#BookReview FEMLANDIA by CHRISTINA DALCHER #Audiobook

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.


PUBLISHED BY   HQ

PURCHASE LINK
Amazon

MY REVIEW

I listened to the audio version of this book – extremely well read by the narrator!

 The author is back with more dystopian fiction, and it’s even more scary than ever! The world has gone through many changes and what is left is bleak, especially for women. It’s every man for himself and woe betide any woman who gets in the way. That leads to some upsetting and harrowing scenes at times, so beware if you are easily triggered. Miranda and her daughter Emma have to look out for themselves and desperate times lead to desperate measures, and Miranda makes the decision for them both to head to Femlandia – an all female ‘utopia’ set up by her mother – in the hope for some safety and relief.
You follow them on the journey to Femlandia, but the main action takes place when they arrive and Miranda is soon left to face the facts that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. It’s a very scary look at human behaviour and shows that both male and females are all flawed, especially when power is involved.

They face a shocking truth when it comes to pregnancies in the camp, along with all mentions of male history being removed from the past which leads to young girls growing up with no knowledge of life on the ‘outside’.

This was a shocking read at times, although it did run out of puff a little towards the end and it just left me feeling hatred towards men and women in equal measures!! No matter the best intentions of some, there’s always those who are more interested in power and control over others with no thought to the consequences. A bleak but gripping read!


★★★★

#BlogTour THE LION AND THE UNICORN by TOM WARD @RandomTTours #BookReview



Delighted to be with you today to start off the Blog Tour for the fantastic THE LION AND THE UNICORN by TOM WARD.
My thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all to share my thoughts!!


ABOUT THE BOOK


London, 2054. After a devastating global pandemic and a bloody revolution, Britain’s new government imposes peace by stringently dictating the nation’s cultural intake. In the quest to create better citizens, everything from the television we watch to the clothes we wear is strictly policed. As part of the unit tasked with upholding these so-called ‘Bad Taste Laws’, H. and his partner, Bagby, have their work cut out. When former reality TV star Caleb Jennings is found murdered, some suspect it could be a simple vigilante slaying. But, as H. digs deeper into the killing, Bagby’s association with old revolutionary figureheads is called into question. With the help of Caleb’s estranged sister, the museum curator Kate Faron, H. must navigate a Britain in which paranoia and suspicion of the unknown are rife, all the while dealing with the mysterious tech behemoth Vangelis, new revolutionary murmurings, and the legacy of Kate’s biologist parents. Compelled by what he uncovers, H. begins to question his loyalty to the state at a time when national stability couldn’t be more precarious. 


PUBLISHED BY UNBOUND


PURCHASE LINK


AMAZON


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 Tom Ward is an author and features writer, writing for publications including Wired, Esquire and National Geographic. He has won the GQ Norman Mailer Award, the PPA New Consumer Magazine Journalist of the Year Award, and has been shortlisted for The People’s Book Prize. He is also a graduate of the Faber Academy. 


MY REVIEW



Remember when we thought dystopian books were so far fetched that we couldn’t imagine living in a world like that?!  Weirdly, after the past 18 months, I think we can believe anything can happen in this world we live in, and that’s what made this story work so well for me!! It was plausible!! However insane it may seem, I’m sure there are people out there who would welcome the world that Tom Ward has created, where the government impose strict rules on how people live their lives.   From the clothes they wear, to the music they listen to… and this is a chilling look at such a world where the wishes of those in power are imposed on everyone else – all in the name of increasing the intellect of people and keeping them more engaged!

When a former reality TV star is found murdered, H and his partner Bagby are brought in to delve a little deeper, and what they find shocks them and makes them question who they’re working for and why!

There was something more sinister behind the murder, than just a vigilante killing, and as they look into the past of Caleb and the truth is uncovered it becomes a race against time to find out who is involved, and who could be next.

I loved H as a character as he had a healthy cynicism about him! He did as he was told for work but would always go a little further to do his own research for his own peace of mind.  And with a partner like Bagby working with him, his job is never straight forward!  And the more he delves into the case, the more he is shocked by what he finds!

The story zips along at a fair old pace and I loved the subterfuge, the manipulation and the general feeling of fear of living in this world where you can be in danger for listening to the wrong kind of music, and wondering just who you can trust!!  It’s a really thought provoking book and I really look forward to reading more from the author in the future

★★★★★

#BookReview THE STRANDING by KATE SAWYER #20BooksOfSummer21

This is book 18 of my 20 Books of Summer 2021 

ABOUT THE BOOK


Ruth lives in the heart of the city. Working, drinking, falling in love: the rhythm of her vivid and complicated life there is set against a background hum of darkening news reports from which she deliberately turns away.

As a new relationship becomes increasingly claustrophobic, and the discussions of impending political crisis are harder to avoid, she starts to dream of water; of escaping entwining tentacles through deep blue seas. She sets out to the other side of the globe to find that vision of freedom, and to decide who she wants to be when she returns.

But when she arrives at her destination, she finds instead that the world, and life, she left behind no longer exists.

Starting at the end and eventually returning there, with alternate chapters set Before and After, THE STRANDING is a story of how to make a life, what it is to be a woman, and what remains when everything we know is stripped away.


PUBLISHED BY CORONET


MY REVIEW

This is book 18 of my books of Summer 2021.

wow!! What a reading experience that was!! I’d heard so many good things about this book so I was a little nervous getting started, but once I was a few pages in I didn’t want to put it down!! You are just absorbed by the ‘before’ and ‘after’ storytelling style that talks of a catastrophic global event but never actually mentions what it is/was, and for me that really added to the magic of the story and how it involves you heart and soul!

At the centre of the story is Ruth! In the ‘before’ story, she’s involved with Alex and utterly besotted. Putting up with sly digs at her weight, being at his beck and call – she’s in deep and ignores the warning signs despite her friends and family being less enamoured of his behaviour. But as the time goes by, the reality of ‘his love’ for her shows itself in clearer terms and she finds herself going travelling to New Zealand. That’s one way to put distance between them!

In the ‘after’ storyline she’s in New Zealand and it’s a very bleak, isolated world. She’s on a beach with a dead whale and a stranger watching her. It brilliantly portrays the abject fear she must feel, alongside that ‘must not give up’ attitude that needs to find within to seek some hope in this new world. With the stranger making himself known to her, we then follow their struggles to survive in the situation they find themselves in.

I just can’t stop thinking about this book! It has a storyline that is a little different from the norm with intriguing characters and situations! I found it to be beautifully written, full of hope alongside the despair of the circumstances that this book portrays and it’s definitely one of my books of 2021!


★★★★★

#BookReview ANNA by SAMMY H.K.SMITH #20BooksOfSummer2021



This is book 11 of my 20 Books of Summer 2021


ANNA by SAMMY H.K.SMITH

A chilling feminist novel set in a near-future dystopia, Anna explores the conflicts between selfhood and expectations, safety and control, and the sacrifices we make for the sake of protection.

Beaten. Branded. Defiant.

Anna is a possession. She is owned by the man named Will, shielded from the world of struggles by his care. He loves her, protects her, and then breaks her. Anna is obedient, dutiful, and compliant. Anna does not know her place in the world.

When she falls pregnant, Anna leaves her name behind, and finds the strength to run. But the past – and Will – catch up with her in an idyllic town with a dark secret, and this time, it’s not just Anna who is at risk.


PUBLISHED BY  SOLARIS


MY REVIEW


Woah…. this is a read and a half!! One of those books that you find yourself open mouthed at during some passages, and just wondering where the heck this journey is going to take you! But it’s a journey worth sticking with and despite the bleakness, it can be seen as hopeful and inspiring.. showing just how strong a woman can be when pushed to the limits.

In a dystopian world, Anna is captured by a man meaning she is now his property. To do with as he wishes. And that involves torture, beating, assaults….. all under the name of ‘love’ and ‘protection’. It’s the rules of the Unlands where she found herself so there is no help. She just has to rely on herself to get through this and the hope that better times are ahead.

When she falls pregnant, she manages to escape to start a new life, with a new name in a world very different from the one she left behind. But, weirdly, just as unsettling and fraught with fear.

The middle of the book does take on a whole different feel, and it felt a little out of place when I started it, but it soon all made sense again and the fear, tension and claustrophobic feelings soon returned!

This was horrifying at times and brutal to read, but in Anna you have a character to connect with and just admire her determination, resilience and spirit in the lowest, bleakest of times.


★★★★

#BlogTour A SONG FOR A NEW DAY by SARAH PINSKER #BookReview @HoZ_Books

Delighted to be with you today to share my thoughts as part of the blog tour for A SONG FOR A NEW DAY by SARAH PINSKER. My thanks to the author and publisher for letting me be part of it all!


ABOUT THE BOOK

An unnervingly prescient, Nebula-award-winning novel explores life in a world permanently locked down in the aftermath of a pandemic.

BEFORE

.Luce Cannon is on the road. Success is finally within her grasp: her songs are getting airtime; the venues she’s playing are getting larger. But mass shootings, bombings and now a strange contagion are closing America down around her. The gig Luce plays tonight will turn out to be the last-ever rock show as the world’s stadiums, arenas and concert halls go dark for good.

AFTER.

Rosemary is too young to remember the Before. She grew up, went to school and worksin the virtual world of Hoodspace. Working for StageHoloLive, which controls what is left of the music industry, her job is to find new talent, search out the illegal backroom jams and bring musicians into the Hoodspace holographic limelight they deserve. But when Rosemary sees how the world could actually be, that won’t be enough.


PRAISE FOR A SONG FOR A NEW DAY….

‘Sarah Pinsker has written a wonderful epic about music, community, and rediscovering the things that make us human’ Charlie Jane Anders, author of All the Birds in the Sky.

‘The combination of technothriller, rock-and-roll novel, and rebellion in a dystopian world make for a riveting, sweet, funny, angry, gorgeous read’ Cory Doctorow, author of Walkaway.

‘A compelling book about the importance of music – and any sort of art – in a world where it seems like the least essential thing. This is an expertly drawn post-catastrophe world peopled by compassionately written characters’ Ann Leckie, author of Ancillary Mercy.

‘An all-too plausible version of the apocalypse, rendered in such compelling prose that you won’t be able to put it down … A lively and hopeful look at how community and music and life goes on even in the middle of dark days and malevolent corporate shenanigans’ Kelly Link, author of Get it Trouble.

‘Woven through Pinsker’s meticulously crafted future of technology-enabled isolation and corporate-consumerist powerlessness is a stirring anthem against the politics of fear. A dazzling tale told in multiple voices, with not a single note out of place. This is the lyrical protest song that we have always needed, perhaps more so now than ever’ Ken Liu, author of Grace of Kings.

‘Cements Pinsker’s status as a rising star in the world of speculative fiction … A gorgeous novel that celebrates what can happen when one person raises her voice’ Kirkus.

‘This excellent debut novel by Nebula winner Pinsker establishes her as an astonishingly impressive writer of day-after-tomorrow SF … This tale of hope and passion is a remarkable achievement’ Publishers Weekly *STARRED REVIEW*.

‘In A Song for a New Day, liberty and creative endeavour are compromised by political and socioeconomic reality. Pinsker presents a frighteningly real near-future US … Pinsker movingly charts Rosemary’s coming-of-age story as her world and Luce’s collide’ Guardian.

PUBLISHED BY HEAD OF ZEUS

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sarah Pinskeris a singer, songwriter and author. Her short storieshave won the Nebula, Sturgeon and Philip K. Dick Awards.Currentlyfinishing her second novel and fourth album, she lives with her wife in Baltimore, Maryland and can be found online at Twitter and Author Website

MY REVIEW

Imagine a world in Lockdown! A world without live music!  After our experiences in 2020, this concept is our reality – hopefully for not much longer though! – and in this book it explores that life where people have to access a virtual world to ‘experience’ music.  For those brought up in the ‘lockdown’ world, they see this as a great invention, but for others who lived and worked in music beforehand, you just cannot beat the real thing of seeing concerts in the flesh and they try to bring back that world.

In the before world, Luce is just hitting the big time in music! Sell out concerts, music played on the radio – all her dreams are coming true! And then the world shuts down and her life is changed again. She struggles to find meaning in the world without music, so she’s driven underground.

For Rosemary, her only experience of ‘live music’ is online via the virtual world and she finds herself working for the company that has to search out new talent, so their ‘gigs’ can be put online for people to watch and pay for.  As she crossed the country she begins to get the buzz about ‘real music’ and she finds herself in the company of Luce and her new band and begins to understand why so many are unwilling to ‘sellout’.

I loved the passion and energy in this book.   It really captures that love people have for hearing live music and being part of a crowd in a room where the energy is electric. That cannot be replicated in the virtual world and Rosemary gets to see this for herself and changes her viewpoint of the company she is working for.  

This is a book that will resonate with so many of us after our experience of the past year – all that you worked for taken away from you just like that, and there’s nothing you can do about it! Be grateful for the humans who continue to create and won’t be silenced!!

★★★★ 

#BlogTour THE TRIALS OF KOLI by M.R.CAREY #TheTrialsOfKoli @OrbitBooks @michaelcarey191@Tr4cyF3nt0n

A huge delight to be the latest stop on the Blog Tour for the fabulous THE TRIALS OF KOLI by M.R.CAREY. My thanks to the author, publisher and Tracy of Compulsive Readers for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!


ABOUT THE BOOK

 The Trials of Koli is the second novel in M R. Carey’s breathtakingly original Rampart trilogy, set in a strange and deadly world of our own making.


Beyond the walls of Koli’s small village lies a fearsome landscape filled with choker trees, vicious beasts and shunned men. As an exile, Koli’s been forced to journey out into this mysterious, hostile world. But he heard a story, once. A story about lost London, and the mysterious tech of the Old Times that may still be there. If Koli can find it, there may still be a way for him to redeem himself – by saving what’s left of humankind


PUBLISHED BY ORBIT BOOKS


PURCHASE LINKS

HIVE.CO.UK
BLACKWELL’S
WATERSTONES

MY REVIEW


The distinctive voice of Koli is back, and this is the next installment in the trilogy and boy is it good!! 


As the journey for Koli and his companions continues, this book allows them all a little more space to develop and we also get the fascinating point of view of Spinner and their point of view of things in the present back in the village and that really does add something a little bit special to the storyline!


They are searching for Lost London and how the old tech may be able to save them from the dystopian world they find themselves living in.  And they are now dealing with danger from man, beast and trees along the way! There’s a lot more action in this book which made for even more edge of the seat reading!!


And while Koli is on a quest for information, we get to see things from the perspective of Spinner who is at home and fighting war and disease.  With information that she uncoves, she finds herself being distrusted and feared by others who want to silence her.


This part of the trilogy felt more settled, and more grown up. The way the world was expanded by the author was just perfect! And it just sets up so nicely for part 3 which I’m equally excited and dreading!! Please can it carry on for a few more books?!!!


★★★★★

#BookReview Q by Christina Dalcher

ABOUT THE BOOK

Elena Fairchild is a teacher at one of the state’s new elite schools. Her daughters are exactly like her: beautiful, ambitious, and perfect. A good thing, since the recent mandate that’s swept the country is all about perfection.Now everyone must undergo routine tests for their quotient, Q, and any children who don’t measure up are placed into new government schools. Instead, teachers can focus on the gifted.Elena tells herself it’s not about eugenics, not really, but when one of her daughters scores lower than expected and is taken away, she intentionally fails her own test to go with her.But what Elena discovers is far more terrifying than she ever imagined…

PUBLISHED BY HQ

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon

MY REVIEW


This is a horrifying but totally engrossing glimpse into a world that doesn’t seem too far away – which is what makes it even more terrifying! We are used to being judged on how we look, what products we have etc in our world, but here you are tested to see your quotient, Q, and that will determine the school you go to – either one that nurtures you and encourages the gifted members of society, or sent off away from you family to a school, more like an institution, that is run by the government.

Elena Fairchild is living a blessed life – teaching at one of the elite schools, married to Malcolm who is working for the government behind the scenes, and mother to 2 daughters. They see those who haven’t ‘succeeded’ in life but the way that life is run it is best not to think too much about them. If you have a higher Q it allows you a life of privilege such as extra items at the supermarkets, different queues at the tills, even the school buses are different for children with higher and lower Q’s. In this world, even illness requires verification so no playing poorly for a day off work!

But her world is about to change when one of her daughters scores low in her Q test and she sees the other side of the coin – and she doesn’t like it. You’d think she’d get support from her husband to try and save their daughter from being sent away, but you’d be wrong! And her life starts unravelling as she looks back at different points in her life and starts to regret certain decisions she made that have led to this moment.

The more that Elena looks into the whole system on which their lives are based, the more she is horrified and desperate to find a way out of it all. You really can sense her devotion to her daughter and imagine yourself in that situation, battling both your other half and the society you live in. go

This is a scary glimpse of a future reality and I loved how real it all felt!! The despair shown by Elena, the harshness of her husband as he towed the government line, and the uncovering of the true reality of the institutions was truly shocking!! A brilliant read!!


★★★★

#BlogTour THE BOOK OF KOLI by M.R.CAREY #BookReview @orbitbooks @michaelcarey191

Delighted to be taking part in the Blog Tour for the exciting release of THE BOOK OF KOLI by M.R.CAREY. My thanks to the author, publisher and Tracy of Compulsive Readers for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Beyond the walls of the small village of Mythen Rood lies an unrecognizable world. A world where overgrown forests are filled with choker trees and deadly vines and seeds that will kill you where you stand. And if they don’t get you, one of the dangerous shunned men will.

Koli has lived in Mythen Rood his entire life. He knows the first rule of survival is that you don’t venture beyond the walls.

What he doesn’t know is – what happens when you aren’t given a choice?

The first in a gripping new trilogy, The Book of Koli charts the journey of one unforgettable young boy struggling to find his place in a chilling post-apocalyptic world. Perfect for readers of Station Eleven and Annihilation.

published by ORBIT BOOKS

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon

blackwell’s

MY REVIEW

What an introduction to a trilogy!!  The Book of Koli is the perfect start  and will have you eager to read more of the adventures ahead! This is book one, with books two and three to follow over the next year, and it’s brilliant story of nature turning against humanity!

Koli lives his life in fear, especially of trees and nature. The world they live in has severely changed over the years, the population has decreased and humans are kept in smaller groups for their own safety and survival.  It’s a scary world outside the safety of their own communities and for Koli growing up it’s a confusing place to be.  It’s a brutal and sparse way of life where you have to fight to survive and work together to thrive.

At the age of 15 he has to leave home to await his future – think an extreme ‘sorting hat’ kind of process! You discover your job and name for life. Living in a world constantly surveyed by drones for monitoring breaches and bad behaviour – we could do with these now in these ‘stay at home’ days!!

The more people Koli meets, the more his eyes are opened to the outside world and I loved seeing his character process things he learns – no more so than when a Japanese AI enters his life to teach him about the ‘old world’ and leads him on a path of discovery and figuring out why the world changed – very relevant to now it seems!! Be afraid!!

I found the story to be told at quite a pace and was often quite bleak (quite rightly!), but did really appreciate the touches of humour thrown in that did lift the mood. I am already itching to read more from Koli and the others to see where their journey takes them next!!

★★★★

#BOOKREVIEW LITTLE EYES by SAMANTA SCHWEBLIN

ABOUT THE BOOK

A spine-tingling portrait of our obsession with technology, from the Man Booker International-shortlisted literary star


They look harmless enough: you could even call them cute. Not quite a phone, not quite a toy, not quite a robot, these are Kentukis. And it doesn’t take long for these apparently innocent devices to fall prey to our dark obsession with technology.
Little Eyes is a chilling portrait of our compulsively interconnected society. Schweblin irresistibly pulls the reader into an unsettling world of voyeurism, narcissism and the sinister reality that lies beneath the most seductive of masks.


PUBLISHED BY ONEWORLD


PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon


hive.co.uk

waterstones (signed edition)

MY REVIEW


This was a brilliantly sinister little book! Don’t let the cute cover fool you! And that’s the case with the ‘pets’ that are in the homes of people, as is akin to the technology we all have in our homes nowadays, and the role they play in our daily lives and the dependence and impact they have on those people who have them, or who are the dwellers controlling the toys from their computers far away. It makes you want to switch off all devices in your home pronto!!

The story follows a number of different characters, each with a link to these toys, whose popularity is sweeping the world. You can choose to be a ‘keeper’, somebody who buys a ‘kentuki’, which comes in many guises, and you log on, charge them up and wait for a ‘dweller’ to connect with you and then you’re being watched! You have a virtual pet! If you choose to be a dweller, then you get to watch through the eyes of your kentuki and see how someone else lives, many thousands of miles away – notice their routines, be there to comfort them…..

What I loved about this was the variety of characters used and how they each interacted with their toys, both in front of the camera and behind it. It showed how easily we can connect with people around the world – it shows the loneliness behind so many people that they crave a connection with someone or something, that they’re willing to use technology in this way. There’s that initial excitement of having this new piece of tech, followed by the fear it can impose on the user.

It is used by the young and old and it was fascinating to see how different generations dealt with the role of the Kentuki. And how that also changed whether they were an owner or a dweller. Not sure I’d want to choose either role, but if I had to then I’d probably be a dweller! Watching over the life of someone else, rather than them seeing all I do!!

I found it to be such a fabulously, intriguing read, and definitely of the times. It will make you look at those smart devices we surround ourselves with in a completely different way, just knowing that they could be watching you! Aarrggghh!! Be afraid!! Highly recommended!!


★★★★

#AudioBookReview FAHRENHEIT 451 by RAY BRADBURY

ABOUT THE BOOK

Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.

Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television ‘family’. But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people did not live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.

When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known.

MY REVIEW

Wow!! I listened to the audio version of this, narrated by Tim Robbins, and if there ever was a perfect bit of casting, then this was it! I was hooked on his every word!! It just brought it all to life so vividly and made for a perfect reading/listening experience!!

It’s always been one of those books I’d heard so much about but had never picked up and it was worth the wait! The setting and content made it all feel very relatable in 2019 with books being burned and people being controlled of what they were told,the short attention spans of people and the constant lack of free thinking or joy!

Guy is one of the fireman whose job it is to track down books and burn them! But his way of thinking is changed when he meets the wonderful Clarice, a young girl who questions everything, notices the little things in life and pines for life the way it used to be -the way shes’ been told about. And this begins his journey to find out more of why life is being so controlled and what he can do about it.

I found this book to be terrifying, brilliant, breathless and extremely profound. The use of Tim Robbins to bring it all alive was just the icing on the cake so can highly recommend the audio version! Loved it!!

★★★★★