#SeriesBlogTour Tomorrow’s Ancestors: The Museum of Second Chances by A.E. Warren

It’s my first turn on the Series Blog Tour for Tomorrow’s Ancestors: The Museum of Second Chances by A.E. Warren and will be blogging about the second book, The Base of Reflections, in a few days.About the Author

AE Warren lives in the UK. A not-so-covert nerd with mildly obsessive tendencies, she has happily wiled away an inordinate amount of time reading and watching sci-fi/ fantasy and gaming. She is interested in the ‘what ifs’.

The Museum of Second Chances is her first novel and she is currently writing the third book in the ‘Tomorrow’s Ancestors’ series.

Follow @amauthoring on Twitter, on Facebookon Instagramon Goodreadson Amazon, Visit aewarren.comBuy The Museum of Second Chances

About the book

What happens when the future recaptures the past?

In a post-apocalyptic world the human race has evolved beyond us through genetic engineering – and we’ve been left behind to make amends for the damage inflicted on the earth.

The reversal of the extinction of long lost animals is key to our reparations and all of these are housed in the Museum of Evolution – along with another species of human that hasn’t existed for 30,000 years.

Elise belongs to the lowest order of humans, the Sapiens. She lives in an ostracised community of ecological houses, built to blend with an idyllic landscape. Deciding to widen her stagnating life in the manufacturing base, she takes a chance opportunity to become a Companion to a previously extinct species of human.

And while living in the museum, Elise realises that little separates her from the other exhibits…

Review

Now and again you find an unexpected gem of a read and this is one of those reads. The worldbuilding, research and thought that has gone into this makes it an extraordinary and interesting experience.

Hierarchy and sub-levels of humans isn’t a new idea per se, doing it from the Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens onwards perhaps more so. This is set in a future after the Homo Sapiens has self-imploded their own civilisation, and because of that they are considered less superior than other groupings of humans.

In fact any group above them is genetically superior. Stronger, smarter, taller – every possible advantage can be bought or is yours by birthright. If you’re really lucky you might even win the opportunity to rise up in the ranks by adding genetic advantages.

Elise is Sapiens, which means she is treated either like dirt or as non-existent in the grand scheme of the hierarchy laws. She isn’t satisfied with being confined to a specific job just because she was born in a certain area. She applies to be a Companion to a museum exhibit, which displeases her own family and other Sapiens.

Now imagine the exhibit living in a bubbled replica of their native environment. Caged like an animal, studied like a lab rat, but an ancestor to all the other human species.

It’s very much a case of you don’t belong to the higher social group if you come from below and those below no longer accept you as one of their own when you rise above your own social status. No difference there really – it’s the same in present day society.

It’s a dystopian novel with post-apocalyptic and futuristic elements. Warren combines anthropology, natural science, genetics and eugenics to create a fascinating read. I’m looking forward to the next part in the series.

Buy The Museum of Second Chances at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.  Publisher: Locutions Press; pub date 17 Feb. 2018. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Psychotopia by R.N. Morris

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Psychotopia by R.N. Morris. It’s futuristic and speculative fiction with an intriguing premise.

Don’t forget to enter the Giveaway (below) –  to Win 1 x Signed Hardback Copy of Pyschotopia (Open Internationally)

About the Author

R. N. Morris is the author of ten novels. The latest is Psychotopia, published 31 October, 2018.

A Gentle Axe, was published by Faber and Faber in 2007. Set in St Petersburg in the nineteenth century, it features Porfiry Petrovich, the investigating magistrate from Dostoevsky’s great novel, Crime and Punishment. The book was published in many countries, including Russia. He followed that up with A Vengeful Longing, which was shortlisted for the Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award (as the CWA Gold Dagger was briefly known). A Razor Wrapped in Silk came next, followed by The Cleansing Flames, which was nominated for the Ellis Peters Historical Novel Dagger.

The Silas Quinn series of novels, set in London in 1914, began with Summon Up The Blood, followed by The Mannequin House, The Dark Palace and The Red Hand of Fury. The next novel in the series, The White Feather Killer, will be published in April 2019.

Taking Comfort is a standalone contemporary novel, written as Roger Morris. He also wrote the libretto to the opera When The Flame Dies, composed by Ed Hughes.

Follow @rnmorris on Twitter, on Facebook, Visit rogernmorris.co.uk

Buy Psychotopia

About the book

A game for the times we live – and die – in. Enter Psychotopia, a dark new dystopian novel from the author of the acclaimed Silas Quinn mysteries.

PSYCHOTOPIA, LEVEL ONE. Create your own boutique psychopath, then deceive, manipulate and be ruthless, spreading mayhem and destruction to reach the next levels.

It’s the computer game for our times. After all, the amount of crazy in the world is increasing. Senseless violence on the streets is becoming the norm. Can Dr Arbus’s ground-breaking device identify and neutralize psychopaths before it’s too late? In this increasingly dysfunctional world, surely Callum standing by Aimee after her devastating encounter with Charlie is proof that real love and goodness can still win in a world that’s increasingly rotten . . . Or can it?

Review

Right! R.N. Morris needs locking in a room with no access to the outside world and no internet – his ideas are far too dangerous.

A video game based on psychopathy, one that interacts and evolves based on the pathology of someone’s lack of empathy, conscience and in general what is considered the normal emotional response based on societal norms. The idea is dangerous.

I wondered, as I am sure many readers will, what the underlying message is. To establish a world with psychopaths in the control seat? Perhaps the idea that they can be functioning and useful members of society or indeed that there are plenty of undiagnosed psychopaths at large. The game and the response to it is also a way to diagnose and recognise different types of a pathology that experts still don’t quite understand.

Is there a rise in the number of psycho and sociopaths, and if so is it because our DNA is evolving with the environment in a way that suggests they would have a better survival rate. What a worrying thought, the natural survivor of the late 21st century could be humans with no empathy and capable of killing without compunction. Hmm.

Science is already capable of identifying specific genes that suggest a predisposition towards violence, perhaps eventually the same will apply to other or similar sub-categories or extensions of anti-social behaviour such as psychopathy. We already have tests in place to identify psychopathic tendencies.

What I found really fascinating is the labelling of P or NP, and whether the actual labelling would lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy or alternatively whether the true nature would persevere, despite the label.

I think the sex scene was perhaps superfluous, keeping the strength of the storyline in mind, and it slipped into the dangerous zone of gender tropes. I also thought the graphic reference to the two-year-old in the beginning could deter some readers from enjoying or finishing the read, despite it only being a quick example of deviant behaviour. The truth is still considered a taboo in some subjects unfortunately, because the majority of people would rather not be confronted with the atrocity of sexual deviancy.

It’s futuristic and speculative fiction with an intriguing premise. Perhaps video game development and the advancement into virtual reality as it melds into real life deserves to be a sub-genre in its own right.

Psychotopia takes the reader to a world of open doors and what you take away from this book will be an individual experience depending on your own frame of references, including whether there is a clear conclusion or closure at the end. Hypothetical reality meets base human nature, depravity and a lack of conscience.

Buy Psychotopia at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Severn House Digital; pub date 1 Feb. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of The Red Hand of Fury by R.N. Morris

Giveaway – Win 1 x Signed Hardback Copy of Pyschotopia (Open Internationally)

Click here for the Rafflecopter giveaway

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.*

Vox by Christina Dalcher

Vox coverVox is to the 21st century what 1984 was to the 20th century.

Let me start by saying that Vox should be compulsory reading material for everyone. Give it to them at school and let them learn the meaning of oppression, control and what happens when the bible-thumping patriarchal system not only takes society back to the dark ages, what happens when it takes it a lot further than that.

This book made me angry, so furious I had to put it down and come back to it multiple times. My inner rage was begging to punch some of the characters in the face. To hurt and annihilate them completely.

Let me also say that without a doubt if this ever became a reality I would fight tooth and nail to oppose this kind of regime, for myself, my daughters and every other woman in the world.

With that said please take note of the regimes already dictating this type of oppression towards the female gender in the 21st century. The oppression and persecution of same-sex couples and homosexuality. Don’t ignore the laws being put into place or abolished in supposed democratic Western countries, that undermine women, gender equality and power over our own bodies. Be aware of so-called conservative political parties trying to control your life in the name of an imaginary power, and in the name of a book written by man for men.

I can’t imagine a world where I am forbidden to speak more than 100 words a day. I mean sheesh I find it a challenge to cope with the minimal Twitter characters, let alone not speaking more than a 100 words a day. Or living in a world without being able to write, communicate or read whatever or whenever you want to. It’s a complete horror scenario. Unfortunately it is also already a reality in many countries for women.

In the name of yourself, your daughters and granddaughters, insist on your place and your rights in this society and in the future.

Dalcher speaks from the bottomless pit of concern and fear the majority of us carry around with us. For some it will be forgotten in a goldfish moment, for others it will be buried in denial, but for the majority I hope this will be a warning and a call to arms.

The premise is a work of brilliance and also a shadow of foreboding, cast upon us by those who presume to know what is best for everyone often based on their own sense of self-importance and religious beliefs.

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

Publisher: HQStories, Harper Collins Uk, HQ

Pub. date: 21 August 2018 (Kindle) 23 August 2018 (Hardcover) 7 March 2019 (Paperback release)

Follow @CVDalcher @HQStories on Twitter Visit christinadalcher.com

 

#BlogTour Spaghetti Head by Sarah Tyley

Today it is my turn on the BlogTour for Spaghetti Head by Sarah Tyley. Don’t be fooled by the title, which suggests a fun and light-hearted read, it is in fact an intriguing mixture of futuristic and post-apocalyptic fiction with an emphasis on mental health, human rights and the oppression of the human race

About the Author

I grew up on a dairy farm in Somerset and had a lovely childhood running around outside, spending alot of time surrounded by cows. I would have to be biased towards Friesians, but really any cow will do – I love them all.

I have written a diary since I was twelve, and some years ago I thought to myself ‘hey, that must mean I’m a writer’ – and so I embarked on short stories. I never quite got the hang of those so moved on to trying a novel.

I currently live in France splitting my time between my gardening business, writing, and playing tennis. I love Roger Federer almost as much as I love cows

About the book

Journalist Nell Greene is intelligent, beautiful and quirky – but a failure at relationships, thanks to her untrusting and disruptive inner voice. She has received The Award, and refusing to help repopulate the earth can seriously complicate your life: it is time for Nell to change. In a world where greed, war, and an environmental disaster have massively reduced the population, survivors have introduced a new system of governance – led by women but delivered by robots, and designed to promote peace and remove opportunities for abuse of power. Or at least that was the intention… Will Nell overcome the challenges of life in a post-apocalyptic world to find happiness, or will the System win? Spaghetti Head is Sarah Tyley’s debut novel that addresses issues of modern womanhood, environmental devastation and the impact of technological advances on our freedom, relationships and mental health.

Review

Spaghetti Head is an intriguing mixture of futuristic and post-apocalyptic fiction with an emphasis on mental health, human rights and the oppression of the human race, in particular when it comes to the reproduction process. Women and men who conceive are more valuable than those who can’t reproduce.

The story takes place a long time after a natural disaster almost completely eradicates the human race. Now the earth is run by computer programmes, although they have ‘supposedly’ been programmed by humans. The focus is on the main character Nell, a woman with a successful career, but she is emotionally crippled by her paranoia and self-doubt. The System intervenes in her life to tell her it’s time to do her female duty and have a child, which means leaving her career to raise one or being forced into a new assignment or ‘life’ altogether.

My two favourite aspects of this premise are Cyd and Alice. Alice is the companion/pet bot who seems to be a lot more clued in than Nell the majority of the time. Cyd lives inside the spaghetti maze inside Nell’s head. Cyd is what Freud would call a very conscious Id of Nell’s personality. Cyd is like the inner voice who influences and convinces Nell, even if it is to her detriment. In reverse it is Nell who determines how Cyd acts, looks and speaks. This was an exceptionally innovative way to explain and show the thought process going on inside Nell.

This is a fascinating way to present a mental health problem. The strands or threads of spaghetti represent the emotional turmoil inside Nell’s mind, and depending on how curled they are how straight they are determines how ill, paranoid or distressed Nell is.

I know the title has specific meaning to the author, and indeed the spaghetti threads are an important part of the premise and story, but I personally think the title of Spaghetti Head doesn’t do the book any favours. It certainly doesn’t do any justice to the extremely clever premise and content, and both the cover and title may create misconceptions about what type of story it is, which means potential readers or buyers may not be interested because it suggests a different type of read. They say never judge a book by its cover (or title), and in this case it’s true because this story is innovative and complex.

It’s a combination of speculative, futuristic, post-apocalyptic and evolutionary fiction mixed with aspects of artificial intelligence, which evolves into autonomous intelligence. There are echoes of The Handmaids Tale when it comes to the empowerment of women and their reproduction systems, and their value in regards to said reproduction. Viewed as resources, as opposed to valued members of society.

It wasn’t at all what I was expecting, but this a really interesting read and definitely one I will be recommending.

Buy Spaghetti Head at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

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Blog-Tour: Sleeper by J.D. Fennell

Today it is my turn on the Blog-Tour for Sleeper by J.D. Fennell. Along with the About the Author and About the book features, I am also delighted to feature a fantastic Q&A with J.D. Fennell, and hey of course last but not least, my review of Sleeper.

About the Author

J.D. was born in Belfast at the start of 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.

Visit sleeperbook.com  or you can follow @jd_fennell or @DomePress on Twitter or on facebook.com/JDFennellAuthor/

Buy Sleeper

About the book

Sixteen-year-old Will Starling is pulled from the sea with no memory of his past. In his blazer is a strange notebook with a bullet lodged inside: a bullet meant for him. As London prepares for the Blitz, Will soon finds himself pursued by vicious agents and a ruthless killer known as the Pastor. All of them want Will’s notebook and will do anything to get it. As Will’s memory starts to return, he realises he is no ordinary sixteen-year old. He has skills that make him a match for any assassin. But there is something else. At his core is a deep-rooted rage that he cannot explain. Where is his family and why has no one reported him missing?Fighting for survival with the help of Mi5 agent-in-training, Anna Wilder, Will follows leads across London in a race against time to find the Stones of Fire before the next air raid makes a direct hit and destroys London forever.

Q&A

Before we get down to business (i.e. talking about your book) I would like to ask a set of questions I call ‘Breaking the Ice.’ (readers love to get to know all about their favourite and new authors)

The last book you read? (Inquisitive bookworms would like to know) I love reading and always have a book to hand. Here are my recent three: Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follet; I Let You Go, by Claire Mackintosh and right now I am reading Spellslinger, by Sebastian De Castell. Three wonderful books, all quite different.

Books or authors which have inspired you to put pen to paper? John Irving is amazing. Stephen King. Sarah Waters. Ken Follett. Authors that make me want to be a better writer are Thomas Harris, Ian McGuire and Hanya Yanagihara.

The last movie you watched, which you felt left a mark (in your heart, soul, wallet…you name it) I really enjoyed Allied with Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard. It is set during the same time as Sleeper and gave it a resonance for me. It is also gripping with a great twist.

Are you more of a movie night or series-binger kind of guy? (Combinations are possible) Definitely a series-binger, because there is a greater scope to tell a story and develop characters. Game of Thrones is a good example here.

Which famous person (dead, alive, barely kicking) would you most like to meet? I’d like to meet Thomas Harris for lunch or dinner and learn as much as I could from him.

All of the above questions are actually a pretty elaborate pysch evaluation disguised as random questions. Have no fear here come the real ones. Let’s talk about Sleeper!

Sleeper is a YA adventure set in the Second World War with flair of fantasy and an essence of a dystopian setting.

What made you pick the WW2 time period for your setting? I’m fascinated by London during the Blitz, a city collapsing under the nightly air attacks. Also, I really wanted to set an action/adventure with fantastical elements during a familiar time in our history. Second World War London just seemed the perfect setting for a thriller. I had to write it.

During the story I think readers may often find the borders between good and bad guy skewed when it comes to VIPER and The Fellowship. Do you agree with that assessment, and if so was this intentional on your part? Yes and No. Yes, the Fellowship are good, however, they turn a blind eye to the Pastor’s methods because they understand what is at stake for the world. VIPER will do whatever it takes to achieve their goals. They may employ regular people, who do not share their ambitions, or are unaware of who they are working for, to help achieve their goals.

Will has been defined, trained and lived as a member of VIPER for many years. Isn’t there some part of him which is subconsciously loyal to VIPER? I’m afraid you will have to wait until the next instalment to find that out. *smiles*

So, you have this incredible weapon with as yet not completely explored powers, doesn’t even a teeny weeny piece of Will think about taking control of the weapon himself? Ha! That would be telling. For now I will refer you to the previous answer.

Sleeper. Liberator. Executioner. Does Will secretly enjoy being each one of these identities? Will is driven by revenge. I would say he does not enjoy being that type of person, however, it does change him and give him purpose.

Will we be seeing more of Will in the near future, and will his sidekick be returning? Will and Anna shall return next year with velocity.

Thank you for answering all of my questions, even the odd ones! Thank you Cheryl. I really enjoyed answering them.

Review

Fennell has chosen an interesting setting for his dystopian young adult series. It takes place in the early 1940s during WW2. So you not only get the general gist and flavour of life during the Blitz, you also feel the intensity of the devastation the war leaves in its wake.

I have to say that although this is pegged as young adult it is also a book I would buy for a younger reader. Readers will be able to identify with the characters, the historical context and also the why of what makes Will tick.

What makes him push forward is the strong desire to fulfil his mission, which is even the case when he suffers from a bout of amnesia. He somehow always manages to find the right way even when the deck is stacked against him.

Will is nothing if not determined, despite all the obstacles and extremely dangerous situations he stumbles in and out of. He has been a part of VIPER since his pre-teens and is well versed in the megalomaniacal manipulations of this organisation. They will do anything to control the world and more importantly to get their hands on the powerful Stones.

What can I say it’s a story with a lot of potential. The author ends the book with the kind of hook that will keep the readers trailing along behind that fishing rod with the wriggly wee plot enticing them to follow along right behind him.

Fennell has created a fast-paced adventure with plenty of scope for future books. Sleeper is a captivating combination of history infused with futuristic and dystopian elements, and let’s not forgot the mystery surrounding Will. Ancient artefacts and puzzles worthy of a young Indiana Jones adventure will keep readers both young and old wanting the next instalment of this series sooner rather than later.

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

To buy Sleeper (hardback)

To buy Sleeper (paperback)

Goldsboro Books are also selling limited edition hardback signed and numbered editions

Publisher website: www.thedomepress.com

Publisher Twitter: https://twitter.com/DomePress

Publisher Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thedomepress/

Read my review of Sleeper: The Red Storm (Sleeper #2)

Walking Barefoot by Grace Coleman

Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Walking Barefoot by Grace Coleman. Aside from my review, info on the author and the book you can also download a free copy of Walking Barefoot on Smashwords. Only today…for 24 hours!

*To claim your free copy of Walking Barefoot simply visit Smashwords on the 25th of April and enter the discount code FR64E at check out. There are no limits to the number of downloads but hurry, this code will only be active for 24 hours!*

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/715754

About the Author

About the author: Walking Barefoot is Grace Coleman’s debut novel. It began 6 years ago in a Byron Bay basement and had significant re-sculpturing after a Curtis Brown novel writing course in 2013. When not pretending to be an author, Grace Coleman is TV Scheduler who lives and works in London.

Visit gracecoleman.co.uk/

About the book

Set in a futuristic London in a world ravaged by war, Walking Barefoot explores the life of Will, past and present. The cocksure eighteen year old who goes travelling in a bid to find himself. The city living adult who struggles to be happy despite his well paid job, upper quadrant apartment and sexy girlfriend. When nightmares begin to haunt his sleeping and waking life Will is unsure whether he is suffering from the illness that killed his father or being led by unseen forces to uncover a city-wide conspiracy. As his paranoia heightens he must ask himself – is he willing to lose himself to find the truth?

Review

Imagine being able to transport yourself to the place of your dreams in the blink of an eye. A bit like time-travel without the whole time-space continuum aspect of it all. In a world full of constructed reality and a life lived nearly entirely inside glass walls, it is no wonder some people try to live vicariously through others and any means possible.

Will has decided to do the equivalent of a gap year before settling down to the dreary business of life. He is fascinated by the places and countries his father once visited.

Continents, countries and towns that are virtually non-existent in the history books, the minds and memories of people. Places slowly deteriorating, decaying and disappearing from sight and mind. Will wants to walk in his father’s footsteps. To smell the fresh air and to experience new worlds.

Years later, as his career is ascending into the higher echelon, his mental health starts to deteriorate. At first he thinks it is just stress and pressure, but then Will starts to question things. What is reality and what is fantasy?

You know what they say, it’s not paranoia if they are really out to get you. Will is convinced that there is something untoward going on. He is determined to get to the bottom of things, except he isn’t entirely convinced that his fears and hallucinations aren’t just an indication of mental health issues.

Coleman has created a world built on dreams within conceptual hallucinations. It is a futuristic story with a very subtle dystopian undertone. Think Matrix with a side-order of end of the world angst and a tiny slice of horror. Although the author brings the story to a conclusion, I do think a sequel could be a possibility, then again that may just be wishful thinking on my part.

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

Giveaway

*To claim your free copy of Walking Barefoot simply visit Smashwords on the 25 April and enter the discount code FR64E at check out. There are no limits to the number of downloads but hurry, this code will only be active for 24 hours!*

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/715754

Blog-Tour: Winter Halo by Keri Arthur

Today is my turn on the Blog-Tour for Winter Halo by Keri Arthur. It is the second book in the Outcast series. (The first is City of Light). Enjoy the fantastic Q&A with Keri Arthur and my review!

About the author

Keri Arthur is the New York Times bestselling author of the Outcast series, including City of Light, as well as the Souls of Fire, Dark Angels, and Riley Jenson Guardian series. She has written more than thirty books and has been nominated in the Best Contemporary Paranormal category of the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Awards and has won a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for urban fantasy.

About the book

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Souls of Fire novels comes the second in the futuristic fantasy series that will make you want to keep the lights on…

When the bombs that stopped the species war tore holes in the veil between worlds, they allowed entry to the Others. Now, a hundred years later, humans and shifters alike live in artificially lit cities designed to keep the darkness at bay…. The humanoid supersoldiers known as the déchet were almost eradicated by the war. Ever since, Tiger has tried to live her life in peace in hiding. But in the wake of her discovery that Central City’s children are being kidnapped and experimented on, Tiger’s conscience won’t let her look the other way. The key to saving them lies within the walls of a pharmaceutical company called Winter Halo. But as she learns more about the facility, Tiger’s mission is derailed by a complication: Winter Halo’s female security guards are being systematically attacked by an unknown force.  Now Tiger must summon all her gifts to stop those responsible for both atrocities—no matter the cost to herself.

Q&A

Before we get down to business (i.e. talking about your book) I would like to ask a set of questions I call ‘Breaking the Ice.’ (readers love to get to know all about their favourite authors)

The last book you read? (Inquisitive bookworms want to know) Anne Gracie’s The Summer Bride. I waited so long for Daisy’s story, and I loved it!

The last movie you watched, which you felt left a mark (in your heart, soul, wallet…you name it) I recently watched Spectre on Blu-ray, and was ever so glad I missed it at the movies! I couldn’t believe how bland/blah it was. I’m a huge James Bond fan, but in this, Daniel Craig wasn’t even trying.

Are you more of a Game of Thrones or Outlander, a movie night or sitcom kind of  gal? (Combinations are possible) I haven’t watched either Game of Thrones or Outlander, and have no intentions of ever watching the former. I do, however, love Westworld. I’m also a huge lifestyle program fan (mostly British–Great British Bake-off, Escape to the Country, Location Location, etc). I also love the Aussie versions of those shows.

Which famous person (dead, alive, barely kicking) would you most like to meet? I’d love to have met Dick Francis, because he is one of my all time favourite authors. And for one out of left field, I would love to have met John Constable, and have him teach me how to paint just like him.

Something you treat yourself to, now and again? (Cream éclairs, doughnuts and chocolate totally count) Shoes. Totally shoes. I have something of a fetish for them  😀

All of the above questions are actually a pretty elaborate pysch evaluation disguised as random questions. Have no fear here come the real ones. Let’s talk about Winter Halo.

I really enjoyed the mixture of genres in Winter Halo, a dystopian tale with sci-fi elements and a portion of urban fantasy. Was mixing the genres something you set out to do or did the ideas evolve as you were writing? I’ve never been a planner when it comes to my writing. I usually set out with a vague idea and the story and setting develop from there. That’s what I love about writing–the discovery of where it’s going!

Was it your intention to get both the readers and even the characters to question the humanity of the genetically modified dechets or to be more specific questioning Tiger’s humanity? That developed as the story developed. In truth, what does make us human? Is it as simple as the nature of our birth? Is it higher brain capacity, the ability to think and feel? Or is it something more indefinable? Why are we considered human, and yet the great apes, who share something like 98% of our DNA, are not? I’m not sure The Outcast Series answers these questions, but I’d like to think it at least gets those who read it thinking about things like acceptance and tolerance. We really need a lot more people thinking about those in the current clime.

Staying with that line of questioning, Tiger was created with a specific purpose in mind, and although she acts as programmed she is also capable of acting independently. Is her initial programming the reason why she was engineered the reason some characters don’t trust her or is it because she doesn’t conform to their preconceived ideas of the dechet? Most humans and shifters only ever had contact with the soldier dechets. Very few people outside the Humanoid Development Program ever knew about the existence of dechets such as Tiger, who was developed as a lure–a seductress designed to infiltrate shifter encampments and steal battle information. The other characters views are tainted by their experiences with the soldiers; they’re having to battle ingrained beliefs about what dechets are with the reality Tiger presents to them.

Tiger carries around an extreme amount of guilt about the ghosts (children). She seems to blame herself for their deaths. Is that why she is willing to go the extra mile to try and save the living children? Yes. She’d been assigned as the children’s guardian while waiting reassignment, and she believes she failed in that duty, even though she almost died trying to save them. It’s that guilt that drives her to save Penny and Jonas, and keeps her involved in not only the quest to find the rest of the missing children, but to stop those who want to give the vampires and wraiths light immunity.

Tiger and her relationship to sex is quite an intriguing aspect of the story. Tiger uses sex to obtain information and achieve her goals. Her relationship with it is very calculated. Will we see her experience sex in a different way when and if she finally does have intercourse because she wants to and not because she has to? I really can’t answer this question, because it would step into spoiler territory!

Will we be seeing/reading more about Tiger? If the answer is yes (hopefully) will it be soon (no pressure *laugh*)? I’ve planned the Outcast Series as three books, so yes, there will be more of Tiger after Winter Halo. The third book is tentatively called The Black Tide, but I’m not sure when it’ll be out yet. Hopefully by the end of 2017 or beginning of 2018.

Thank you for answering all of my questions, especially the odd ones! You’re welcome–and the odd ones were fun!

Review

Despite being a successful award winning author I don’t believe Keri Arthur really gets the recognition or attention she deserves for her writing. Regardless of the genre, sub-genre or the topic, Arthur always gives her readers a run for their money.

Winter Halo, which is the second book in the Outcast series, is a perfect example of her ability to flow seamlessly from one genre to the other within the same story. It’s a dystopian extravaganza with sci-fi elements and an urban fantasy flair.

It is set in a world of genetically enhanced soldiers, shifters, ghosts, vampires and perhaps a few humans. Tiger is determined to save a small group of children, who have been kidnapped with the intent of committing unimaginable atrocities.

Watch this space for the Tiger and Jonas saga, because it is definitely coming. The sexual tension between the two of them is like a volcano set to erupt. No pun intended. Okay that’s a lie it’s totally intended. Jonas can’t help but be drawn to the feisty dechet, perhaps because she is the complete opposite of what he thinks she should be like.

Instead of hard cold reasoning there is a strong compassionate vein, and her ability to communicate with ghosts makes her seem more humane instead of like the genetically enhanced soldier she actually is.

One of the more fascinating aspects of Tiger is the way she compartmentalizes her actions, emotions and choices. Her sexual activities are sorted into boxes labelled ‘a means to an end.’ All business all the time. Maybe it is time she did it for herself and for the pleasure instead.

I am looking forward to the third part in this series, especially a possible Tiger and Jonas relationship. Winter Halo is an action driven read with creative ideas, intricate world-building and plenty of potential for further development.

It was, as always with a Keri Arthur book, a read I would recommend.

Buy Winter Halo at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Readers from the US and Canada also have the fantastic opportunity to take part in a giveaway for City of Light and Winter Halo by Keri Arthur by retweeting the giveaway on Twitter. Or just comment below. (Winner will be notified at the end of the tour) Good Luck!