Thursday, 6 September 2018

REVIEW - DARK RETREAT - EMP LODGE BY GRACE HAMILTON

Title: Dark Retreat
Series: EMP Lodge
Author: Grace Hamilton
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Outdoors & Nature,Post Apocalyptic
Publisher: Relay Publishing
Release Date: 1st September 2001

BLURB from Goodreads
Three months after life as she knows it was decimated, Megan Wolford has only one goal: protect her daughter, Caitlin, at any cost. When a mysterious illness strikes Caitlin down, Megan is forced to forage for medical supplies at a remote lodge. The last thing she wants is help from her fellow survivors when so many in her life have let her down—but soon she'll find herself with no other option. 
 

Ex-Navy SEAL Wyatt Morris is doing everything he can to hold his family together after the tragic death of his prepper Dad, so when Megan enters their lands, he is mistrustful at first despite feeling drawn to her. He won't turn away an ill child though--no matter how deadly the world has become. But the arrival of another stranger named Kyle soon gives them all a new reason to be suspicious. Wyatt knows he’ll have to forge alliances in order to keep his family safe, but trusting the wrong person could be a deadly mistake. 
 

When Megan and Wyatt discover her daughter’s illness may be linked to Kyle’s arrival, it sets off a race to discover the truth before it’s too late to save Caitlin—and the rest of the Morris clan. Can they work together for survival . . . and something more?


PURCHASE LINKS
Amazon UK


REVIEW

I had been reading a lot of newly released/about to be released titles and decided it was about time I read something that had been released for some time. 
I was also in the mood for something Post Apocalyptic and really loved the sound of this one.

The cover certainly gives a bleak impression of the world the two females are living in. It also makes you want to know more about them and the lodge/cabin they are facing. Is it a place of safety or are they heading into danger? Only one way to find out, I think this book is a good choice for me after looking at the cover and the blurb certainly clinches it for me, its a must read book for me!

The genres I have seen listed or this book are as listed above, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Outdoors & Nature and Post Apocalyptic which are all great descriptors and clues to what the book contains. The only other genre I would possibly add is Survival though I guess that should/could fall under Post-Apocalyptic. I was a little unsure I would class this as outdoor & nature as I would think a book given that genre would be a purely factual one, but on the other there are a lot of tips on survival, such as herb knowledge, snaring & trapping and security etc included within this book which could be applied in the real world we live in.

Solar flares are fairly common, though the ones that plunge the world right back into the dark ages were really massive ones. There had been some warnings given out, though Megan hadn't heard o seen any of them. The only reason Megan learns anything about these warnings is when she goes out to the local store to pick up her usual bread and milk and finds that the store shelves are completely empty!

Caitlin is usually a very bubbly, full of energy child but suddenly within just 24 hours she has become a weak and lifeless. Megan knows she needs to find help for her daughter and fast. Megan realises she can't be walking the city streets that are now full of looters. Poor Megan finds herself in an awful predicament, she desperately needs to find something or someone to help Caitlin. She cannot be seen on the streets looking weak herself with Cailtin as that would make her more of a target to have what little they have stolen or taken from her by force. Yet it certainly isn't safe to leave Caitlin alone whilst she searches for help. Eventually Megan realises she has to move when everything is quieter, less people about and hopefully less threats to their safety around.  So as Megan is struggling to carry her young daughter, Caitlin she is looking for shelter, food and some sort medical help. A Lodge style cabin catches her eye in the distance. Though she worries if she can trudge that far whilst still holding her daughter. The sight of the cabin gives her renewed energy to push on despite the pain and lethargy she is feeling. She wonders if the Lodge is empty, or maybe it will have people with some knowledge to help her with her increasingly sick daughter Caitlin. Megan briefly puts Caitlin down by a nearby tree whilst she checks out the cabin. When Megan discovers the cabin doesn't appear to be in current use she relaxes somewhat and put Caitlin on one of the beds and decides to just rest awhile then start foraging for food and further supplies that may be of use to them. However she is so tired she falls asleep curled round her daughter.

It's there that Wyatt Morris and his clan of survivors find her. Naturally its a shock for both Megan and the Morris Clan when they meet. There's lots of distrust on both sides. Albert makes his feelings crystal clear he doesn't like Megan and Caitlin and he doesn't want them here any longer than is absolutely necessary. 

The Morris clan have survived by working together and not trusting outsiders. So it with quite a leap of faith when they accept Megan and her sick daughter Caitlin. The head of the clan is Rosie, she is the one with the knowledge of old remedies and herbs and there uses, her eldest son Wyatt immediately asks her to take a look at the ill Caitlin.

It is Rosie head of the Morris clan that takes control of the situation and immediately sets to work to find something within her known family remedies and herbal knowledge to help the youngster.

Once the furore has settled it is decided that Megan and Caitlin should stay until Caitlin is well enough to walk again. Megan makes it clear she doesn't want charity and she is more than willing to join in the hunting, trapping, cleaning and meal making or whatever is necessary. Though Caitlin isn't getting any worse she isn't getting any better either. Megan has agreed to stay but is always planning on where she will go and what she wants for her and Caitlin in the future. Wyatt would be much happier if Megan would just agreed to stay with them permanently. Wyatt is attracted to Megan and really hopes she will stay with them. 

Everyone falls into some sort of routine until Kyle Grice appears, claiming to be a vet. Normally Wyatt would just speak to him and then part ways. It's the fact the man claims he has some sort of medical knowledge that makes Wyatt invite him to stay for the night. Once again Albert immediately distrusts Kyle saying there is something not right about him. When Chase also voices his concerns about the newcomer Wyatt makes sure they keep a closer eye on him.

 Great world building. Real survival knowledge within, brilliant instantly and easily adorable characters. The detailed descriptions of surroundings was really good too. They helped you visualise what was in the 

I loved hating the bad guy Kyle Grice, he really is an awful man who will stop at nothing to get to the top of the pile, therefore being in authority and having others do his dirty work. At the moment he is on the rough climb to the position at the top that he so desires. He doesn't care whom he hurts or kills on his way either.

My immediate thoughts upon finishing the book were that it was a great read! Definitely eager to read much more of this series. Already grown fond and become attached to lots of the characters within the book.

I ended up totally adoring the characters in this book, so looking forward to reading more. I certainly have high expectations for the rest of the series after reading book one! This book and it's brilliant characters made me think of the great series called The End Of All Things by Lissa Bryan which I loved.


Monday, 27 August 2018

REVIEW - CAGED BIRD BY KATY MORGAN-DAVIES

Title: Caged Bird
Author: Katy Morgan-Davies
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: Bantam Press, Random House UK
Release Date: 3rd May 2018

BLURB from Goodreads
'I was the shadow child no one ever saw...' 

From the day she was born until she escaped aged 30, Katy Morgan-Davies knew nothing but a life in captivity. Her father was the deluded and cruel leader of a cult based in South London who convinced himself that he was a god, and the immortal leader of the world.

Her father's paranoia and his need to completely control those around him led to Katy being imprisoned indoors with the curtains drawn most of the time, denied any kind of love or friendship. From a young age, Katy's father subjected her to violence and mental abuse. She was not permitted contact with anyone outside the house and on the rare occasions she did have to go out, she was always chaperoned. When she did finally engineer her escape she realised just how little she knew of the world outside her front door. She had never before done the things we take for granted such as choosing what she wanted to eat from a menu or travelling by herself on public transport. Step by step, she learned the skills she needed in order to exist in a world that was completely unfamiliar to her.

In this unique and powerful memoir, we see how Katy rose above what she suffered and found a way to freedom through her love of books. Reading the works of others enabled her to see her captivity for what it truly was, while writing gave her a voice when her own was silenced. Her story raises fascinating questions, such as how a child can be kept hidden from the world outside and how, in spite of years of being brainwashed, Katy still developed a clear sense of right and wrong.


PURCHASE LINKS
Amazon US
Amazon UK

REVIEW
To be 100% honest it was the title that initially drew me to this book, then the cover kind of intrigued me a little more, the blurb encouraged me to want to read the book and then when I found out this courageous woman actually lived not far from where I do. Apparently Katy Morgan-Davies lives in Leeds.

A stark white cover with just a small square window showing the outside and the blue sky. I think the cover actually depicts the title of the book brilliantly
ie, the caged bird, looking through the window, wanting to be free, wanting to escape and to be able to look through the window wishing she was a bird in that sky, free to fly wherever she wanted. I think the minimalist styling of the cover may actually drew me to the book more, as I wanted to know who was looking out of that very small window and why. 

The genres listed for this book are Biographies and Memoirs and they fit very well. I think those who read 

This book is the biography/memoir of Katy Morgan-Davies who was born into a rather different way of life and into and unconventional family.

First of all I should explain that Katy was not the name this brave women started out her life being called. Within the cult she grew up in she went by the name of Prem, or was referred to as "Project Prem". She then tried out a few different names mostly to fit the imaginary lives she played out in her head which for her was (I'm sure you will agree when you have read the book) the way she coped with her life. So throughout my review I refer to Project Prem/Prem/Rosie as the name she finally decided on and uses as her author name for this book, Katy.

Katy was brought up not going out to school, she was "home schooled" at home by the other members of the cult. Katy is kept in the house all the time only allowed out into the garden when it is evening when no one is around to witness it and ask questions as to who she is. This means Katy has no friends of her own age, nor does she have any contact with anyone else outside of her household at all. Katy's upbringing is what I can only describe as eccentric. Katy is deprived of any form of comfort at all. Anyone found hugging, or showing any type of affection is severely
punished. The only way to live or rather exist is by employing a life of dumb obedience. It turns out that Katy is not on any type of official list or document she really "doesn't exist" legally. Then you read the quote in the blurb and understanding dawns, that yes Katy truly was "the shadow child no one ever saw".


It is truly horrific how Katy is forced to live, no friends or family relationships of any sort. In fact her own grandparents do not know of her existence.
 . . . its difficult to describe the book as it is interesting and terrible at the same time. The pace of the book is of rather slow in parts, dare I say, it does feel a little monotonous in certain sections and you think about what Katy went through on a daily basis, you ponder what on earth every day must have felt like for her. A minute must have felt like an hour, a month perhaps felt more like a year. The routine the cult kept was fastidious, every had to be done to the precise specifications of what the cult leader Bala decreed. He referred to himself as 
being immortal, as being their God. After around a third of the book, I knew I absolutely had to finish the whole book, I totally had to know how everything ended for Katy. Having said that, there really were occasions I had to put the book down and take a break, what Katy goes through is not exactly light hearted easy reading. I am glad I read the whole book and I hope it is a popular book and many other people read it as Katy deserves to have her story told.

Other members of the cult have attempted escape, some were brought back and badly beaten in an attempt to bring them back into line with the teachings of their God Comrade Bala. These women are also emotionally abused, as if they do anything wrong, in act, in fact they even think of doing something wrong and Bala finds out, they are severely punished and humiliated as well as being constantly verbally abused too. The abuse does not just come from Bala but from all the other Comrades at the instruction of Bala.

Escape for anyone is difficult as when they join the cult, they give up all connection with family and friends, because of course the only people they need and who are worthy of their time are other cult members. Even so cult members are not encouraged to grow close in anyway at all to one another. The only "relationship" they are permitted to have is with Bala and that is on his terms and subject to his demands and whims. Escape or Katy is almost impossible, she doesn't know anyone at all outside the cult she exists in. She has no idea who could or would help her or even how to seek out the help she would need. Not only that, Katy is very rarely left alone. When she goes to the toilet, a comrade accompanies her and actually watches. The same when she has a bath, Katy has no privacy at all.

Katy was forced to live never really knowing about her true parentage. Its not until after her escape that she learns her father is also the head of their cult. Katy doesn't know which of the women in the house they are in is her mother and there is no mother/daughter relationship at all. the women are encouraged to tell tales of indiscretions about each other.

Sian had to be extra hard on Katy so as not to arouse suspicions of her giving Katy special treatment as she is Katy's biological mother. There is a highly emotional scene in the book when Katy is allowed to visit Comrade Sian in hospital after she has an "accident". It is Bala himself that takes Katy to the hospital, he actually explains to the hospital staff that Katy is a "family friend". It's clear Sian is seriously ill and Katy has had suspicions that she is her mother for some time. When Bala tells her it is time they left, something comes over Katy and she gathers courage, because what she is about to say will no doubt result in punishment for her. Katy turns back to Sian in the hospital bed and says goodbye to her mother. Sian replies calling Katy baby. It is then that Katy feels sure Sian truly is her mother. It is the last time Katy sees her mother as Sian dies. 

I don't want to go into intricate detail about what Katy went through, how she finally escaped, who let her down and still blindly believed in the word of Bala, even campaigning Bala's innocence, despite her part in helping Katy to escape and then those whom though they managed to escape the cult when Katy was still very young, never forgot her and came forward to support her case against her biological father Bala. For all the bad Katy endures she does finally meet some lovely supportive people who play a significant part in her lie as she learns how to live independently.

As a reader this book takes you through a whole wide range of emotions. You also find yourself asking how could no one have known of this poor, innocent,child's
existence. Then you wonder how she will escape and how she can possibly build a life when she has no real-life skills. This book is so much more than what I have described and revealed within this review.

Monday, 20 August 2018

REVIEW - VOX BY CHRISTINA DALCHER

Title: Vox
Author: Christina Dalcher
Genre: Sci-Fi, Dystopian
Publisher: HQ
Release Date: 21st August 2018

BLURB from Goodreads
Set in an America where half the population has been silenced, VOX is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.

On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial--this can't happen here. Not in America. Not to her.

This is just the beginning.

Soon women can no longer hold jobs. Girls are no longer taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words a day, but now women only have one hundred to make themselves heard.

But this is not the end. 

For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
I heard this book was being compared to The Handmaids Tale and I love the dystopian genre even though I guess I should admit to not having read The Handmaids Tale yet. I have bought a copy but just not gotten around to reading it yet. Anyhow I looked this one up on Goodreads as soon as I knew it was going to be published. I have seen two different covers for this book, (see below).


 

The stark white cover with profile of a woman with the red X of the book title being over the females mouth. Its a very strong image and really puts over the basics of what the book is about, which is silencing women. This is an especially poignant message as this year we celebrate the suffragettes and the fact they got women the vote and gave us a voice. 

I also love the black cover too with its red letters and the byline of "Silence can be deafening" which is a great line to start you thinking about the book content. 
Which cover is my favourite? I honestly like them both and I think either will stand out on a bookstore shelf so both do their job very well. If I absolutely had to choose one? My love o a great byline would make me choose the dark cover, but, the white cover and the x over the females mouth is such a stark, striking image too.
The genres I have seen listed for this book are Sci-Fi, Dystopian which fit perfectly but I would also add futuristic to this list.

This book is set in America, though the setting would also work over here in the UK. The government (all male of course) has passed a law that women are only allowed to use 100 words per day! It doesn't stop at limiting women to just 100 words soon women are not allowed jobs, they are supposed to stay in the home and keep the family home ticking over, caring for the children, and having the dinner ready for their husband coming home, they are not allowed to hold any job of responsibility.

There really is an inequality within everyone's household. The central character in this story is Dr Jean McLellan who is ironically a well educated woman who trained as a cognitive linguist forced to give up her career to men with lesser qualifications. She has to stay home and isn't even allowed access to books. She cannot use a computer, anything for the use of communication is locked away in her husbands office. Her husband is quite literally her jailer. Jean isn't even secondary in the pecking order at home. Her son is held in higher esteem and has more authority than she has herself. When her son Steven becomes deeper and involved with a movement called the Pure movement and really believes women should not be at work, or allowed to read books. Steven wears his badge as a member of the Pure movement with pride. Jean cannot believe the change in her son and his attitude. His actions and words certainly fit the governments expectations, he truly seems to think women are an inferior race and should be ruled over by men. This doesn't sit well at all with Jean, his educated mother. In fact it makes her think back to her years o education and a friend, Jackie Juarez who had told her she should be out protesting with her but Jean was dedicated to her books and never thought things would go this far. Jean remembers the last time she saw Jackie on TV, she was labelled a feminazi and sent away to work in the fields.


Jean is devastated to learn that her son Steven has reported his next door neighbour/girlfriend, Julia King for what he considers an infraction of the governments rules. Julia is taken away in the night and like all protesters or those considered to be breaking the law she is sentenced to working on the farms and a life of silence, she isn't allowed any words at all.

I guess I should explain how the government enforces the 100 words per day policy. Every female from the youngest children to the oldest woman is fitted with a cuff which counts their words as they use them. If the female wearing the cuff goes over her 100 words per day she is sent an electrical type shock through her cuff. So is harshly punished for over use of words. There is no way out of this life. Even if women wanted to leave the country with her family she is unable to do so as all females had their passports confiscated and n new ones are being issued. 


Dr Jean McLellan is given the chance of a small reprieve when the President wants her to continue some scientific work she had been doing before America changed. It turns out he needs a serum to give his brother who is suffering from a brain disorder/damage which was the scientific are Jean and her team had been working on. Jean decides to help so long as she can choose her team Lin and Lorenzo to help her. The price/payment she receives is the removal of her cuff and her young daughter Sonia's cuff. Jean intends to enjoy what little freedom this "work" will give her. She fall right back into the affair she was having with Lorenzo, which is risky as if found out she will be sent to the farms to work hard labour until death!


There is so much going on in this book and it truly is a conversation starter. I'd also say it is something that could quite realistically happen. I mean there's still a political row going on about getting equal pay for women, and certain professions are still mostly male dominated.


I was pulled into this book almost immediately within the first 4% ! As a reader you are thrown right into the dystopian society with its rules and regulations. To be totally honest looking around at our present political leaders around the world is a scenario that is really believable and doesn't take to much imagination to envision it. I found the plot of this book amazing twist on a society. Women, even young girls must be fitted with a counter and are limited to the 100 words! If you just go over, a reminder shock is entirely through your counter.....if you continue to speak even though you have used you allotted words the shocks get stronger and stronger. It's not only words that have been taken from the female part of society...." There really seems no end to the torment of women in this society yet still some women look down on others. Making it seem in places were women are their own worst enemy, if they banded together they could make a bigger impact but it just takes a few brave women to stand together.


I really enjoyed reading this book it was really thought provoking the society going back to a time where women were thought lesser important than men and are sentenced to a life of drudgery and silence. 


Monday, 13 August 2018

REVIEW - ACCESS RESTRICTED - WORD$ BY GREGORY SCOTT KATSOULIS

Title: Access Restricted
Series: Word$
Author: Gregory Scott Katsoulis
Genre: Sci-Fi, YA, Dystopian
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: 28th August 2018

BLURB from Goodreads
At the end of All Rights Reserved, Speth and her friends freed the city of Vermaine from Silas Rog and his oppressive litigation. But now, with the Wi-Fi untethered, the citizens of her city are looking to Speth to lead them. Just as Speth never intended to lead a rebellion of Silents, she has no idea how to begin putting Vermaine back to rights. All she wants to do is break out of the dome and track down her parents, who were sold into indentured servitude years before. Leaving the care of the city in the hands of her friend and mentor, Kel, Speth and a few friends embark on a journey to explore the rest of their world and spread the cause of freedom.


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
I approached reading Access Restricted with mixed feelings as I had totally loved All Rights Reserved and told every book lover I know how amazing it was. I find that sometimes the second book isn’t always as good as the first, and as I totally adored All Rights Reserved, Access Restricted has a lot to live up to, to be as good.

This book, once again has a bold and bright cover. This time it is orange,  and has metal chain with a padlock prominent on the cover which I'd say fits with the title of the book. The chained padlock also fits in with a scene from within the book.
I think the colour will make this book cover stand out on a shelf, though I think anyone that read All Rights Reserved would be eagerly awaiting this title.
The genres I have seen listed for this book are Sci-Fi, Dystopian and YA which all fit the book well though once again I should point out that I am waaay past the YA age group and still read and loved this book.

In this book Speth and her placer friends are still causing mayhem for the powers in charge! However because Speth & friends have freed those that live under the rule of Silas Rog, the people of Onzieme still look to Speth for guidance on what to do next. It was never Speth's intention to become a replacement leader, all she wanted to do after freeing her neighbours and friends from Silas was to go find her parents, free them from their indenture and run away together somewhere and start their new life together. When Speth leaves to try to escape the dome and find her parents it is Kel that steps up and tries to help the people now they are free.

There's plenty of action from the placers, though redundant from placing items now the town has been freed they go on helping wherever they can. Some of them end up accompanying Speth when they are in a car chase, though they would have wanted to stay behind. They accept the situation  and agree to help as much as they can. Whilst Seth's unplanned car chase means she cannot go and collect her sister Saretha from the hospital, in fact Speth almost doesn't go, she finally leaves when Kel promises to watch out for her sister. Kel also tells them to make contact with Kiely, the placer who trained her, as she may be able to help them in someways.

Though Speth flees Onzieme and the dome that surrounds it there is no guarantee she will find her parents and free them. In fact she may get caught and taken back to Silas Rog or his sister, Lucretia. Lucretia seems to be obsessed with capturing Speth and not just because of what Speth has done to Silas, Lucretia's brother, it seems to be something even more personal the way Lucretia doggedly tracks and chases Speth. Speth & the group begin to realise the sign of zipped and locked lips has spread much wider than they could ever imagine. Every where they go there seems to be silents willing to help them on their way, and to intervene in the chasing and potential capturing of them.

We also learn why Indenturing is so widespread and seemingly being done more. It seems that any children that are born to parents already indentured become the property of the Rog's. So as soon as these children are old enough to walk they are put to work. Then if they have children the cycle continues over and over. In fact some of the characters liken it to slavery.  

Of course I still love Speth for her determination, bravery and selfless acts of sacrifice just made me like her even more. Speth always seems to be blaming herself for things in this book. Be it for her friend and family losses to being willing to go ahead and sacrifice herself for the good and well being of others.
I also immediately took to Mira who is Margot's younger sister, and so sweet, yet sassy at the same time. Margot is also really protective over Mira so it's quite funny when she tells Mira off for things. The amusing thing is Mira usually gets her own way anyhow.
I also had a new favourite smaller character who I instantly liked despite her surname being Rog was Victoria, who was a younger, affluent, sheltered character became so brave and became defiant as well as supporting the underdogs in the book. 
The two characters I loved disliking were Silas and Lucretia Rog, the way they offer a "fair" trial and it turns out the unbiased judge is someone who turns out to be much closer to the case which would make them truly biased before any statements have been made. I loved the way Silas and Lucretia thought they could win no matter what evidence was available against them. If they dislike something they just change the parameters of the law within their dome. 

We catch up with a lot of the characters from All Rights Reserved in this book, as well as meeting new characters such as the family of those who chose to commit suicide and/or family of those that have recently been indentured. Speth is a little shocked that most of these people seem to support her rather than blame her for their family members death such as Beecher's father, Mr Randall and Mrs Croate (Sera's mother).

So I feel I really don't want to say any more as I always try not to give away spoilers. There is happiness in this book as well as sadness when we lose well liked characters. . . and I totally didn't see one of the losses coming at all.
I just want to add that I loved the way the names/titles of each chapter had their cost for saying them eg, "Out Of The Dome: $8.96", "Into The Fire: $9.97" and "Keene: $10.99".

My immediate thoughts upon finishing reading this book were, "Wow amazing!"
I can definitely say Access Restricted is as good as All Rights Reserved. I would highly recommend reading this book series. It has an amazing plot, a well created dystopian society and is a fantastic read! When I finished reading All Rights Reserved I felt I wanted to shout about how great it was from the rooftops, well Access Restricted left me feeling the same way! 


Monday, 6 August 2018

REVIEW - THE BREEDERS BY MATTHEW J. BEIER

Title: The Breeders
Author: Matthew J. Beier
Genre: LGBTQIA, Literary Fiction
Publisher: Epicality Books, Books Go Social
Release Date: 17th January 2012

BLURB from Goodreads
The storm has come. The homosexuals, once an ostracized social minority, have taken over the world. They understood the dangers of an overpopulated planet, usurped government power, and created a culture of perfectly engineered families. But Grace Jarvis and Dex Wheelock are heterosexuals--part of the government’s highly controlled backup plan for reproduction--and they have a problem:

Grace is pregnant. Dex is the father. It is a crime that has only one consequence: banishment to the Antarctic Sanctuary, an isolated biological reserve where reproductive criminals are allowed to exist in peace, without disrupting the rest of civilization. Yet there are rumors that genocide has already begun and that the homosexuals are finally setting natural breeders on a path to extinction. This leaves Grace and Dex with only two choices: to succumb to the tyrannical regime, or run.

They choose to run.

Matthew Beier’s debut novel tells the intimate story of two people bound by the force of life itself as they set out to protect their unborn child and find value for themselves in a world that has rendered them worthless. This rainbow-tinted reflection of our own society--part political satire and part dystopian thriller--is a novel you won’t want to miss.


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
I couldn't believe I had missed out on reading this one when I saw it's publishing date! The cover features a large iceberg and a rainbow over it. Upon reading the book I came to the conclusion that this could be Sanctuary, the place people are sent if they disobey the governments laws. The cover certainly attracted my eyes and then when I read the Blurb I knew I just had to read this book!

The genres listed for this book are LGBTQIA and Literary Fiction though  personally I would also add Dystopian and Futuristic as it has an “alternative” society controlled by what most would label as an unconventional government with their new laws.

The world is now ruled by the majority of the population which are homosexual. As the world was becoming rapidly over populated those in charge decree that there should be no more “natural” pregnancies. The government are increasingly going down the route of engineered families that they perceive as being perfect. Though they have the engineering expertise they also have a back up plan of men and women (hetrosexuals) who can be controlled, conceive and produce offspring in a constrained environment. However should anyone become pregnant naturally, the guilty pair are banished to a place called Sanctuary, located in the Antarctica, which is an extremely harsh place. Those sent to Sanctuary live a hard life as a punishment. The ”back up” individuals are referred to as Failsafes (men) and Carriers (women).

The book is told from two main points of view. Dex Wheelock, a fail safe with two mothers as parents, who had what he thought could have been the beginnings of a meaningful relationship with a carrier called Diana. Things had been going really well, then one day she just disappeared into thin air. No matter how he tried he could not find out where she had gone. Dex’s friend invites him to a party to distract him from losing Diana. Dex is attracted to a woman called Grace and they end up having sex that evening.

The other point of view is from the perspective of Grace Jarvis, a carrier, with two fathers who finds herself pregnant after what she considered a one night stand at a party. The pregnancy leaves Grace with a very difficult decision to make. Though Grace initially attempts to hide her pregnancy, this is not something that she can do for long. The pregnancy literally tears her family apart. Dividing her parents and family who have shockingly differing opinions on her pregnancy. Dex and Grace meet up again and discuss their options which come down to just two options, to being inevitably found out as Grace’s pregnancy goes further along and being banished to Sanctuary, or to run! There is a rumour of a resistance that can help people in their situation. Neither of them want to leave their families behind but they have no choice. To begin with Dex is determined to support Grace and their baby but at a crucial moment he gets cold feet leaving Grace in the hands of the resistance alone. Whilst being on the run with the resistance Grace is becomes unsure about the resistance and their true objectives but what choice does she really have but to continue on the path she is on. There is no option for her to turn back and she is even told she would not be allowed to leave as she had seen and heard too much of the resistance secrets and locations to be allowed to escape alive!

I of course really liked the main characters of Dex and Grace. Dex seems to have been quite spoilt by his two mothers. We see Grace’s family split with her father ?? being disgusted with her pregnancy and literally turning his back on her not wanting any part in her life or his grand-child’s.  Luckily Grace has the unlimited love, moral and financial support of her dad Stuart.

This book is really action packed and had me hooked within reading the first 10%. There is a lot going on, the pregnancy just seems to be the “thing” that triggers some of the changes. The Breeders is full of family woes, disagreement and darkness as the truth of how quickly some of the characters discard friends/family in trouble. Then uplifting when complete strangers risk their lives to help to people that they have only just met.

I guess some people will find the book controversial, with the switch of power being in the hands of homosexuals rather than heterosexual. The head of the government is referred to as Queen Vincent and he wants to eradicate heterosexuals. The book turns the majorities on their head, having what we would still think of minorities leading the way. I found the book engrossing and intriguing. For those possibly put off by other reviews I would want to remind everyone that this is fiction and that I find reading a way to escape my everyday real life.

I definitely enjoyed reading this book with its complex society and it intricately woven plot. I loved that things were revealed to us as Grace was learning about them too. The book was both an enjoyable read and a very thought provoking one too. I’d say this book is a great conversation starter. The book tips the prejudice that homosexuals receive on its head telling the story where they are in charge and it is the heterosexuals that are the harassed minority.



Wednesday, 25 July 2018

REVIEW - HUNT THE MOON - MATED BY FATE BY KARI COLE

Title: Hunt The Moon
Series: Mated By Fate
Author: Kari Cole
Genre: Romance, Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Publisher: Carina Press, Harlequin
Release Date: 1st June 2018

BLURB from Goodreads
Who’d think to bring silver bullets to a wedding? When Isabelle “Izzy” Meyers arrives in Montana and discovers her human foster brother is marrying into the local werewolf pack, she wishes she’d brought an arsenal. Werewolves can’t be trusted, and Izzy should know…she is one. 

Luke Wyland never planned on becoming an Alpha. He’s still navigating how to protect the pack from the rogue threat that’s been hunting in his territory, claiming his father as one of their victims. Yet the moment Luke lays eyes on Izzy, something primal takes root. Finding a mate who wants nothing to do with him is a complication he doesn’t need, but letting Izzy go isn’t an option.

After a childhood marred by shifter violence, Luke is everything Izzy was raised to hate. So then why does being with him feel so intensely right? With a thinning pack to defend, Luke knows what he has to do: embolden Izzy to unleash her true nature—or risk losing everything. 


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
I like to try new authors and when I found this book by Kari Cole I wanted to read it. The blurb had me intrigued.

I would say the cover depicts the characters of Luke Wyland and Isabelle Meyers, there is also a full moon in the background of the cover behind the two shifters.

The genres listed for this book include Romance, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy which fit the book very well.

The books central characters are Isabelle and Luke. Isabelle has lost both her parents in an incident many years ago in a planned shifter attack. The girls end up in the care of her bitter, shifter hating grandmother. It is the grandmother that makes both Izzy and Bess ashamed of their heritage and makes them learn to suppress their inner wolf. The grandmother is a very cruel woman, she keeps the girls from others of their own kind and even forces the girls apart from each other, punishing them if she finds them comforting each other or even holding hands.
Then when social services finally intervene and the two girls are placed in foster care with Hank & Abby and their adopted son Freddie. The girls naturally find it hard to settle in and trust they will not be abused as they were with their grandmother. Hank & Abby try many times to adopt the two girls but their grandmother refuses.

This book has quite a lot going on as human Freddie is marrying Rissa who is a shifter. Freddie has invited Izzy whom he considers his sister to meet his wife to be and her extended family. As soon as Izzy comes into contact with Rissa she realises that she is a shifter. You would think as a shifter herself Izzy would be happy to find a pack that seems intent on welcoming her. However her grandmother has filled her head with everything negative about shifters. 
Then there's Rissa who is the Luna in her pack. Luke has only recently taken the role as alpha as his father & his father's beta, were killed along with a couple of young female shifters. Luke has his hands pretty full already with trying to find out who killed his father. Then there's the people that keep going missing, then turning up dead!

When Izzy meets Luke Wyland, the Alpha of Rissa's pack the air practically sizzles. Luke instantly knows that Izzy is his mate! As Luke learns more about Izzy he wonders What on earth could her human grandmother have done to her and her sister Bess for them to fear their own kind? And why had the Chicago pack not come forward to help the two girls, especially after their grandmother died? How could any pack allow their own species end up in the care system under "only human care"??" Luke knows he cannot reveal his attraction and mate bond to Izzy, he needs to gain her trust and coax out her inner wolf before that or he may lose her.

The fact that Izzy was a vegetarian and is totally repressing her wolf has Luke and brother Freddie concerned. Both Luke and Freddie are very protective over Izzy so they kind of butt heads a lot especially when Freddie realises that Luke is attracted to Izzy even though Freddie is a breakable human he threatens Luke the very strong alpha! Eventually Freddie reveals some of Izzy's tragic past to Luke including the fact her sister Bess killed a man the one time she was in wolf form. She also video calls Izzy to tell her what she has done and to say goodbye to her sister and shoots herself. Obviously Izzy is devastated about her sisters suicide which to her just reinforces what their grandmother instilled in them, that shifters are bad, they kill and their inner wolf should be repressed at all times!
Along with trying to help Izzy, Luke has the problem of the mysterious deaths in the area his pack lives in. Is it a human killer or a shifter? 

My immediate thoughts upon finishing the book were that this book was fairly medium paced to begin with but certainly becomes really action packed nearer the end. This book ends with a few loose ends which is good news because I would love to read more about this Were pack.
This book has some great book boyfriend worthy characters, Luke, Dean and Freddie to name just three possibilities. If you love kick butt females there are plenty of those too, Isabelle, Rissa, and Abby for example.

What more can I say? I'd love to read more by this author as well as definitely wanting to read more of the Mated By Fate Series. If you love a great shifter book then this one should be on your reading list!


Sunday, 15 July 2018

REVIEW - 84K BY CLAIRE NORTH

Title: 84k
Author: Claire North
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Literary Fiction 
Publisher: Orbit, Little Brown Book Group UK
Release Date: 24th May 2018

BLURB from Goodreads
What if your life were defined by a number?

What if any crime could be committed without punishment, so long as you could afford to pay the fee assigned to that crime?

Theo works in the Criminal Audit Office. He assesses each crime that crosses his desk and makes sure the correct debt to society is paid in full.

But when Theo's ex-lover Dani is killed, it's different. This is one death he can't let become merely an entry on a balance sheet.

Because when the richest in the world are getting away with murder, sometimes the numbers just don't add up.


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
I really loved the sound of this book when I read the blurb. It's dystopian society/futuristic theme described in the blurb had me really intrigued. I mean what would life be like if those people with enough money to pay a fine could quite literally get away with murder?! 

The book description made me think of All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis and the Cell 7 series by Kerry Drewery where there are elements of the book that could quite easily happen in our own world in the not too distant future.
I find the cover very eye catching, its stark black background and the simplistic yet intriguing title 84K. I also love the vibrant blue butterfly, maybe to signify hope or a sense of freedom perhaps.

The book description mentions that Theo works at the Criminal Audit Office and I get the impression that he may be a little blase and unconcerned about the crimes he has to put a monetary value on. That is until someone he is close to is actually the victim of the crime as then it all feels more personal and closer to home. 

I began reading the book and without revealing points in what I read that may spoil the book for others, its rather difficult to explain. I felt confused by the character Theo, though I did feel awful for him having to attend the works trip for "team building". The whole divide between the different levels of staff. The management staying in the luxury of a hotel and their day not starting til mid morning. The "normal" "lowly" have to stay in dormitories and have to take part in the 5am team building run. I could definitely empathise with Theo's reluctance to join in and his resentment that the higher level staff were staying in more superior environment and were only expected to join in with certain exercises.

Then the book seemed to become slow paced and a little muddled for me. I was becoming irritated reading the book, I was wanting it to move and get on with the plot. I did have a couple of days break from reading the book and then picked it up and tried again but just couldn't seem to be drawn into the plot enough to want to continue reading. 

I feel that I do want to give the book another try sometime in the future, so this review may be added to at a later date.