#SeriesBlogTour Tomorrow’s Ancestors: The Base of Reflections by A.E. Warren

It’s my second turn on the Blog Tour for the Tomorrow’s Ancestors series by A.E. Warren. I blogged about the first book The Museum of Second Chances a few days ago and today it’s all about the second book, The Base of Reflections.

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 Base of Reflections

About the book

What happens when the future abandons the past?

Elise and her companions have made it to the safety of Uracil but at a price. Desperate to secure her family’s passage, she makes a deal with Uracil’s Tri-Council. She’ll become their spy, jeopardising her own freedom in the process, in exchange for her family’s safe transfer. But first she has to help rescue the next Neanderthal, Twenty-Two.

Twenty-Two has never left the confines of the steel walls that keep her separated from the other exhibits. She has no contact with the outside world and no way of knowing why she has been abandoned. With diminishing deliveries of food and water, she has to start breaking the museum’s rules if she wants a second chance at living.

One belongs to the future and the other to the past, but both have to adapt—or neither will survive…Review

This is part of a series and I would definitely suggest reading the first in the series, The Museum of Second Chances. Aside from the intricacy of the plot, and it is a really well thought out and intriguing premise, it is necessary to get the entire gist of the story and the characters.

The first book ends with Elise and her companions heading towards Uracil and this one begins with them arriving at their destination. The council is willing to help Elise in return for a favour – they want her to spy for them. She also has to rescue Twenty-two.

Meanwhile Twenty-two is just as determined to escape, especially because the powers that be have been treating her differently to the other human species – the Neanderthal exhibits. For some reason there seems to be a concerted effort to starve and deprive her of her basic needs. Some of their experiments are inhumane, which in itself says a lot about the post-apocalyptic society in power.

Warren deserves to be on quite a few radars. The plot is clever and compelling, and is very much driven by the emotional element that separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom.

It’s a futuristic, dystopian post-apocalyptic tale – an intriguing look at the worst side of so-called intelligent life form. How easy it is for humankind to swing from survival instinct to excusing acts of cruelty and oppression in the name of science, evolution and development.

Buy The Base of Reflections at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of The Museum of Second Chances by A.E. Warren.

#BlogTour The Black Ditch by Simon J. Lancaster

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour The Black Ditch by Simon J. Lancaster.

Enter the Giveaway below to Win a signed copy of The Black Ditch, and for your name to be used for a character in the sequel (Open Int)

About the Author

Simon J Lancaster is the author of The Black Ditch, the first in the Laurie Sterne trilogy of dystopian future thrillers. Prior to writing novels he was a national newspaper journalist in London, as well as a music critic and private pilot. He has written short stories and plays and, after reading extensively about climate change, concluded that the fantasy gun-play of contemporary-set action novels would be the lived experience of our coming world.

Follow on Goodreadson Amazonon FacebookBuy The Black Ditch

About the book

Laurie Sterne feels like he’s been cut adrift in space. His father has been shot dead, caught in the crossfire of a gangland war that has also claimed his boss’s life. Laurie is a refugee who lost his adoptive mum years before and doesn’t know where he was born, let alone who his birth parents were. But he’s not alone in the world: someone is trying to kill him.

This is London, 2050, a dumping ground for climate refugees and dissidents. Gangs rule, murder goes unpunished and the police make sure you can’t escape.

In his struggle to stay alive, he finds an ally: his former boss’s secret daughter. But with the killer predicting his every move, is the man without a past being betrayed by the woman who seems to offer him a future?

Review

When you suddenly realise that 2050 sounds really far into the future, ergo flying cars and space stations on Mars, but in actual fact it’s only 30 years from now. The scenarios the author paints aren’t unrealistic given that they are grounded in part in reality.

The beginning of the story is perhaps the strongest part and  is incredibly astute when you draw comparisons to what is going on in certain parts of the world at the moment. The abysmal treatment of illegals and refugees. The way the children have been separated from their parents and imprisoned in the US. That cruelty is echoed in Laurie’s story.

He fears being caught and taken by the authorities, despite being legal – at least he thinks he is. The truth turns out to be a little more complicated, and it leaves one heck of a mark on the young child.

Fast forward to 2050 and Laurie the grown man is the stooge of a bigwig criminal. The kowtowing has never really left him, perhaps it’s residual fear left over from his childhood.

It’s a dystopian post-apocalyptic read rooted in modern day fears. Lancaster uses politics and environmental concerns in our era to create a fictional scenario, which sails rather close to a worst case scenario.

The strength of the first few chapters isn’t quite mirrored in the rest of the book. It’s easy to be swept up in the violence, confusion and lack of rational in the future, as opposed to capturing the essence of the child and place, and transporting it throughout the book.

Buy The Black Ditch at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

Enter the Giveaway to Win a signed copy of The Black Ditch, and for your name to be used for a character in the sequel (Open Int)

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*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.*

#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 The End of the World Survivors Club by Adrian J. Walker

Today it’s my pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The End of the World Survivors Club by Adrian J Walker.About the Author

Adrian J Walker was born in the bush suburbs of Sydney, Australia in the mid ’70s. After his father found a camper van in a ditch, he renovated it and moved his family back to the UK, where Adrian was raised.

Ever since he can remember, Adrian has been interested in three things: words, music and technology, and when he graduated from the University of Leeds, he found a career in software. His novel The End of the World Running Club, a post-apocalyptic running fable about hope, love and endurance, was a Simon Mayo Radio 2 book club choice.

He lives in Aberdeen with his wife and two children.

Follow @adrianwalker on Twitter, Visit adrianjwalker.comBuy The End of the World Survivors Club

About the book

In the End of the World Running Club Edgar Hill ran 550 miles after an apocalypse to ty and find his family. He had it easy. This is his wife’s story.

Beth Hill has survived the apocalypse with a baby and toddler in tow. And what’s more she’s done it alone – without her husband’s help. He’s never been any help. But when disaster strikes and someone steals her kids, she knows what she has to do.

The new world might be very different: no government, no law, no infrastructure and a whole lot more ocean than there used to be. But one thing hasn’t changed – the lengths a mother will go to save her family…

Review

Think Water World at the early stages of the apocalypse, but with redefined coasts, countries and continents left. The beginning of the end is when people show you who they really are, and you should believe them the first time they show you.

The story takes place before the deterioration and destruction has come to a halt. It’s somewhere between ‘it’s really happening’ and ‘this is our new reality’ so we have to adjust to it asap. Following on from Ed’s story, this is the story of his wife and children. Beth steps up to the mark and proves how far a mother will go to protect her children.

There is a moment in the book between Beth and Ed, which is particularly poignant and also relevant in normal circumstances and not just post-apocalyptic scenarios. Ed does what most men do and would do in that situation, he blames Beth for losing their children. She loses it and gives him a loaded barrel of truth. The non-caregiver or non-primary caregiver really has no clue what it is like to take care of babies or children 24/7 without any break. To be the person who is sucked dry of any choice other than things relating to said children and to have all the responsibility and none of the accolades. It’s always easier to judge when you’re sat on the outside looking in.

Kind of fascinating to realise that even in the middle of a crisis and the end of the world, some things never change. There will always be someone who thinks they know better and feel it’s their duty to tell you exactly that. Kudos to Walker for capturing the gist, frustration and anger of the underappreciated full-time mother absolutely perfectly.

It’s post-apocalyptic fiction with a realistic and down-to-earth plot. Walker plays on hidden fears and very real threats, which is what makes the read less speculative and more believable.

Buy The End of the World Survivors Club at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Penguin Random House UK – Ebury Publishing; pub date 5 Sept. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Remember Tomorrow by Amanda Saint

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Remember Tomorrow by Amanda Saint. It’s post-apocalyptic fiction with a futuristic flair.

About the Author

Amanda Saint’s debut novel, As If I Were A River, reached #3 in the WHSmith Travel charts; was selected as a NetGalley Top 10 Book of the Month; and chosen as a Top 20 Book of 2016 by the Book Magnet Blog.

Her short stories have been widely published in anthologies and literary magazines, twice appearing on the Fish Flash Fiction longlist and the Ink Tears Short Story shortlist. She runs her own creative writing business, Retreat West, through which she runs writing courses and competitions; and an independent publishing house, retreat West Books. Amanda also works as a freelance journalist writing about climate change and environmental sustainability.

Follow @saintlywriter @RetreatWest on Twitter, on Facebook, Visit amandasaint.net

Buy Remember Tomorrow

About the book

England, 2073. The UK has been cut off from the rest of the world and ravaged by environmental disasters. Small pockets of survivors live in isolated communities with no electricity, communications or transportation, eating only what they can hunt and grow.

Evie is a herbalist, living in a future that’s more like the past, and she’s fighting for her life. The young people of this post-apocalyptic world have cobbled together a new religion, based on medieval superstitions, and they are convinced she’s a witch. Their leader? Evie’s own grandson.

Weaving between Evie’s current world and her activist past, her tumultuous relationships and the terrifying events that led to the demise of civilised life, Remember Tomorrow is a beautifully written, disturbing and deeply moving portrait of an all-too-possible dystopian world, with a chilling warning at its heart.

Review

It doesn’t matter how far into the future we go, we can always rely on humans to never learn from history or their past. The human race excels at destroying themselves. For some reason they seem particularly talented at repeating the most heinous acts of the past centuries. The title of the book is therefore quite apt.

Instead of moving forward and evolving, a community in the future has reverted back to the days when the mere whiff of suspicion could mean the difference between living in peace and being burnt at the stake for witchcraft. Healing becomes spells, witchery and the devil’s work. This places Evie in the unfortunate position of being a target.

The fact that religion always seems to make an appearance in some way, shape or form is definitely part of the problem in this dystopian, post-apocalyptic and futuristic story. A once thriving community set in the year 2073 in England is facing increasingly harder struggles to survive. Food has become scarce, which makes people desperate.

Her own family uses religion to make Evie seem like a threat and the guise of her being a danger to the community is probably just hiding the fact it is a way to rid themselves of community members. Less people equals less mouths to share food with.

Humans tend to target the vulnerable, the different and the non-conformists to deflect from their own failings or hidden agendas. Evie and any other person refusing to become part the fanatical religious group have a big bullseye painted on their back.

It’s post-apocalyptic fiction with a futuristic flair. Given the rise of certain radical groups and the attacks upon specific religious groups and ethnicities at the moment, despite prior tragedies and atrocities in the last century, this isn’t a far-fetched premise at all.

Saint captivates the mass hysteria of religious zealots, which supersedes any common sense or prior knowledge that questions the beliefs of the fanatics. It’s a recipe for violence and disaster.

Buy Remember Tomorrow at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Retreat West Books; Ecopy pub date 21 Mar. 2019. Paperback pub date 17 March 2019.

Read my review of The Word for Freedom and Nothing is As it Was.

#BlogTour The Widening Gyre by Michael R. Johnston

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Widening Gyre by C.J. Sutton. It’s futuristic, dystopian sci-fi meets action packed space opera. I look forward to reading where this series goes.

About the Author

Born in the San Francisco bay area and raised in Napa, California, Michael R. Johnston grew up steeped in everything Science Fiction and Fantasy from Asimov to Zelazny, as well as endless terrible SF TV shows he still has a slightly embarrassed fondness for.

Faced with the choice between moving back in with his parents and continuing school, or paying his rent, he took “a year” off from college. He spent time as a court process server, a retail sales associate, a sandwich maker, and a data entry tech, before finding himself in a management role. A decade later, burnt out from his job in political research and facing 30, he decided he’d had enough and returned to college, graduating with honors from California State University, Sacramento.

In fall 2006, he became a high school English teacher, a job he likens to herding a swarm of angry bees. It’s the best job he’s ever had.

In 2013, he attended the 17th Viable Paradise Science Fiction Writing Workshop. The experience of having his story critiqued by other writers, some of them professionals he’d been reading for years, helped him realize he could write professionally, and introduced him to some of his best friends.

He currently lives in Sacramento, California, with his wife and daughter. When he’s not writing or teaching, he spends time with his family, plays video games and tabletop RPGs (often with family), and reads.

Follow @MREJohnston @flametreepress on Twitter, Visit MJohnstonBooks.com

Buy The Widening Gyre

About the book

Eight hundred years ago, the Zhen Empire discovered a broken human colony ship drifting in the fringes of their space. The Zhen gave the humans a place to live and folded them into their Empire as a client state. But it hasn’t been easy. Not all Zhen were eager to welcome another species into their Empire, and humans have faced persecution. For hundreds of years, human languages and history were outlawed subjects, as the Zhen tried to mold humans into their image. Earth and the cultures it nourished for millennia are forgotten, little more than legends.

One of the first humans to be allowed to serve in the Zhen military, Tajen Hunt became a war hero at the Battle of Elkari, the only human to be named an official Hero of the Empire. He was given command of a task force, and sent to do the Empire’s bidding in their war with the enigmatic Tabrans. But when he failed in a crucial mission, causing the deaths of millions of people, he resigned in disgrace and faded into life on the fringes as a lone independent pilot.

When Tajen discovers his brother, Daav, has been killed by agents of the Empire, he, his niece, and their newly-hired crew set out to finish his brother’s quest: to find Earth, the legendary homeworld of humanity. What they discover will shatter 800 years of peace in the Empire, and start a war that could be the end of the human race.

Review

In this story the humans are the underdog. The rare species fighting for survival in a world run by aliens who eat raw and live meat. Shout out to the original V at this point, who loved to eat live rats and even hamsters.

Even in sci-fi there is room for sub-species to be discriminated against, treated as less than the superior race, and yet still used to stock up numbers in a war (aka bullet fodder). Tajen Hunt is a decorated war hero, the sole human carrier of the title Hero of the Empire. The fact he achieved this title by inadvertently causing the mass deaths of his own race, makes him a traitor to his own and deserving of an odd respect from the Zhen.

Tajen has to confront his feelings of guilt about his military career when a tragic event forces him to interact with his past and his immediate family. Easier said than done. He struggles to connect with his niece, in fact he struggles to connect emotionally to anyone.

He accidentally creates a team of determined truth seekers, who are willing to follow the scavenger hunt for information hidden by his brother. Not all of them believe the conspiracy theory and that the search will lead them to a planet surrounded my myths and tales of non-existence.

It’s a sci-fi space adventure with a ship full of rebels willing to defy a whole alien race to discover the truth about planet earth. What is so important the Zhen will go to any length to keep it secret, including killing those who are willing to dig deep to discover said secret.

I enjoyed the read. It’s futuristic, dystopian sci-fi meets action packed space opera. I look forward to reading where this series goes.

Buy The Widening Gyre by Michael R. Johnston at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Flame Tree Press; pub date 14 Mar. 2019. Buy at !ndigo, Flame Tree Press, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, Powell’s, Waterstones or Book Depository.

#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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