#BlogTour My Name is Ten by Colleen MacMahon

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour My Name is Ten by Colleen MacMahon. I loved this book and can’t wait to read more by this author.

About the Author 

Colleen MacMahon is an English actress, artist and award winning author of short stories. She has narrated audiobooks, designed book covers, written plays for theatre groups and taught and mentored children, young adults and so-called grown ups. She lives in the beautiful Devon countryside with three dogs, a lot of wildlife, and a (mostly) patient partner who spends an unreasonable amount of time sorting out her technical messes. 

My Name Is Ten is her debut novel and she is currently working on its sequel. Follow @CollMacMahon on Twitter, Visit colleenmacmahon.com

About the book

If only the perfect are entitled to live, who chooses the ones that should die? – By 2092 the world has been left scorched by the catastrophic solar eruptions of 2025 and turned largely into desert. The competition for resources is fierce and often brutal. The young, healthy and fertile are commodities prized for their resilience and reproductive potential; they are bred, bought and traded by the wealthy elite and discarded when no longer of use.

When 17 year old Akara – once a pampered and highly valued Protégé – loses both her physical perfection and her proof of pedigree, she is incarcerated in The Kennels. If she is not adopted she is condemned to die. Damaged, alone and woefully unprepared for survival beyond her gilded cage, Akara must begin to learn both humility and true self worth, before she can start to fight for her right to exist.

Review

Not going to lie, I love the premise and the story – in a omg that is really terrible for the main character and the future sucks eggs kind of way – that is the joy of reading work by someone who is able to bring something invigorating, fresh and intriguing to the table.

Ten knows her worth and demands to be acknowledged as the asset she is or was, however she is no longer the picture of flawless beauty and lacks any bargaining chips because of it. She finds herself in what we would ironically call a kill shelter in our day and age. There is no difference, aside from the fact the inmates are human, and the only way to cheat the inevitable death sentence is to be adopted. In their lonely prison the inhabitants are dehumanised by reducing them to numbers instead of names. This is the story of the journey that brought Ten to this place and whether or not she can escape her fate.

I found the subtle parallels drawn between our current society and a desolate future one very perceptive. The throwaway culture in regards to humanity or rather certain people in our society, and the fight for survival as vital resources slowly disappear. The lack of respect for human life, the eradication of parental bonds as each life born is considered in monetary value, and the emphasis on perfection equating to worth. A lot of painful realities lurking in this dystopian story. 

I also found it hard to remember that it was set in the future – it often had a medieval era vibe to it with the occasional stark remember of the desolate surroundings, which I assume was intentional. The sad realisation that humanity is doomed to repeat history and their destructive patterns.

Incredible debut, excellent premise and writing. I am really looking forward to the next book – definitely an author to watch.

Buy My Name is Ten at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏ : ‎ Independently published, pub date 1 May 2022. Buy at Amazon com

#BlogTour Aurora by David Koepp

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Aurora David Koepp.

About the Author

David Koepp is one of the most successful screenwriters working today, known for his work with Steven Spielberg and Brian De Palma. His screenplays include the first two Jurassic Park films, Death Becomes Her, Carlito’s Way, Mission: Impossible, Spider-Man, Panic Room, War of the Worlds, Angels and Demons and Inferno.

Koepp’s debut thriller, Cold Storage, was greeted by a raft of acclaim from writers like Blake Crouch, Linwood Barclay, and Stephen King.

Shortlisted for the CWA Steel Dagger Award for Best Thriller of the Year, Cold Storage has now sold nearly 50,000 copies.

About the book

When the lights go out no one is safe… A planet without power. – When a solar storm hits the earth, the lights go out across the planet. But this time the blackout won’t be over soon – it could last for years. Aubrey and her stepson now face the biggest challenge of their lives.

 A society without rules. – Soon they hear rumours of riots, the struggle for food becomes real, and even within their small communities, the rule of law is collapsing. Aubrey’s estranged brother Thom, a self-made billionaire who abandoned her years ago, retreats to a gilded desert bunker where he can ride out the crisis in perfect luxury.

 A race to build a better world… But the complicated history between the siblings is far from over, and what feels like the end of the world is just the beginning of a personal reckoning long overdue…

Review

I want to start this review with a thank you to the author for the foreword – thanks, I really needed to know that. – Starts to prep, buys tinned goods, digs garden and plants produce, oh and let’s not forget the generator. My father, who always tends to quote a possible zombie apocalypse for his semi-prepping, feels completely validated by this scenario – sans zombies of course.

A solar storm knocks out the power – the blackout rejigs life as everyone knows it, there are no rules of law. Survival of the fittest, the smartest and the most ruthless. Aubrey finds herself stuck with a moody hormonal teenager, who isn’t even a blood relative, and an violent ex-hubby with a lack of boundaries. Her brother Thom, is someone wealthy enough to save himself and his loved ones. He wants to keep Aubrey safe, but she is fiercely independent, and he has to learn the hard way that not everything or everyone can be bought, especially when the established hierarchy and system falls apart and it is every person for themselves.

What I really enjoyed about this story is the wake-up call, the blast of reality, and the way it reads like a written account of a disaster, which could be read by future generations. Also the inability of government at any level to react to an impending crisis with scientific reasoning or common sense, and instead putting greed and profit above safety and potential loss of life. That in itself is indicative of how something like this premise could play out.

The story is almost laid out like a script waiting to be cast. You can envision the screen version, as you read the story. I wouldn’t hesitate to grab another book by this author or recommend him for that matter.

Buy Aurora at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎HQ pub date 9 Jun. 2022. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Harper Collins.

#BlogTour Tell Me An Ending by Jo Harkin

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Tell Me An Ending by Jo Harkin.

About the Author

Jo Harkin studied English Literature at university. She daydreamed her way through various jobs in her twenties before giving in and becoming a full-time writer. She published four real-world literary fiction novels under a pseudonym, before deciding to follow her passion and move into speculative fiction. Her focus is ‘what if’ stories with an emphasis on human lives. She lives in Berkshire.

About the book

Across the world, thousands of people are shocked to receive an email telling them that they once chose to have a traumatic memory removed. Now they are being given the chance to get that memory back.

For Mei, William, Oscar and Finn there is a piece missing, but they’re not sure what. And each of them must decide if the truth is worth the pain, or better left unknown.

For Noor, who works at the memory clinic Nepenthe, the process of reinstating their patients’ memories begins to shake the moral foundations of her world. As she delves deeper into the programme, she will have to risk everything to uncover the true human cost of this miraculous technology.

An exploration of secrets, grief, identity and belonging – of the stories we tell ourselves, and come to rely on, Tell Me An Ending is a sharp, dark and devastating novel about the power and danger of memory.

Review

I thought this was a fascinating concept and there are so many places to take it. The entire premise is a tightrope of black, white and fuzzy areas of boundary crossing. Is it a good thing? Does it create worse scenarios than the bad memories it purports to erase. Is the erasing or extraction merely a band-aid that in actual fact becomes a timebomb? A bomb that can cause mental health, general health issues, the breakdown of relationships and mistrust in self.

Imagine getting a letter telling yourself you had made the choice to erase a memory, however you have no actual memory of doing so, which of course makes it a Schrödinger’s Cat situation. Do you retrieve to find out what it is, and end up with a memory you would rather not have. Or live with the niggle that you have experienced something worrying enough you felt the need to erase it.

I am legit interested in which decision people would make if this were the future. I think I would need to know, then probably ask for it to be taken again, thereby creating an endless repetitive loop of actions and behaviour. What if it was used against your will – a Big Brother tool, the possibilities are endless.

Told through multiple character narratives, who all have something in common, the fact that they have had a memory removed and know about it or did it and wanted to remain oblivious to that decision. Of course there is also the aspect of them being consciously or subconsciously aware of this fact. The subconscious element of the story is quite fascinating. Are our brains hardwired to restore information it thinks is relative and pertinent to our wellbeing and survival? An innate response to flight or fight?

Which memory would you pick, if any at all? Would you choose to erase pain or a secret, but what if that put you at risk at a later date. This a self induced black hole moment, the ethics and moral aspect of this story are intricate. I can’t wait to discuss this book with fellow readers. It’s absolutely fascinating, and a great story to boot. I can’t wait to read more by this author.

Buy Tell Me An Ending at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Hutchinson Heinemann pub date 12th May 2022 | Hardback | eBook | Audio | £12.99. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Children of Pisces: The Two Pendants by R.E. Lewin

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Children of Pisces: The Two Pendants by R.E. Lewin.

About the Author

Rachael has loved writing since she finished her first book at thirteen. Since then she has broadened her experiences by becoming a project manager, energy healer and helping animals with applied zoopharmacognosy, as well as helping to nurture creativity in others, including her twins, who are the primary age group for this, her debut.

About the book

It’s 2070 and our post-apocalyptic world is different. Aliens secretly invaded with a lethal biological weapon: a terrifying virus that annihilated almost every living creature in its path. People still believe it was a natural virus, oblivious to aliens and the truth. Humanity’s survival is in the hands of the alliance, a team of humans and aliens who stand against the evil arch-enemy alien leader. Orphaned children are raised in army-style schools. But from this barren wasteland, a few shall rise…

Tammy and Mikie are half-human and half-alien siblings, with immense metaphysical powers and a crystal weapon. Their powers are extraordinary alone, but together they are unstoppable. Their father promises to return for them when they reach thirteen – combat age. But at twelve, these two are already too powerful to ignore.

Tammy has been raised in an orphan camp, under the thumb of a bitter woman who rules with an iron fist. Now she has been adopted and taken to a new kind of safari park. Here, the scales shift and the animals help her to unlock her gifts with animals and nature. Can Tammy rise above her animal instincts and maintain her humanity?

Mikie, a strong telepath, can control people’s minds and is a martial arts expert like his uncle. Forced to live a lonely, home-schooled life to avoid detection, he often gets into trouble and battles with the responsibility of his powers. Can Mikie overcome his inner conflict? Will his compulsion to protect put those closest to him in even more danger?

This adventure will take them across the world and maybe into the stars beyond. They must reunite their family and decide where their loyalties lie. The seekers are coming…

Review

Going into the story the readers is given part of an origin story, which becomes important over a decade later. The characters move parallel in time, but at all times on a path towards each other.

Tammy, who has caught the interest of a couple after many years of waiting to be adopted, has an affinity for animals. It is more than just liking them – they see her and she sees them. A collective communication appears to take place, one that others aren’t privy to.

Then there is Mikie, a young boy who can read minds and control them. The two of them have something in common, something elemental that is full of possibilities. They are an enhanced version of those around them, which means they are valuable asset or are they a dangerous weapon, depending on the path they choose?

It’s an ambitious series with plenty of potential – a crossover and melding of genres. A futuristic, speculative tale, a dystopian world with elements of sci-fi. The author has drawn a tentative thread of humanity throughout, and only time will tell if they will be able to sustain it in themselves, each other – or whether it will be submerged by natural instincts.

I like the fact it is story that is suitable for younger readers too. What a way to experience creativity and expand horizons, and a multi-genre world. It will be interesting to see where the next part in the series takes the Children of Pisces.

Buy The Children of Pisces: The Two Pendants at Amazon Uk. Publisher ‏: ‎Matador pub date 28 Mar. 2022. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Troubador.

#BlogTour The Mother Fault by Kate Mildenhall

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour to celebrate the #PaperbackPublication of The Mother Fault by Kate Mildenhall. Definitely a read you don’t want to miss.

About the Author

Kate Mildenhall is a writer who lives on the outskirts of Melbourne with her family. Her debut novel, Skylarking, was published in Australia by Black Inc. in 2016 and in the UK by Legend Press in 2017. Skylarking was longlisted for the Voss Literary Prize 2017 and the Indie Book Awards 2017. Kate has received residencies at Varuna, the Writers House and at Bundanon. With friend and author Katherine Collette, Kate co-hosts The First Time podcast, a podcast about the first time you publish a book.

Kate’s second novel, The Mother Fault, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2020 and Harper Collins in the UK in May 2021. Follow @katemildenhall, Visit katemildenhall.com

About the book

To keep her children safe, she must put their lives at risk … – In suburban Australia, Mim and her two children live as quietly as they can. Around them, a near-future world is descending into chaos: government officials have taken absolute control, but not everybody wants to obey the rules.

When Mim’s husband Ben mysteriously disappears, Mim realises that she and her children are in great danger. Together, they must set off on the journey of a lifetime to find Ben. The government are trying to track them down, but Mim will do anything to keep her family safe – even if it means risking all their lives. – Can the world ever return to normality, and their family to what it was?

Review

Ben is missing. It’s a mistake, they have the wrong person right? How is Mim supposed to tell their young children that their father is missing. Suddenly his disappearance starts having very real consequences for the family he left behind, and Mim has to make a choice to either be quiet and let the system take over or fight for her family.

In this very realistic dystopian read it’s easy to imagine a future just like this, and I believe that in itself is the power of the story. The fact the suggested scenarios are already part of mass fears and easily implemented going forward, is what makes this the kind of read you don’t want to miss.

I can imagine quite a few readers shouting out – I told you so! And others rolling their eyes at the paranoia. The integral details surrounding the premise, the basis of the not too far in the future dystopian setting – they are grounded in the realms of possible future scenarios. The author cleverly plays on the fears induced by the last few years and combines it with conspiracy theories, political and economical climates, draws on the environmental impact or foreseeable consequences of said impact, and has created a cracking read.

Mildenhall has captured the slowly encroaching methods of the powers that be. The logical explanations of why certain Big Brother methods are necessary are a manipulation tool to convince everyone to come to heel, the long-term consequences of being a non-questioning sheeple are not only detrimental they are also dangerous.

I loved the amount of information that is thrown at the reader, but in such a subtle way that you blink and it’s gone. How important each rule, regulation and nugget of information is, doesn’t become clear straight away. It’s a powerful modern futuristic plot – a very realistic one.

Buy The Mother Fault at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: HarperCollins pub date 3 Mar. 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Blue running by Lori Ann Stephens

 For fans of Station Eleven and The Handmaid’s Tale, Blue Running is a gripping coming-of-age thriller set in post-secessionist Texas. Published on the 2nd of December 2021 by Moonflower Books.

About the Author

Lori Ann Stephens is an award-winning author whose American published novels include Novalee and the Spider Secret, Some Act of Vision, and Song of the Orange Moons. Her short stories have appeared in Glimmer Train Stories, and other literary presses. She is also the winner of The Chicago Tribune’s “Nelson Algren Awards.” A lifelong Texan, she’s seen the best and worst of her home state and has come to the conclusion that Texans are truly fabulous at heart. She teaches creative writing and critical reasoning at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. 

Follow @lorifromtexas on Twitter, Visit loriannstephens.com

About the book

In the new Republic of Texas, open-carry gun ownership is mandatory, fundamentalist religion is the norm, violent motorcycle gangs terrorise the towns, the police are corrupted, and vigilantes guard the Wall that keeps people out and in. It is in this setting that Bluebonnet Andrews has grown up in the small town of Blessing with her alcoholic deputy father, her mother having fled the country just before Texas’ borders were closed to the rest of the world.

When a firearm accident kills Blue’s best friend, the Texas Rangers accuse her of murder. The penalty for murder is death, regardless of your age. Terrified, Blue goes on the run. In this journey away from the only home she has ever known, Blue joins up with a Latin American teenager named Jet, who is also on the run. Blue’s vague plans of crossing the border and finding her mother are galvanized by Jet’s situation: the 16-year-old is pregnant. She needs to cross the Wall into America, where abortion is still legal. But is freedom of choice worth dying for?

Blue Running addresses issues of feminism, nationalism, women’s rights, racial injustice, immigration, and gun ownership, framed through the intimate tale of two young women from different backgrounds reacting to the system. Underlying these surface issues are their own personal struggles: histories of abandonment, abuse, sexual assault, racism, and individual agency.

Lori Stephens is a massive new talent in the literary fiction thriller scene. Her writing is sparse, fearless, and real. Blue Running pulls no punches. A fast-paced, page-turning, chilling book which looks unflinchingly at what the future could hold, Blue Running is unforgettable and important. This is her first book to be published in the UK.

Review

Blue is a neglected, abandoned and lonely teenager, who finds her life thrown upside down when she finds herself in the middle of a tragic accident. Trouble is nobody believes her and as she is making her way to the person she thinks will embrace her with open arms, she comes across a young girl who intends to flee to America to an abortion. Blue starts to understand her own privilege and how different life is for both of them. Their journey becomes an awakening and eye-opening experience.

A dystopian that sails close to the wind when it comes to realistic possible futuristic scenarios will always be memorable and relatable. This plot describes a future certain political groupings and fanatics would be quite comfortable with. A wall built between those who misinterpret freedom and democracy, and those who understand better what democracy truly means.

Stephens has brought together the most contentious issues of 21st century America, and the political climate of the past six years or so, to create a fascinating coming-of-age story. Blue represents the youth of today, but perhaps more importantly Jet and Blue represent both sides of the story.

In a frank and often alarming look into the future, the plot deals with racism, neglect, abuse, and the victims of political power plays. Where the powers that be take choice and freedom away from women and young girls, all in the name of religion – on words written by man for men. Whilst simultaneously the same powers that be think nothing of making each child a potential killer by arming them and enforcing martial law on everyone, including children who break the law. The break in logic is clear to some and yet to others this seems like a great structure for society. 

It’s a gripping and fascinating read.

Buy Blue Running at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Moonflower Books, pub date 2nd December 2021| £16.99 | Hardback. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Femlandia by Christina Dalcher

It’s my turn on the BlogTour Femlandia by Christina Dalcher and I couldn’t be more stoked. I loved this book!

About the Author

Christina Dalcher earned her doctorate in theoretical linguistics from Georgetown University. She specialized in the phonetics of sound change in Italian and British dialects and taught at universities in the United States, England, and the United Arab Emirates.

Her short stories and flash fiction appear in over one hundred journals worldwide. Recognitions include first prize in the Bath Flash Fiction Award as well as nominations for The Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and Best Small Fictions.

After spending several years abroad, most recently in Sri Lanka, Dalcher and her husband now split their time between the American South and Andalucia, Spain.

Her debut novel, VOX, was published in August 2018 by Berkley (an imprint of Penguin Random House) and has been translated into twenty languages.  The success of Vox was followed up by the equally successful novels Master Class, Q and now Femlandia. 

Follow @CV_Dalcher on Twitter, Visit christinadalcher.com

About the book

A chilling look into an alternate near future where a woman and her daughter seek refuge in a women-only colony, only to find that the safe haven they were hoping for is the most dangerous place they could be.

Miranda Reynolds always thought she would rather die than live in Femlandia. But that was before the country sank into total economic collapse and her husband walked out in the harshest, most permanent way, leaving her and her sixteen-year-old daughter with nothing. The streets are full of looting, robbing, and killing, and Miranda and Emma no longer have much choice—either starve and risk getting murdered, or find safety. And so they set off to Femlandia, the women-only colony Miranda’s mother, Win Somers, established decades ago.

Although Win is no longer in the spotlight, her protégé Jen Jones has taken Femlandia to new heights: The off-grid colonies are secluded, self-sufficient, and thriving—and Emma is instantly enchanted by this idea of a safe haven. But something is not right. There are no men allowed in the colony, but babies are being born—and they’re all girls. Miranda discovers just how the all-women community is capable of enduring, and it leads her to question how far her mother went to create this perfect, thriving, horrifying society. 

Review

I loved this book! This is going on my best of the year list. I enjoy the way this author has no qualms about venturing into areas a lot of authors steer clear of. There is no fear of treading into controversial topics and crossing boundaries, and in this case calling some bluffs.

Let’s talk Femlandia, and believe me there is plenty to talk about. Miranda and her teenage daughter find themselves in the ruins of their previously privileged life and the breakdown of society as the world knows it. Food shortages, Mad Max dystopian violence is rampant, and the two of them decide to make a run for it before it’s too late.

Enter the world Miranda’s long estranged,and now deceased mother, Win created many years ago. Compounds filled only with girls and women. Miranda and Emma head for the closest one, but the safe harbour appears to be a shallow facade for something for sinister.

The author takes the concept of a woman only world and points out the obvious missing link – if you want to have a continuation of said concept you need men. In a destroyed civilisation without technology how do you ensure only women survive? There are also a few arrows aimed in the general direction of radical feminists and gender – it’s a red hot topic at the moment. I think it’s fair to say … nah I’m not even going to go there. What I will say is the ending of this book speaks volumes about the core of women’s rights and voices being silenced, by the patriarchy and those raised in and supporting said system.

I could talk about this book and the premise for ages. I can’t wait to tell people about it and get their take on it. That’s something you always take away from a book by Dalcher – plenty to talk about. Once again it’s another cracking read. A grenade tossing, minefield dodging exploration of radical feminism, societal constructs and that good old chestnut – patriarchy.

Buy Femlandia at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon comAt WaterstonesAt HarperCollins.

#LaunchDay #BlogTour Finding Fires and Other Stories by Rachel Churcher

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Finding Fire and Other Stories by Rachel Churcher. It’s the seventh book in the Battle Ground series. 

To celebrate the launch of Finding Fires the author is offering the prequel, Making Trouble, for free – get it here https://tallerbooks.com/freebook/  – Buy Finding Fires here

About the Author

Rachel Churcher was born between the last manned moon landing, and the first orbital Space Shuttle mission. She remembers watching the launch of STS-1, and falling in love with space flight, at the age of five. She fell in love with science fiction shortly after that, and in her teens she discovered dystopian fiction. In an effort to find out what she wanted to do with her life, she collected degrees and other qualifications in Geography, Science Fiction Studies, Architectural Technology, Childminding, and Writing for Radio.

She has worked as an editor on national and in-house magazines; as an IT trainer; and as a freelance writer and artist. She has renovated several properties, and has plenty of horror stories to tell about dangerous electrics and nightmare plumbers. She enjoys reading, travelling, stargazing, and eating good food with good friends – but nothing makes her as happy as writing fiction.

Her first published short story appeared in an anthology in 2014, and the Battle Ground series is her first long-form work. Rachel lives in East Anglia, in a house with a large library and a conservatory full of house plants. She would love to live on Mars, but only if she’s allowed to bring her books.

Follow @Rachel_Churcher on Twitter, on Goodreadson Facebookon Instagram,

About the book

What happened between Margie and Dan at Makepeace Farm? How did Jackson really feel about Ketty? What happens next to the survivors of the Battle Ground Series?

Step behind the scenes of the series with six new short stories and five new narrators – Margie, Jackson, Maz, Dan, and Charlie – plus bonus blogs and insights from the author.

The Battle Ground Series is set in a dystopian near-future UK, after Brexit and Scottish independence. Spoiler warning: Finding Fire and Other Stories contains tie-in short fiction from across the Battle Ground series. There are spoilers for all the previous books in the series, including the free prequel, Making Trouble.

Review

I have to give the author her dues when it comes to Author’s note at the beginning of this book. There is a clear structure to this dystopian and speculative YA series, and the order in which a person reads the books can influence the reading experience.

Reading this one first – book 7 – for instance is a bit like collecting everyone’s diaries and personal notes after being involved in many months of life changing events, and reading them out loud in front the class without having the right context to evaluate said information. The previous books give book seven all the right situational, emotional backstory.

Having read along on this experimental journey I think this adds to the speculative nature of the premise. I think the only downsides are the fact the series has to be read as a whole – as an experience – to get the full gist of it. The earlier books may seem to lack depth or perhaps context in some areas for instance, but as it evolves those areas are catered for retrospectively.

The author also uses Book Seven to evaluate some of her own characters and their actions. In fact it’s almost like a special episode with special unseen footage and the author’s comments. It’s a nice closure, from an aesthetic point of view, not necessarily needed from a story point of view. 

Buy Finding Fires at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : ‎Taller Books pub date 15 July 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour #LaunchDay Balancing Act by Rachel Churcher

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour Balancing Act by Rachel Churcher.

The first book in the series ‘Battle Ground‘ will be free to download on May 28th:  http://getbook.at/BattleGroundBook1

About the Author

Rachel Churcher was born between the last manned moon landing, and the first orbital Space Shuttle mission. She remembers watching the launch of STS-1, and falling in love with space flight, at the age of five. She fell in love with science fiction shortly after that, and in her teens she discovered dystopian fiction. In an effort to find out what she wanted to do with her life, she collected degrees and other qualifications in Geography, Science Fiction Studies, Architectural Technology, Childminding, and Writing for Radio.

She has worked as an editor on national and in-house magazines; as an IT trainer; and as a freelance writer and artist. She has renovated several properties, and has plenty of horror stories to tell about dangerous electrics and nightmare plumbers. She enjoys reading, travelling, stargazing, and eating good food with good friends – but nothing makes her as happy as writing fiction.

Her first published short story appeared in an anthology in 2014, and the Battle Ground series is her first long-form work. Rachel lives in East Anglia, in a house with a large library and a conservatory full of house plants. She would love to live on Mars, but only if she’s allowed to bring her books.

Follow @Rachel_Churcher on Twitter, on Goodreadson Facebookon Instagram, Visit tallerbooks.com/battleground/

About the Battle Ground series

The Battle Ground Series is set in a dystopian near-future UK, after Brexit and Scottish independence. Spoiler warning: Balancing Act is a tie-in novel in the series, revisiting the events of Darkest Hour, Fighting Back, and Victory Day. It is suitable for older teens and adult readers.

About the book

Corporal David Conrad has life figured out. His job gives him power, control, and access to Top Secret operations. His looks have tempted plenty of women into his bed, and he has no intention of committing to a relationship. 

When Ketty Smith joins the Home Forces, Conrad sets his sights on the new girl – but pursuing Ketty will be more dangerous than he realises. Is Conrad about to meet his match? And will the temptations of his job distract him from his target?

Review

Although this is the sixth book in the Battle Ground series it is more of tie-in written through the eyes of one character, David Conrad, and it also veers slightly off the written path. I recommend reading the other books in the series to be able to get the full gist of this one, because it references certain people and events that take place in the previous books.

It begs the question whether David realises he is actually just a high priced hooker – oh wait, how about no fee hooker. Sourcing information or spying as we luddites like to call it, and using sexual encounters to do so, well I think David’s horse is a little higher in his own mind. His own tune is very much one of a debonair Casanova in a dystopian world. Now that’s a premise.

‘I’ve marked her body, broken her skin’ – This element of the story has a wee bit of a romanticised possessive slant to it. In general Corporal Conrad views himself as the gift that keeps on giving and as smarter than the average bear, but then perhaps that leaves him vulnerable for betrayal and being completely hoodwinked. 

Unlike the rest of the Battle Ground series, which falls into the sub-genre or category of YA, this has more of an adult tone and fits better in the NA slot. The dystopian revolution premise that has a sharp taste of reality to it, because it is set in a post-Brexit and Scottish independence world.

I’m in two minds about this book. It doesn’t fit with the overall gist of the general Battle Ground vibe, but it does lend itself to a spin-off. I think these are two separate entities that can co-exist in the BG world-building, however they are targeting slightly different demographics. If you’ve read the rest of the books the background info and scenes in this book will make sense, but it will feel like a completely different read. Then again perhaps this will just more readers over to the dark side – they have cookies you know, and bombs.

I’ll admit I wasn’t a fan of David’s or his toxic masculinity, I found him creepy, possessive and a lot of words I that would be censored on many platforms. Does the story work in combination with the pre-existing info of the previous books – yes it absolutely does.

Personally I think it’s time for Churcher to explore where her creativity is leading her, and perhaps that will be outside of Battle Ground – it’s okay to let an established series learn to walk and run by itself. Then again perhaps this dystopian setting is just getting started.

Buy Balancing Act at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Taller Books pub date 20 May 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Mind’s Eye by Miles Hudson

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Mind’s Eye by Miles Hudson.

About the Author

Notionally, I’m a school physics teacher. I’ve worked in a variety of schools in north-east England and started recently as the PGCE Physics tutor at Newcastle Uni. I also write a whole load of textbook materials for schools, my biggest titles being A Level Physics books for Edexcel exam board courses.

And I’m the inventor of the Best Fit Line Ruler. I ran a small business making and selling those but after ten years and 50,000 rulers, I’ve stopped making them.

I have a major passion for writing fiction. My future-set series of novels, starting with 2089, is about a gently post-apocalyptic, Orwellian future England. You could say ‘sci-fi’, but it’s not really lasers and spaceships; ‘dystopian’ catches the themes well.

I’ve also developed a great series of detective novels featuring the duo Penfold and DS Tony Milburn. Based in Durham City CID, DS Milburn and his civilian foil, the kiwi surfer, Penfold, solve cases that take in high stakes such as murder and big heists, but in a very cerebral way. Holmes and Watson for the 21st Century, if you will.

Follow @milesmhudson on Twitteron Facebookon Goodreads, Visit mileshudson.comBuy The Mind’s Eye

About the book

Everything anyone sees and hears is recorded and available to view online. Our eyes and ears are remotely wiretapped. There can be no secrets. But… what if the surveillance system had been hacked, and you weren’t actually committing the crimes people saw you committing? Jack Smith and Vicky Truva are on the run, again.

In 2089, Jack was banished to an island in the Bristol Channel for blowing up the old GCHQ building to destroy the surveillance computers. 18 months later, those responsible for his conviction suffer arson, assault and explosion. Eye witnesses attribute these crimes to Jack. The surveillance system is fixed, but he appears to be evading it. That should be impossible.

With his friend, Vicky, Jack returns from exile to try to prove that he is not the criminal. A militia posse, including Vicky’s brother, pursue them across climate-changed Gloucestershire. The surveillance system functions erratically. Can Jack and Vicky outrun the posse long enough to work out what’s wrong with it? And find out who really committed the crimes? And can they catch them?

Review

After being banished to an island for blowing up a building, is Jack the perfect patsy for someone looking to make trouble? Makes sense to pick a troublemaker, but is it just a ruse, a distraction technique or is there something more nefarious afoot?

How is Jack supposed to prove that he isn’t committing crimes when he is being seen committing said crimes? When the surveillance system everyone trusts is giving clear information and yet Jack knows it isn’t him. How do you prove it isn’t you when the fail proof system says it is without a doubt – you.

It’s a kind of dystopian deep state Big Brother techno thriller. A society immersed in technology, governed and influenced by it, watched by it. People who live in this dystopian future trust the technology implicitly – the question is whether they should?

This leads back to something our own era has sunken into, the deep fake and misinformation era. The way technology is used to drive false news, propaganda and misinformation. The way it is used to track and monitor. One can only imagine how it will evolve, but it isn’t much of a stretch to imagine a future decimated by human fuelled climate change.

This is actually one of the more intriguing elements of the read, the way the author envisages the world if the predictions about climate change come true. How humanity learns to survive in an entirely different landscape and atmosphere with a high dependency on a reality created for us by AI and those at the tip of the technology iceberg. 

Buy The Mind’s Eye at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Penfold Books pub date 1 Feb. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.