#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 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 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.

#BlogTour The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith

Today it’s an absolute pleasure to take art in the BlogTour The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith.About the Author

Eve Smith writes speculative fiction, mainly about the things that scare her. She attributes her love of all things dark and dystopian to a childhood watching Tales of the Unexpected and black-and-white Edgar Allen Poe double bills. In this world of questionable facts, stats and news, she believes storytelling is more important than ever to engage people in real life issues.

Set twenty years after an antibiotic crisis,her debut novel The Waiting Rooms was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize First Novel Award. Her flash fiction has been shortlisted for the Bath Flash Fiction Award and highly commended for The Brighton Prize.

Follow @evecsmith on Twitteron Goodreads, Visit evesmithauthor.comBuy The Waiting Rooms 

About the book

Decades of spiralling drug resistance have unleashed a global antibiotic crisis. Ordinary infections are untreatable: a scratch from a pet can kill. A sacrifice is required to keep the majority safe: no one over seventy is allowed new antibiotics. The elderly are sent to hospitals nicknamed ‘The Waiting Rooms.’ Hospitals where no one ever gets well.

Twenty years after the crisis takes hold, Kate begins a search for her birth mother, armed only with her name and her age. As Kate unearths disturbing facts about her mother’s past, she puts her family in danger and risks losing everything.

Because Kate is not the only secret that her birth mother is hiding. Someone else is looking for her, too.

Sweeping from an all-too-real modern world to a pre-crisis South Africa, The Waiting Rooms is epic in scope, richly populated with unforgettable characters, and a tense, haunting vision of a future that is only a few mutations away.

Review

There will probably be a consensus about how freakishly timely this plot is given the whole Covid-19 situation we are living in at the moment.

Kate is on the frontline of life and death, perhaps it’s better to say death and more painful death. The world post-catastrophe is one of division, policies and a general lack of humanity. Lily is on the cusp of entering the disposable human age and Mary takes readers back to a time before a new-age plague changes the world forever.

Woven into this dystopian tale are the very real threats that govern policy choices when it comes to healthcare and costs. Antimicrobial resistance has been laid at the feet of decades of overuse of antibiotics and the lack of new drugs to combat new strains. In this scenario cost cutting measures are written and put into place to the detriment of the elderly. Everyone above the age of seventy is no longer given anything to combat any infection. It’s a little more complicated than that obviously, but I don’t want to give everything away.

It’s a Logan’s Run scenario, for those who remember the old nugget. People are sorted into two categories – before and after the cut-off date. There is only fear, pain and the feeling that death has become a well-oiled machine that makes a profit.

I thought it was interesting how Smith drew in the topic of euthanasia. Having a directive or not becomes the difference between painless choice or painful torture, which is clouded by public opinion viewing it as murder.

Smith is an excellent storyteller. Dredging every fear that goes through our heads, things none of us can possibly control and are unable to fathom in their entirety, to create a frighteningly realistic futuristic scenario. Then as if the science, medicine and fear weren’t enough the author raises the stakes by adding a complex family dynamic and our possible future to the mix. It’s an incredible read.

Buy The Waiting Rooms at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Orenda Books; pub date ecopy – 9 April 2020. – pub date Paperback 9 July 2020Buy at Amazon comBuy at Orenda Books.