#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 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 This Fragile Earth by Susannah Wise

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour This Fragile Earth by Susannah Wise.

About the Author

Susannah Wise is an actor and writer who grew up in London and the Midlands. The death of her father in 2015 was the catalyst for THIS FRAGILE EARTH. His preoccupation with astronomy and the beauty of the night sky formed the jumping-off point for the story. Susannah studied at the Faber Academy, graduating in September 2018, during which time she wrote a second, more peculiar novel. Both books have been longlisted for the Mslexia prize. She lives in London with her partner and son.

Follow @susannahwise on Twitter, Visit susannahwise.com

About the book

Not long from now, in a recognisable yet changed London, Signy and Matthew lead a dull, difficult life. They’ve only really stayed together for the sake of their six year old son, Jed. But they’re surviving, just about. Until the day the technology that runs their world stops working. Unable to use their phones or pay for anything, Matthew assumes that this is just a momentary glitch in the computers that now run the world.

But then the electricity and gas are cut off. Even the water stops running. And the pollination drones – vital to the world, ever since the bees all died – are behaving oddly. People are going missing. Soldiers are on the streets. London is no longer safe.

A shocking incident sends Signy and Jed on the run, desperate to flee London and escape to the small village where Signy grew up. Determined to protect her son, Signy will do almost anything to survive as the world falls apart around them. But she has no idea what is waiting for them outside the city…

Review

Signy reminded me of the early version of Tempe Brennan in Bones. Very logical, intelligent and blunt to the point of rude. She also spends the entirety of the book talking to those around her with a certain aloofness including those closest to her. Her conversations with her son are more like intellectual discourse between two peers.

Her world is suddenly thrown into disarray when the technology appears to fail completely, which leaves chaos and panic in its stead. Society isn’t really set-up for failure and the humans aren’t at all prepared for a pre-technology on the spot solution.

Sometimes some scenes seemed superfluous and some moments out of character, a bit like filling holes with some random stuff. This seemed like a contradiction to the premise as a whole. On the plus side the futuristic element felt easy to elate too. Nothing too outlandish and possibilities that could be in our near future.

It’s a dystopian sci-fi come technology premise – a possible glimpse of the future. A society completely dependent on gadgets, electricity, gas, drones and the Big Brother surveillance. It perhaps has a message about relying completely on technology in life, because if it fails there isn’t anything to fall back on. Cue survival mode and preppers, even if it’s just filling the pantry with long life milk, tinned food and bottled water.

Buy This Fragile Earth at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published by Gollancz, pub date 24 June 2021 – Hardback £14.99 also as eBook and audiobook. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The High-Rise Diver byJulia von Lucadou

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour The High-Rise Diver by Julia von Lucadou, translated from the German by Sharmila Cohen. 

About the Author

Julia von Lucadou was born in Heidelberg in 1982. She studied film and theater at Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz and Victoria University of Wellington and earned her PhD in Film Studies in 2015. Lucadou worked as both an assistant director and a television editor prior to writing The High-Rise Diver, her debut novel, which was nominated for the Swiss Book Prize in 2018. She lives between Biel, New York, and Cologne.

Sharmila Cohen is an award-winning writer and German-to-English translator who has translated the works of several leading German-language authors. Her work has been featured in publications such as BOMB and Harpers, and her projects span from poetry and literary fiction to crime and children’s stories. Originally from New York, Cohen came to Berlin in 2011 as a Fulbright Scholar to complete an experimental translation project with local poets. She now divides her time between both cities.

About the book

‘The High Rise Diver is a chillingly beautiful dissection of perfected capitalism. Lucadou creates a horribly convincing world where every aspect of existence has been monetised. In a taut, delicate narrative an implacable and disinterested cruelty faces the human ache for tenderness, mercy, contact and affection.’  A.L. Kennedy

Riva is a “high-rise diver,” a top athlete with millions of fans, and a perfectly functioning human on all levels. Suddenly she rebels, breaking her contract and refusing to train. Cameras are everywhere in her world, but she doesn’t know her every move is being watched by Hitomi, the psychologist tasked with reining Riva back in. 

Unquestionably loyal to the system, Hitomi’s own life is at stake: should she fail to deliver, she will be banned to the “peripheries,” the filthy outskirts of society. For readers of The Handmaid’s Tale, The Circle, and Brave New World, this chilling dystopia constructs a world uncomfortably close to our own, in which performance is everything.

Review

This is going on my top reads of 2021. It is an intricately planned and well written dystopian story. A premise with shades of Orwell’s 1984, but perhaps on a much bigger scale.

To Hitomi Riva is just a job, a way to keep her status, which is closely linked to obedience and performance, and in turn to performance management. The human and humane element is non-existent. Trying to determine why the high-rise flyer refuses to fly and convincing her to jump once again becomes all consuming and directly linked to the slow decline of Hitomi’s success.

The Big Brother or Sister aspect is more than intrusive it is law, lifestyle and a mind-set. It’s voluntary because nobody questions it, unless they aren’t part of the right side of the tracks. The privileged side, who are set on paths to success, whereas the rest are treated like the poor relatives. 

But let’s talk about that privilege and success, is it worth being subjected to a life of 24/7 scrutiny in all areas of their lives or being isolated from all emotional bonds like a Harlow monkey. Creating a species that craves positive reinforcement to a degree that it makes them easy to control – it’s fascinating and in equal measures frightening.

Lucadou is the kind of writer who thrives on the possibilities of speculative creativity, especially when they are cemented in possible futuristic visions of our society. Compelling and riveting. On a side-note – excellent translation.

Buy The High-Rise Diver at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: World Editions; pub date 6 May 2021 – £12.99 paperback. Buy at Amazon comBuy via World Editions.

#BlogTour The End of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird

It’s my turn on the BlogTour for this exciting new dystopian story – The End of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird.

About the Author

About the author: Christina was born in 1993 and grew up between London and Glasgow. She studied Law at the University of Cambridge and graduated with a First in 2015. Christina works as a Corporate Litigation lawyer in London. The End of Men is her first novel.

Follow @ChristinaRoseSB on Twitter or on Instagram,

About the book

Glasgow, 2025. Dr Amanda Maclean is called to treat a patient with flu-like symptoms. Within three hours he is dead. This is how it begins. The unknown virus sweeps through the hospital with deadly speed. The victims are all men.

Dr Maclean raises the alarm. But by the time the authorities listen to her, the virus has spread to every corner of the world. Threatening families. Governments. Countries.

Review

I wish – just for myself – this book had a before and an after. A read and review of this story before the Covid pandemic and my review now. I can imagine the before would have thought it a brilliant concept, but probably not something we would realistically ever see in our lifetime. Now it’s a whole other ballgame isn’t it. A lot of it comes pretty close to what we have experienced and are experiencing at this moment in time.

Dr Amanda Maclean recognises the significance of a deadly fast-spreading flu-like virus that hits her emergency room one day. All the victims, both young and old are male. She tries to warn official channels and finds her concerns blown off as the virus spreads to other parts of the country. Ignoring and dismissing her comes at the cost of many lives.

Rather cleverly when you look beyond the virus and a little closer at the implications of the gender specific nature of said virus, it shines a spotlight on certain downfalls of a patriarchal society. One of those things is the constant silencing and gaslighting of women by men. But perhaps the most poignant point of all, whether one gender needs the other to survive or is a small minority sufficient and does history change when it’s no longer being written by men for men.

I was intrigued, and possibly a tad concerned, by the way the author saw the virus changing the world. The policies, laws and procedures put in place to contain it. The necessity of vaccination and the lack of vaccination then dictating the steps forward in regards to survival. Very much an eye-opener.

It’s a riveting dystopian premise, but perhaps more so because fiction has become melded with too much reality in the last year or so. Very much an author to watch.

Buy The End of Men at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : The Borough Press pub date 29 April 2021. Buy at Amazon comAt Waterstones.

#BlogTour How to Survive Everything by Ewan Morrison

It’s my turn on the BlogTour How to Survive Everything by Ewan Morrison. Saraband are bringing forward publication of Saltire prize-winner Ewan Morrison’s new novel, How To Survive Everything, in response to the latest lockdown.

About the Author

Ewan Morrison is a multi-award-winning novelist, screenwriter and essayist. His 2019 novel, Nina X, won the Saltire Society Scottish Fiction Book of the Year and is currently being developed as a feature film with a multi-award-winning director. He has previously won the Scottish Book of the Year Fiction Prize (2013) and the Glenfiddich Scottish Writer of the Year (2012). 

His first feature film, an adaptation, was released in five territories in 2016, and was a finalist for four international film awards. American Blackout, a feature length docudrama co-written by Morrison, reached an estimated audience of 30 million viewers. Morrison has also been nominated for three Scottish BAFTAs. 

Follow @MrEwanMorrison on Twitteron Goodreadson Amazon, Visit ewanmorrisonBuy How to Survive Everything

About the book

The novel, in the face of a terrifying near-future pandemic, is the story of 15-year-old Haley and her 8-year-old brother Ben, kidnapped by their father to his secret lockdown hideaway.  Imprisoned in their new ‘prepper’ environment, designed to deter intruders and equipped with rations of food, medicine and water to ensure their survival when civilisation collapses, they not only have to cope with their parents’ bitter divorce, but choose between deeply conflicting views of reality. 

How to Survive Everything is one teenage girl’s guide to navigating the collapse of everything she knows – including her family and their sanity.

Review

The last person you expect to kidnap you is your loving parent right? Or to isolate you from the world and teach you how to survive the kind of catastrophe that leaves only the toughest survivalists in its wake. How do you deal with that as a teenage girl? You write your own survival guide and a warning of sorts.

I think the author makes an interesting point about preppers, who is to say that what they are prepping for isn’t going to eventually come to pass. Given the past year it’s fair to say none of us know what is behind the corner or how bad a potential catastrophe or pandemic could potentially get.

How does a family deal with a conspiracy theorist, a movement that has grown considerably in the last few years. With what appears to be outlandish ideas and alternate realities, and what if those ideas are grounded in reality?

What starts out as preparing for a premise and a fear, could become the preparation for the real scenario. I loved the way it was a dystopian come domestic thriller. A real dysfunctional family and their problems combined with the serious element of a changing world. A parent convinced his children need to be prepped for the end of world and at the same time shutting his ex-partner down by taking what she cares about most. Is it revenge or genuine concern?

I also adored the snarky teenage voice as the narrator. A how to guide as only a teenage girl can view and describe it. It puts an element of wit, desperation and comedy to the story at times.

Buy How to Survive Everything at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Contraband pub date 1 Mar. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.