bus.
            “GET OFF THIS BUS.” The Federale tears up the birth certificate, “THIS COULD BE FAKE,” and throws it on the ground.
            The two pieces of his birth certificate slowly float onto the bus floor, landing near his feet.
            Rey gets up and repeats,  “I AM NOT GETTING OFF THIS BUS.”   He looks straight into the eyes of the Federale fighting the pain searing thru his back.
            The Federale puts his darkened googles over his face, takes the safety latch of the carbine, looks down the scope and points it directly at Rey’s head.
            Princess Maria, in full on jeopardy, risks her life, runs over to Rey and gets in between the rifle and Rey, pleading for his life, looking into the eyes of the darkened goggles.    
            Araceli, Maria Elena, Gloria, Rick, Valente, Miguel Angel, Raul, Arturo, Manuel, Francisco, Sebastian, Juana, Felix, the cowboys, the elderly women, the salsa champion, the students hold their breath – hoping that it isn’t true.
            The Federale is unmoved.  Right here, in front of everyone, the Federale is ready to shoot Rey and Princes Maria – dead.
            Elena gasps in a lightening rod of terror -- blood discharging from her face and draining into feet.    Her dog is going to be shot and Rey -- will die on impact.  
            In one second, one heartbeat, Elena bolts up and vaults over the seats and nine passengers.  With one daring sweep  -  she captures Princess Maria, snatches Rey’s hand and instantaneously moves past the Federale.
            Rey defiantly goes to the front of the bus with Elena and Princess Maria.
            All the passengers whisper in disbelief.  Shock.  Traumatized by the actions of the Federale.
            Elena comes off the bus with Rey.   Rey, irate, resentful, and enraged – and scared, says, “Now what?”
            The Federales on the truck point their weapons at Elena, Princess Maria and Rey.
“I will come for you.  Princess Maria and I,” says Elena, petrified.  “Where did you leave it last?”
            Indignant and heartbroken, “At the hospital.”
            “What hospital?”   
            Rey closes his eyes for a few seconds and forces his mind to replay the accident.  Rey slowly opens his eyes, fully depleted by the memory of the death of his parents. He weakly says, “Tarin Memorial. It was Christmas and we --- were going to see my grandmother --- all the family was going to be there.”


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Extract and Giveaway: Win a copy of Swallowing Mercury @PLInst_London #PolishBooks


Wiola lives in a close-knit agricultural community. Wiola has a black cat called Blackie. Wiola's father was a deserter but now he is a taxidermist. Wiola's mother tells her that killing spiders brings on storms. Wiola must never enter the seamstress's 'secret' room. Wiola collects matchbox labels. Wiola is a good Catholic girl brought up with fables and nurtured on superstition. Wiola lives in a Poland that is both very recent and lost in time.


The Jesus Raffle

Disobeying my mother, i started sleeping with Blacky. Blacky smelled of hay and milk and had a snow white map of Africa around his neck. He would come to me in the night, lie on my duvet and start purring, kneading the covers like dough under his paws. Ever since I found him up in the attic, we lived in a strange state of symbiosis. Id carry him inside my jumper like a baby, steal cream for him from the dresser and, on Sundays, feed him chicken wings from my soup.

I spent the whole summer roaming the fields with Blacky. He showed me a different kind of geometry of the world, where boundaries are not marked by field margins overgrown with thistles and goosefoot, by cobbled roads, fences or tracks trodden by humans, but instead by light, sound and the elements. With Blacky, I learned to climb haystacks, apple and cherry trees, piles of breeze blocks; I learned to keep away from limestone pits hidden by blackberry bushes, from hornets nests, quagmires and snares set in the grain fields.
After Christmas, Blacky began to avoid me. Hed turn up at home only briefly and deposit a dead mouse on the doorstep, as if he wanted to make amends for his absence. On the first day of the winter break, he disappeared for good. I searched for him under tarpaulins and in the empty boxes where Uncle Lolek used to breed coypus and where Blacky loved sleeping all day, but he was nowhere to be found.
Uncle Lolek was my main suspect in the case of Blackys disappearance. A few months earlier, he had somehow managed to get hold of a sack of sugar which he hid in the coal shed, and thats exactly where Blacky set up his litter box. So, armed with my fathers air rifle, I ran to confront Uncle Lolek. I pointed the gun at him and ordered him to hand over Blacky immediately, since I couldnt allow my kitty to be turned into sausages and fur, like those nasty-smelling coypus. Uncle Lolek was speechless, and then he burst out laughing so hard he almost fell into the sauerkraut barrel. Grateful for being cheered up so much first thing in the morning, he offered me some sweets.

Blog Tour Giveaway: Win a copy of My Name is Leon by @KitdeWaal @PenguinUKBooks


A brother chosen. A brother left behind. And a family where you'd least expect to find one.

Leon is nine, and has a perfect baby brother called Jake. They have gone to live with Maureen, who has fuzzy red hair like a halo, and a belly like Father Christmas. But the adults are speaking in low voices, and wearing Pretend faces. They are threatening to give Jake to strangers. Since Jake is white and Leon is not.

As Leon struggles to cope with his anger, certain things can still make him smile - like Curly Wurlys, riding his bike fast downhill, burying his hands deep in the soil, hanging out with Tufty (who reminds him of his dad), and stealing enough coins so that one day he can rescue Jake and his mum.

Evoking a Britain of the early eighties, My Name is Leon is a heart-breaking story of love, identity and learning to overcome unbearable loss. Of the fierce bond between siblings. And how - just when we least expect it - we manage to find our way home.
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