#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 Victory Day by Rachel Churcher

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Victory Day by Rachel Churcher. It’s also book 5 and the end of the Battle Ground series.

About the Author

Rachel Churcher was born between the last manned moon landing, and the first orbital Space Shuttle mission. She remembers watching the launch of STS-1, and falling in love with space flight, at the age of five. She fell in love with science fiction shortly after that, and in her teens she discovered dystopian fiction. In an effort to find out what she wanted to do with her life, she collected degrees and other qualifications in Geography, Science Fiction Studies, Architectural Technology, Childminding, and Writing for Radio.

She has worked as an editor on national and in-house magazines; as an IT trainer; and as a freelance writer and artist. She has renovated several properties, and has plenty of horror stories to tell about dangerous electrics and nightmare plumbers. She enjoys reading, travelling, stargazing, and eating good food with good friends – but nothing makes her as happy as writing fiction.

Her first published short story appeared in an anthology in 2014, and the Battle Ground series is her first long-form work. Rachel lives in East Anglia, in a house with a large library and a conservatory full of house plants. She would love to live on Mars, but only if she’s allowed to bring her books.

About the book

Bex Ellman and Ketty Smith meet in London. As the war heats up around them, Bex and Ketty must learn to trust each other. With her friends and family in danger, Bex needs Ketty to help rescue them. For Ketty, working with Bex is a matter of survival. When Victory is declared, both will be held accountable for their decisions.Review

This is the fifth and final book in the Battle Ground series. One might expect for the finale to be all guns blazing, bombs blasting and death by the thousands. Instead it seems as if the penultimate book in the series takes that spot. This one is more introspective and reflective.

In a way it’s a bittersweet goodbye, but also a necessary one. Looking closely at what has become of the characters and they in turn take a close look at their decisions during the civil war. The author delivers an end to their stories, their lives after the war. It’s possibly the most important aspect of the battle – what comes afterwards when a fragile peace has been established.

Can Bex and Ketty ever have a friendship, should they have one? The actions and decisions of both young women in the previous books would suggest that there is too much water under the bridge.

It’s a dystopian novel – a frighteningly realistic scenario of what the future could look like. Churcher takes the fear, anger and divisiveness of our current times and let’s a worst case scenario play out.

Where one would perhaps expect a different outcome because the major players are young and filled to the brim with ideology, the result is actually the same regardless of their age. What does that say about human-kind? Are we always destined to destroy each other? Are younger generations always fated to repeat the mistakes of older generations?

Buy Victory Day at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of Battle Ground #1, Darkest Hour ( Battle Ground #3) and Fighting Back ( Battle Ground #4) by Rachel Churcher.

#BlogTour Fighting Back by Rachel Churcher

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

Rachel Churcher was born between the last manned moon landing, and the first orbital Space Shuttle mission. She remembers watching the launch of STS-1, and falling in love with space flight, at the age of five. She fell in love with science fiction shortly after that, and in her teens she discovered dystopian fiction. In an effort to find out what she wanted to do with her life, she collected degrees and other qualifications in Geography, Science Fiction Studies, Architectural Technology, Childminding, and Writing for Radio.

She has worked as an editor on national and in-house magazines; as an IT trainer; and as a freelance writer and artist. She has renovated several properties, and has plenty of horror stories to tell about dangerous electrics and nightmare plumbers. She enjoys reading, travelling, stargazing, and eating good food with good friends – but nothing makes her as happy as writing fiction.

Her first published short story appeared in an anthology in 2014, and the Battle Ground series is her first long-form work. Rachel lives in East Anglia, in a house with a large library and a conservatory full of house plants. She would love to live on Mars, but only if she’s allowed to bring her books.

About the book

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#BlogTour Darkest Hour by Rachel Churcher

Today it’s the BlogTour for Book Three of The Battle Ground series, Darkest Hour, by Rachel Churcher.About the Author

Rachel Churcher was born between the last manned moon landing, and the first orbital Space Shuttle mission. She remembers watching the launch of STS-1, and falling in love with space flight, at the age of five. She fell in love with science fiction shortly after that, and in her teens she discovered dystopian fiction. In an effort to find out what she wanted to do with her life, she collected degrees and other qualifications in Geography, Science Fiction Studies, Architectural Technology, Childminding, and Writing for Radio.

She has worked as an editor on national and in-house magazines; as an IT trainer; and as a freelance writer and artist. She has renovated several properties, and has plenty of horror stories to tell about dangerous electrics and nightmare plumbers. She enjoys reading, travelling, stargazing, and eating good food with good friends – but nothing makes her as happy as writing fiction.

Her first published short story appeared in an anthology in 2014, and the Battle Ground series is her first long-form work. Rachel lives in East Anglia, in a house with a large library and a conservatory full of house plants. She would love to live on Mars, but only if she’s allowed to bring her books.

Follow @Rachel_Churcher on Twitter, on Goodreadson Facebookon Instagramon Taller BooksBuy Darkest Hour

About the book

Bex Ellman and Ketty Smith are fighting on opposite sides in a British civil war. Bex and her friends are in hiding, but when Ketty threatens her family, Bex learns that her safety is more fragile than she thought.

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

This is part three in the Battle Ground series. I would definitely recommend reading Battle Ground and False Flag just to get a better overview of the characters and the series. Set in the near future, post-Brexit and post Scottish Independence, this dystopian tale is a worrying scenario. Why? Because a civil war in Britain doesn’t seem like such a fantastical concept after the last few years.

The country is divided and the tactics being used are callous, despicable and often cross boundaries. The two main characters from the first two books, Ketty and Bex are back. Bex and her small gang of rebels connect with a bigger resistance group and end up in Newcastle. Meanwhile it is Ketty’s job to find said resistance groups and in particular focus on how to find Bex and her group.

I enjoy the way Churcher has taken the complete chaos we find ourselves in at the moment in Britain and run with one of the worst case scenarios. I’d like to say it might make some people sit up and reflect upon how damaging the division is and the potential isolation, but I know it will fall on empty ears and eyes.

The use of propaganda to drive misinformation, false facts and malign the opposition plays a big part in the plot, as does the conforming of the law to apprehend said opposition. These aren’t new techniques though, they have very much been in place here and adopted from the US in the post-911 era. Arresting, stopping or apprehending everyone under the new terrorism laws, also equates to the state/police being able to do so without probable cause. It’s an interesting point to bring to the table.

It’s a YA dystopian tale, actually it probably deserves its own genre – post-Brexit dystopia. Let’s hope it stays a fictional series.

Buy Darkest Hour at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Taller Books; pub date 9 Oct. 2019. Buy at Amazon comBuy the Battle Ground series at Taller Books.

Read my review of Battle Ground by Rachel Churcher

#BlogTour Battle Ground by Rachel Churcher

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Battle Ground by Rachel Churcher. It’s an innovative YA read based on ongoing modern political changes.

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 Goodreads, on Facebook, on Instagram, on Taller Books,Buy Battle Ground

About the book

Sixteen-year-old Bex Ellman has been drafted into an army she doesn’t support and a cause she doesn’t believe in. Her plan is to keep her head down, and keep herself and her friends safe – until she witnesses an atrocity she can’t ignore, and a government conspiracy that threatens lives all over the UK. With her loyalties challenged, Bex must decide who to fight for – and who to leave behind.

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

Battle Ground Rachel Churcher cover

Review

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

After reading the book this has got to be the most disturbing sentence I have read in relation to Brexit and Scottish independence. As if the outlook and situation weren’t bleak enough already now I have to worry about the world after Brexit.

This really is worst case scenario, especially for the younger generations. It’s the first book in this dystopian series and is suitable for YA and older readers.

I think the most interesting aspect of this book is how Churcher has taken the basis of a real viable fear and turned it into an entire storyline. What could be more frightening than the concept of our children being dragged into a vicious conflict. Being forced to choose between what is right for themselves and what is right for their country.

It feeds into this obsessive patriotic feeling that has often brought the masses together, but is now driving a wedge between everyone. The author plays into the whole idea of being manipulated by fake news, propaganda and a heavily influenced and edited information flow. Oh wait, that’s the world we more or less already live in.

It’s an innovative YA read based on ongoing modern political changes. It feeds the fear and apprehension, whilst showing us the determination of youth. The fight that swells within the young, who have to make a choice. Choose survival, choose themselves or choose what the upper echelon want you to choose. Not exactly an easy feat.

Buy Battle Ground (Battle Ground #1) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Taller Books; 18 July 2019. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Taller Books.