#BlogTour Rage by Suzanne Lowe

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Rage (Seventeen #2) by Suzanne Lowe. It’s the second part of the dystopian YA series Seventeen.

About the Author

Suzanne was born in Perth Western Australia and as a young adult grew up in the small country town of Tom Price situated in the outback of Western Australia. Her current home is in Perth with her husband, two daughters and cat Abby.

Suzanne has a Bachelor of Science Degree, majoring in Sports Science. Her interests include watching movies, particularly sci- fi, travelling, photography and reading. She also enjoys going to the occasional comic book convention!

Like the young women in her stories, Suzanne has had the opportunity to experience many exciting adventures in her life so far including being part of the Australian Army Reserves, climbing to Mt Everest base camp, descending into one of the pyramids at Giza in Egypt, flying in a hot air balloon over the Valley of the Kings, parachuting from a plane at 12000 feet in York and sitting on the edge of an active volcano on Tanna island in Vanuatu.

Suzanne has won the award for best Sci fi/Horror in an e-book in the New Apple literary awards for her YA novel Seventeen and received a bronze medal from Reader’ Favorite International writers’ literary competition for her children’s novel The Pirate Princess and the Golden Locket.

Suzanne is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Australian Society of Authors.

Her published works include;

Seventeen, book one in the Seventeen Series. A YA dystopian adventure story set in Australia. Rage, book two in the Seventeen Series. The Pirate Princess and the Golden Locket, a pirate adventure story for middle grade children.

Follow @Suzanne_Lowe_ on Twitter, on Facebookon Amazonon Goodreadson Instagram, Visit Suzanneloweauthor.comBuy Rage

About the book

“Revenge. It was all he could think about.

His body ached for it, burned for it like a relentless fire waiting to be quenched. It was all he wanted.”

With the KV17 virus now in its mutated form and the older children infected, Jasper’s Bay faces an uncertain future as they attempt to find a cure.

When old enemies return, causing tension and turmoil throughout the town, Lexi must face her fears and suppress the rage building inside her. Will the virus take hold or can she maintain control? How can you defeat an enemy when it is part of who you are?

The exciting and compelling YA series set in the harsh Australian outback.

Review

This series reminded me of The Tribe, a television sci-fi series from the late 90s, and Gone by Michael Grant. The face of humanity has been changed by a virus called KV17, which has wiped out all the adults. Now the virus has mutated and is infecting the older children or those nearing adulthood.

Although this is the second in the series it can be read as a standalone novel, because Lowe gives readers sufficient information without rehashing the entirety of the last book. In the first book of the series, Seventeen, the small group has no choice but to send three of their group into exile, because they are starting to show signs of the infection. This causes disruption and perhaps a wedge between some of the children.

What it does do without a doubt is enrage the exiled, who are out for revenge, but to do so they need to ensure their ranks grow. They approach another small community of children struggling to survive and persuade them to help get revenge on Lexi’s group.

It’s a YA dystopian story suitable for both older and younger readers, an apocalyptic adventure series. The author plays into the anxiety of many adults by presenting the vulnerability of children if they are put into a position of having to feed, clothe and keep themselves safe. That’s the bit that tugs on the heartstrings.

The flipside of the coin is the correlation between adulthood, a lack of empathy and more aggressive behaviour. It begs the question whether those elements are driven by coming-of-age or by the virus itself.

Buy Rage (Seventeen #2) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published in paperback and ebook formats by Silvergum Publishing on 2nd September 2019. Buy at Amazon comAt Amazon AuAt BlackwellsBuy at BookDepository. At Waterstones.

#BlogTour Fighting Back by Rachel Churcher

Today it is my turn on the BlogTour Fighting Back, the fourth part in the Battle Ground series, by Rachel Churcher.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.

About the book

Bex Ellman and her friends are in hiding, sheltered by the resistance. With her family threatened and her friendships challenged, she’s looking for a way to fight back. Ketty Smith is in London, supporting a government she no longer trusts. With her support network crumbling, Ketty must decide who she is fighting for – and what she is willing risk to uncover the truth.

The Battle Ground series is set in a dystopian near-future UK, after Brexit and Scottish independence. Review

I recommend reading the rest of the series to get the full gist of the characters and this series. The books can be read as standalone books, but I think readers will get more from the entirety of the series.

Set in the future post-Brexit and post Scottish Independence era, the series Battle Ground is an alarming dystopian scenario, perhaps more so because it isn’t a far-fetched premise. A civil war rages in the country, a war driven by propaganda and false facts.

In this fourth part of the series Churcher shows the reader how both sides are unable to present themselves as free of guilt and blame. When the resistance takes their fight to the next level and in doing  so an event happens that targets innocent bystanders, well they no longer have a leg to stand on when it comes to presenting themselves to the world as the better solution.

Does the end justify the means? Do two wrongs make a right? I think this is the bitter lesson that certain characters learn within this story. Will some of these choices or retaliations make some of them rethink their position in this vicious war?

It’s a dystopian series set in the near future and set around a premise that isn’t that far-fetched at all. At present the UK is divided by starkly different political opinions, and the question of refugees for instance, which brings us back to the question of race and racism. The division is being defined and driven by the agendas of foreign countries, media bias and the upper echelon of the wealthy. Is it any wonder that there are plenty of voices of dissension. Churcher uses the fire that burns to fuel her stories.

Buy Fighting Back  (Battle Ground #4) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.  Publisher: Taller Books; pub date 20 Nov. 2019. Buy at Amazon com. Buy the Battle Ground books at Taller Books.

Read my reviews of Battle Ground and Darkest Hour by Rachel Churcher

#BlogTour Sleeper: The Red Storm by J.D. Fennell

Today it is my pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Sleeper: The Red Storm by JD Fennell. The sequel to the successful dystopian action thriller Sleeper.

The Red Storm manages to crank up the action even higher, which I didn’t think was possible after Sleeper, but Fennell brings even more to the table this time.

About the Author

J.D. was born in Belfast at the start if the Troubles, and began writing stories at a young age to help understand the madness unfolding around him.

A lover of reading, he devoured a diverse range of books – his early influences include Fleming, Tolkien, Shakespeare and the Brontës. He left Belfast at the age of nineteen and worked as a chef, bartender, waiter and later began a career in writing for the software industry.

These days he divides his time between Brighton and London, where he lives with his partner and their two dogs.

J.D.’s debut, Sleeper, was published by The Dome Press in April 2017.

Follow @jd_fennell or @DomePress on Twitter or on facebook.com/JDFennellAuthor/

Visit sleeperbook.com

About the book

Will starling has been drafted into the SOE, joining forces with the French Resistance, but his  memory is fractured and only occasional flashbacks reveal fragments of his past. When his mission is compromised, Will suspects that he’s been betrayed. Back in London he hears that VIPER are developing a deadly weapon. As he and MI5 agent Anna Wilder set out to destroy it, their every move is anticipated by their enemies.

While Will fights to prevent genocide, his sister, Rose, has become the key to VIPER’s future plans and is drugged to dull her kinetic powers. But Rose faces danger from an unexpected enemy and her time is running out.

Q&A with JD Fennell

After the resounding success of Sleeper you are back with sequel, Sleeper – The Red Storm..

What was or is the inspiration for Sleeper? I wanted to write the kind of books I love to read. The Sleeper series are fast-paced spy thrillers with mysticism, the supernatural and sophisticated period technology on the fringes of reality. I wanted to be in that world, so I created one.

I would put this series in a multitude of genres, which is probably what makes it a read both younger and older readers find intriguing. It has elements of historical, war dystopian, sci-fi, spy thriller and industrial revolution steampunk meets futuristic weaponry genres. It is suitable for younger, young adult and older adults. An any age read, so to speak.

Was is it your intention to meld all of these different elements together or was it more of a this is where the plot is leading me kind of thing? Yes, it was. I wanted the characters to age as the story progresses. I did not want to remain in the same small timeframe. The first in the series, Sleeper, is a YA, which can be read by younger and older readers. In the sequel, The Red Storm, the characters are adults and well-established spies. Red Storm has an older voice and darker themes and as such has been marketed as an adult thriller.

Leading on from that was it also your intention to write a series that a person of any age can pick up and read, and parents would be happy to buy their book-hungry children? Yes I suppose it was. The third in the series will take place some years after the close of Red Storm. It will also be a darker book. That said I do intend to return to Rose’s story and write a short ebook about her. All that said, I would caution parents about choosing Red Storm for their children because of the dark themes and adult content, which will increase in the third book. They may want to read it first before passing it on. I know some parents have done this already.

As a parent of both book hungry and reluctant readers I know I have found it difficult at times to find a way to encourage my youngest son to read. He needed to build his reading, writing and comprehension skills, and yet the majority of books didn’t stir his interest. I had to search for the more unusual books to get him to read. I think Sleeper and The Red Storm fit into the bracket of letting younger readers experience the action packed creativity of a writer who doesn’t just want to tell them how the ugly duckling became a beautiful swan.

Do you think the book industry invests enough in books for younger readers that cross boundaries of imagination, creativity and outlandish theories? I don’t think I could comment on that because I don’t know enough about the children’s book market. However, I do know that middle-grade is a huge business and YA – in the UK – not so much. In the US, however, YA is massive.

I don’t want to give any of the many surprises, deaths and plot twists away, so I am going to try to keep the questions about the book as neutral as possible.

What made you pick this particular period in history? I loved the idea of a spy story set during the war without the war being the main focus. Also, I love the clothes, the cars and the lack of internet, social media and celebrity culture. What’s not to love about that?

Will seems to accept and forget the deaths of his comrades and friends very quickly. Is this part of his training or because of the trauma he has been through? Will spends his time on the run dodging bullets and fighting psychopaths and cold-blooded killers. His training has taught him resolve and his trauma has hardened it.

The concept for the actual Red Storm is akin to the biological weapons the world is threatened by in our era. Did you take inspiration for this from reality? Very much so. The threat of these type of weapons exist today and was close to my mind when I wrote it. I suppose this gives the books a modern twist.

What is the difference between the Will of Sleeper #1 and the Will of Sleeper #2: The Red Storm? The Will in book 1 is an amnesiac whose memory loss makes him question who he is. He believes himself to be an ordinary sixteen-year-old, however, deep inside him is a burning rage that he cannot explain. When he is in a life-threatening situation his first thought is to run. As the story progresses he learns more about his past and by the end of the book his rage has a focus.

The Will in Red Storm is the ‘Liberator’ and ‘Executioner’. (Readers of Sleeper will understand what this means). So, when it comes to VIPER he kills without remorse.

What’s next for Will and his band of merry people? (I have read the shocking ending of The Red Storm – there is no way you can just leave it there…). I’d say expect the unexpected. That’s all I’m saying.

Thank you for answering all of my questions. Thank you for hosting me.

Review

The Red Storm is the sequel to the successful dystopian action thriller Sleeper. There is definitely a notable change in Will in this book. He appears to be more ruthless and less inclined to dither in the pool of emotions. People fall to the side, die and disappear, and yet Will glosses over each event, because his eye is on his goals.

There is a new dangerous threat in this book. At first Will thinks his enemies are talking in some kind of strange code when they reference a storm coming, until he encounters the Red Storm in person, then he realises just how big the threat is.

Meanwhile as Will is set on his own course and targets, the reader finds out what is happening to his sister. The story of Rose is disturbing, especially when it comes to the procedures she has to go through. She is so important to the enemy camp that they are willing to go to any length to get what they want, regardless of her young age.

I am not going to go into any more details, so you can discover this highly explosive and fast-paced read for yourselves. It is a read I would recommend to readers who are looking for an author who is able to combine a multitude of genres and create a new exciting read.

The action is cranked up even higher in this book, which I didn’t think was possible after Sleeper, but Fennell brings even more to the table this time. He also ends the book on one heck of a cliffhanger, which means we will probably…hopefully be reading more about Will in the future.

It’s a complex dystopian action thriller with the vibe of a war and spy novel. It ‘s non-stop action from start to finish – it’s one hell of a ride.

Buy Sleeper: The Red Storm at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Publisher: The Dome Press, pub. date 25 Oct. 2018

Read my review of Sleeper book #1 Buy Sleeper

Moon Chosen by P.C. Cast

moon-chosenThe beginning is a little vague on specifics or rather too specific on the dystopian world building, but with no info to go on. It takes a while to be able to see through the maze of branches and groups of new world people, and comprehend the plot.

All I can say is, stick with it. A few chapters in it starts to make a lot more sense and becomes quite an interesting read.

Moon Chosen is set in a world after technology and long after the destruction of society as we know it now. The surviving humans have split into different groups with their own newly built structures and rules. Unfortunately they all view each other as mortal enemies. The Tree people hunt and enslave the Earth Walkers and the Skin Eaters aren’t fussy they will kill and eat anyone.

Mari is a hybrid of two groups, a fact her mother keeps well hidden, because it also means she will be accepted by neither if they discover the truth.

The book is filled with the magic pulled from natural resources, such as the sun, the moon and the earth. The only thing left to rely on when all else has dwindled to to dust and ruin.

There are some tough scenes, which put the book towards the older end of YA for me. Gang rape puts it more in the sub-genre of NA, as far as I am concerned.

The epilogue seems to introduce a further story in the series with a character who just stumbles in towards the end. The emphasis appears to be on single characters and their animal counterparts, which is a shame. I do think the story Cast has built up in Moon Chosen is vast enough to be developed further without throwing in random mate selections whether they be human or not. More dystopian world and less urban fantasy methinks.

Buy Moon Chosen at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

The Thousandth Floor by Katherine McGee

the-thousandth-floorIt was actually quite amusing, because I had to keep reminding myself of the beginning and where the story was supposed to be heading. It starts off with a dramatic fall, suicide, accident or death and ends the same way. There is so much drama in the middle that it just slipped my mind completely.

It’s a pity the premise is more of Gossip Girl scenario, because McGee has some really interesting ideas. The towers and the caste structure are worth exploring in more depth. Then there is the Nadia the quant, both this and the futuristic communication in combination with the world-building is quite fascinating.

What it comes down to in the end is rich people vs poor people and the ex-rich who want to be rich again, because they hate being poor. Oh and girlfriend and boyfriend trouble. Nothing too complex. Again, such a contradiction in the mixture of ideas. A bit like creating a complex void structure and then filling it completely with candy floss.

Even in the future the young still seek a high and spend all their time worrying about their love lives. So much for advanced technology and spectacular development. I shouldn’t be surprised by the fact humans will always be shallow entities no matter how many centuries into the future.

Buy The Thousandth Floor at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

The Crown by Keira Cass

The CrownThis is part #5 of The Selection series and again I have to say I can totally understand why the series is popular with younger readers.

I’m not sure how it gets away with the YA sub-genre title though, because for me it is written in a middle-grade way. The whole style, vibe and even the names of the characters. Making them up as she goes along and just adding random letters together.

It’s infantile and something I would expect from a newbie. Oh hey Mr Blobby its Mr Coddly. It’s detrimental to the story.  I have said this before though about this particular author and her writing in this series.

In this book Eadlyn has to step up to the plate and become the ruler she will eventually become anyway. She does try to connect to the people, bless her little heart. Of course being a dab hand at politics and communication is in direct contradiction to the selection going on for her future spouse.

The few that are left are dropping like flies, so the final choice is just around the corner. Watch out for the underdog sneaking through the royal bushes is all I’m going to say.

The premise is more or less the Bachelorette or Bachelor with younger contestants, better clothes and cheesier dialogue. The Crown isn’t on par with the beginning of the series, so perhaps it’s time to lay it to bed. It may just have run its course.

Buy The Crown at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

insurgentAs I have mentioned before I am a little late to the series, despite having the books in the house for ages. I must say I have enjoyed the read then again I am a sucker for dystopian settings.

This is the second part in the Divergent series. You can definitely see the influence this series has had on other books and vice versa. Also the obvious parallels to the Hunger Games (HG was released first). It’s an eclectic mixture of dystopian and sci-fi.

I believe the two series have given YA dystopian literature a huge platform, whilst inspiring many other authors to bend the boundaries of this particular genre.

The Tris in this book is a bit of an emotional wreck. A wet blanket who acts without thinking and spends a lot of time doubting her choices. Gone is the strong sense of survival from the first book.

In my review of the first part I mentioned how I felt the compulsory love match took away from the interesting dystopian plot. In this book their relationship is a wee bit on the rocky side.In fact Four does not seem to understand her at all.Their attitudes and decisions are incompatible, although one could argue that Four has just been really good at hiding his real intentions.

It is a typical in between book. A lot of information to fill in the blanks and set up the last book. The first sets up the story, the second gives us an overall view on the situation and the last one is the culmination of the revolution.

Definitely a series both younger and older readers will enjoy

Buy Insurgent at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Read Divergent, the first in the Divergent Trilogy series by Veronica Roth.