Saturday, September 1, 2018

New Release-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: SUMMIT by Louise Lyons



Author: Louise Lyons

Publisher: Louise Lyons
Cover Artist: Jay Aheer, Simply Defined Art
Genre/s: M/M romance, adventure
Length: 62000 words 
Release Date: September 1, 2018

It is a standalone story.

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When out of condition divorced lorry driver, Ash Tomlinson, makes the spur of the moment decision to climb Kilimanjaro, he doesn’t consider how much it will change his life. There’s the training, the equipment to buy, the fear of altitude sickness, and of failure. And there’s Sean, a man who makes Ash question what he really wants for his future.

Sean Briggs is a school sports teacher and wishful mountain leader, longing for the chance to lead people on mountain hikes, but never having taken the plunge to do the training course. While he thinks about it, he decides to undertake the trip of a lifetime on Kilimanjaro.

The two men meet on a training weekend in Wales, and afterwards Ash goes home and tries to forget about Sean, but finds it impossible.

When the pair strike out for the summit of the highest mountain in Africa, their physical and mental strength is tested, and their growing feelings for each other help them push through the toughest moments of the trek.


We applied extra sun cream and insect repellent, put on wide-brimmed hats, shouldered our backpacks, and prepared our hiking poles. This was it. The first leg of the very long trek to the top of the mountain. My heart thrummed with excitement and a glance at Sean's beaming smile and bright eyes told me he felt as I did.

The lead Tanzanian guide set off slowly along a dusty path through the jungle and we followed in single file, with more guides and Phil and Mark mingling with us. Cameras and phones made repeated appearances during the four-hour trek to the camp, as we marvelled at the huge trees, mosses, and plants, and the monkeys and birds high up in the branches over our heads. Phil reminded us several times to drink regularly and I got into the habit of sucking water from the tube connected to the water bladder in my backpack every few minutes.

There were a couple of short breaks along the trail, during which we ate snacks, drank additional water, and peed again and again. Ladies' and men's "toilets" were clumps of bushes on opposite sides of the trail, which resulted in much giggling and squealing from the ladies as they came upon unsavoury deposits from the previous trekkers.

The path wound its way upwards, not too steeply, through humid shade provided by the tangle of trees. Their roots burst through the dirt underfoot and we constantly alternated between staring at the ground to avoid tripping and gazing around in wonder at the surroundings. The afternoon raced by and I barely realised three hours had passed, when the trail opened out into a vast clearing.

A cluster of green tents awaited us, with two tall narrow toilet tents off to one side and a large orange mess tent for our meals.

"Your bags will be in your tents waiting for you," Phil reminded us.

"How do we find which is ours?" Sally asked.

"They'll have tags on that match the tags we put on our bags last night," Sean told her. "Ours is twin something."

"They're all twin something, except Gerald's because he's on his own." I laughed. "Ours is four."

"Oh, yeah." Sean rolled his eyes and went looking for a tent with a plastic tag on it that read "twin four." A moment later he unzipped the flap of a tent and disappeared inside. I followed, slipping my backpack from my shoulders as I reached it.

Sean sat in the entrance, unlacing his boots. Our two holdalls sat in the middle of the tent and a sleeping mat lay on each side. Sean placed his boots in one corner and shuffled backwards out of the way. "Which side do you want?"

"I don't mind." I took his place and removed my boots. Sean moved to the far side of the tent and placed his backpack in the middle between the two holdalls. We took a few minutes to organise things, unpacking our additional sleeping mats to put on top of the thin ones provided, spread sleeping bags on top of them, and found comfortable running shoes to wear for dinner. We changed out of our hiking trousers into warm jogging bottoms and pulled on fleeces over our base layers. Phil had warned that the temperature would plummet as soon as the sun set, and the sun dropped like a stone at exactly twenty past six.

"I knew I'd get you in a tent one day." Sean grinned.

"Better than Wales. At least it's dry."

"For now. We might get rain or snow higher up. And it'll be freezing."

I lowered my voice to a whisper. "We can shift these bags over to one side and keep each other warm."

Carra's Review

I was intrigued by Summit from the moment I read the synopsis.  As someone who has participated in endurance sports (half marathons and a full marathon), I can appreciate what goes into preparing and training for something like climbing Kilimanjaro—though my personal experience is not anywhere near that scale.  That Sean and Ash’s relationship plays out during this preparation and training time puts their story in a unique setting from what I’ve read before in this genre.

I identified most closely with Ash—his situation closely mirrored my own when I first started seriously trying to lose weight and wound up getting my interest piqued about races, much like he did by watching a documentary on climbing the mountain.  Even now after I’ve let things slide, this story has sparked my interest again—the way the preparation, training and the actual climb were described made for interesting reading that is now poking at me to also get off my behind and back to it.

It was good to watch as Ash opened himself up to something with a guy other than just one-offs, and took a chance once he and Sean realized there was something more there between them.  Things between them felt relatively low angst once they got past the initial awkwardness of whether this was a one-time thing or something more.  

The portions of the story related to training for and the actual climb were detailed and made me feel like I was right there alongside the guys.  There were a couple of times where it did feel slightly over-detailed to me, mostly because I tend to prefer stories focus more on relationship development than the things the characters are doing as they go along.  But again, those details did arouse my curiosity about climbing as well as give me my own push to get back to my training.

Sean and Ash are really good together, and even though it might seem like they didn’t have a lot of time together in each other’s physical company (not sex, just together in the same place) before the “L” word was creeping in, things were actually spread out over the weeks/months of training, and that time spent with each other plus the climb was intense.  

Summit was a very solid 4-star read for me, edging toward a 4.5.  M/M romance fans who appreciate more detailed stories will enjoy this book, and don’t be surprised to find yourself looking up climbing information—or at least renewing your own interest in other physical pursuits—when you’re done.  This book is meant for readers 18+ for adult language and sexual content.

About the Author 

Louise Lyons comes from a family of writers. Her mother has a number of poems published in poetry anthologies, her aunt wrote poems for the church, and her grandmother sparked her inspiration with tales of fantasy.

Louise first ventured into writing short stories at the grand old age of eight, mostly about little girls and ponies. She branched into romance in her teens, and MM romance a few years later, but none of her work saw the light of day until she discovered FanFiction in her late twenties. Posting stories based on some of her favourite movies, provoked a surprisingly positive response from readers. This gave Louise the confidence to submit some of her work to publishers, and made her take her writing "hobby" more seriously.

Louise lives in the UK, about an hour north of London, with a mad dog called Casper, and a collection of tropical fish and tarantulas. She works in the insurance industry by day, and spends every spare minute writing. She loves to run long-distance and some of her best writing inspiration comes to her when her feet are pounding the open road. She often races home afterward, and grabs pen and paper to make notes.

Louise has always been a bit of a tomboy, and one of her other great loves is cars and motorcycles. Her car and bike are her pride and job, and she loves to exhibit the car at shows, and take off for long days out on the bike, with no one for company but herself.


Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win one of 3 ebooks from Louise's backlist.

Choose from: Conflicted, Beautiful Thunder, Cervena, Regeneration, Finding Beck, Favorite Toy, On The Outside, The Short Stories Collection.


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