Friday, 15 February 2019

REVIEW - 365 WAYS TO FIND PEACE BY MARCUS BRAYBROOKE

Title: 365 Ways To Find Peace
Byline: Meditations and Inspirations for Calm and Contentment
Author: Marcus Braybrooke
Genre: Self Help
Publisher: Watkins Publishing
Release Date: 19th February 2019

BLURB from Goodreads
No other book contains such a wide range of accessible, effective and inspiring self-calming techniques, drawn from traditions and literature from around the world, both secular and religious.

With a different meditation or inspiration for each day of the year, this is a wonderfully inspiring collection that will open readers' hearts and mind and show them the way to peace and contentment whatever their mood or situation. A fresh, attractive design featuring sympathetic line drawings adds to the appeal of this gift package. Author Marcus Braybrooke has drawn upon poetry and prose, sacred and secular, from all around the world and from all ages, from the Upanishads and the Tao Te Ching to the speeches of Mahatma Gandhi and the great 19th and 20th-century poets such as Walt Whitman, Rainer Maria Rilke, Wallace Stevens and Seamus Heaney. 

The inspirations and meditations are arranged thematically, following a structure that reflects the idea of love radiating outward - from self-esteem, the acknowledge of spirit within oneself; through love for family and friends; through love for humankind in general; to love for the One, the spiritual essence that animates all existence. Readers can choose to follow this order, or dip into the book at random, or select an area that they feel particularly drawn to work on. Containing the wisdom of all the world's great spiritual traditions, this is a book that will appeal to people of all faiths, as well as to those who believe in spiritual values without subscribing to a particular religion or even belief in a divinity.


PURCHASE LINKS
Amazon US
Amazon UK

REVIEW
As a full time carer for my mum who is diabetic, has Menieres Disease, arthritis etc for ten years and then more recently my dad who has mixed dementia which consists of Vascular & Alzheimers, I am er. . .busy and naturally get stressed. Added to my own health issues I am always looking for ways to feel peaceful or de-stress so when I came across 365 ways to find peace I thought it may be helpful for me to read it.

The byline says, "meditations and inspirations" and that made me even more eager to read the book. The cover is a colour that is often used to represent calm and peace and features what I would say are koi fish and to symbolise calm well. 


The genres this book falls into are self help, and I would also put it into the gift book category.


The book consists of different things well known people have said such as, 

"A DROP IN THE OCEAN, We ourselves feel that we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But if that drop was not in the ocean, I think the ocean would be less because of that missing drop." - Mother Teresa of Calcutta, 1910-1997, India.
And the following second example.
"COMPASSION, If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete." - The Buddha c.c.483bce, India.

This was quite interesting to read as an ebook, but personally I think it would make a brilliant gift idea for someone. As I think a physical copy of this book would be easily dipped in and out of on a daily basis throughout the year. 

Friday, 8 February 2019

REVIEW - BLACK ICE - AFTER THE SHIFT BY GRACE HAMILTON

Title: Black Ice
Series: After The Shift
Author: Grace Hamilton
Genre: Sci-Fi, Dystopian, Post Apocalyptic, Climate Change
Release Date: 10th January 2019

BLURB from Goodreads
Losses pile up like the snowdrifts of a never-ending winter in this post-apocalyptic series conclusion. 

Nathan Tolley’s wife is gone, leaving him adrift in a vast ocean of bitter white that promises nothing but heartache and despair. Yet, his weary band of travelers continue to look to him to secure their safety. But Nate’s no leader. Every decision he’s made on their dangerous cross-country journey has taken them from bad to worse. First Detroit. Then Chicago. Now, Wyoming, which proves the deadliest of all. 

As circumstances continue to deteriorate like the weather, Nate turns their sights south, but the past is about to catch up to them in ways none of them will see coming. And in order to embrace an uncertain future, sacrifices must be made. 

Survival of the fittest gets real—fast. 

And, this time, it’s personal. 


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
As soon as I heard this one was available to read I knew I had to have it and read it as soon as possible! After the ending of Killing Frost where a major much loved character was killed off I wanted to know how the remaining characters in the group of traveler's would cope. Would their plans have to change? Would the death be the beginnings of the group breaking up? Yep, I had loads of questions I needed answering.

This book cover fits well with the rest of the series with its blue tones and icy imagery that makes you feel cold and shivery looking at it. These covers really do set the scene described within the books really well. I wanted to know who was the lonely figure on the book cover and why they were alone. To be honest this cover could fit several scenes described within the book with quite a few character possibilities for the lonely figure. I think the cover fits the whole “climate change” themes within the book too. Black Ice fits well into the post-apocalyptic genre, with what some could say has futuristic elements, so dystopian and Sci-Fi genre too.

I loved the fact there was a small re-cap chapter at the beginning of the book and then, . . well then, we were straight back into the drama filled, action packed plot. The group go through more and more hazardous situations from a town they were hoping to settle in arguing amongst themselves so the group gives that town a miss. They also come into contact with another weirdo who wants to pull them into his cult. It seems just when things improve for the group they are hit with another dangerous situation. They almost consider staying in Denver as there are FEMA officers there, then when they are forced to ask for access to the hospital, they find out that Denver is even more lawless than other places they have left. It seems that everyone is just out for themselves even more. There are two rival gangs fighting each other and setting up tolls to stop any newcomers and past them from their valuables. Even more worrying is the fact when Nathan tries to catch up with Tommy etc he decides it best to approach the FEMA army toll, preparing to give up a few weapons and maybe ammo but he is told that isn’t nearly enough. Nathan has to turn away from the toll and think about a way to break in or buy their way in and out.
It is whilst the group are finding each other and trying to escape that an awful character from their past shows up! One question I was asking myself throughout the whole book, even at the end was Can Nathan and his friends ever truly evade Brant and his bully boys or will there be one last battle?
I found the herbal remedies that came from the handwritten book entrusted to them interesting especially the fact Lucy seems to have appointed herself the keeper of the book and herbs.

Even as the characters are dealing with the hazards of this new world, I still enjoyed reading the incidents and sections that covered the normal growing up of Tony Tolley. He first becomes a more confident boy who looks after his baby brother and has a malamute dog as a friend. Then as time goes on, he shows he has a “good head on his shoulders” remaining calm in situations grown men and women would not cope with. At one point in the book Tony proves he is a valuable part of the group when he tips the odds back into favouring the group and turns a deadly situation around.
I thought Syd was a great kick butt, mature, savvy and sassy female character who has a knack of acting older than her actual age. Though Syd returns to the survivors group and re-integrates well, she still has her mysterious, quieter, private side and the strong possibility of keeping secrets. Syd is a good friend to Tony and seems to have a way with words and a knack to know when Nathan needs her around.
To say I was not keen on Tommy is an understatement. Even though he had previously helped Cyndi rescue Nathan. In this book he seemed somewhat cantankerous, moody and wanting to continually take the opposite view than the majority of the group. He really didn't like Lucy making any future plans for the group or even her expressing her opinion at all. I can understand him wanting his say and obviously he always has the option of going his own way, no one is forcing him to stay with the group. He irritated me so much in this book at times I felt I wanted to violently shake him by the shoulders and tell him to get over himself!
I found the addition of the new character of Arctic, who turns out to be an ace sniper interesting and maybe if there is more to come from this series, she will feature in it more.

My immediate thoughts upon finishing this book were, that I really appreciated the initial little catch up at the very start of the book. Then we were launched straight back into the drama and the Post-Apocalyptic setting within the no government, no law world. Black Ice introduced more new characters as well as having some old ones return to the group. Will there be a book four? Yet at the same time I was wondering what else could happen to Nathan and his friends?


My final thoughts are that this series could now have come to its completion with how this book concludes. Having said that I would eagerly read another in this series and I definitely intend to read more books by this author, both in the series I have already started and anything new by Grace Hamilton. There was possibly a hint when Nathan says he is happy where he is at the moment but maybe things will change in the future. I’ll be keeping my eyes and ears open for more!

Friday, 1 February 2019

REVIEW - SOME GIRLS BIND BY RORY JAMES

Title: Some Girls Bind
Author: Rory James
Genre: LGBTQIA, Teens & YA
Publisher: West 44 Books
Release Date: 1st February 2019

BLURB from Goodreads
Jamie knows that she isn't like other girls. She has a secret. She binds her chest every day to feel more like herself. Jamie questions why she is drawn to this practice and why she is afraid of telling her friends, who have their own secrets. Could she really be genderqueer?


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
The cover has a young female body with the chest bound to look flat, but at this stage we do not know if this is a girl who wants to look like a boy, or something/someone else. 

After watching a TV mini series called Butterfly about a young boy who identified as a girl. The mini series centered on his family and how they coped with the news as well as how the young boy himself felt, what he went through at school and with the "system" he had to work through to be herself.

I then noticed this title whilst browsing online and as the TV show had kind of pulled my interest to a subject I had never really given a great deal of thought to and that led to me wanting to read this book.

So I started reading this book not really knowing what was meant by the "hi-lo" terminology. So perhaps I should explain what is meant by this term first . . .I "googled it" here is the result of that search "hi-lo book, broadly defined, is a title that offers highly interesting subject matter at a low reading level. A number of publishers have focused on producing these books, though they often take slightly different approaches to creating the products that best fit a particular market."

The central character who is the female binding her chest is Jamie. Jamie is secretly binding her chest since she was 14 years old and is scared to reveal that she is doing so to anyone in her family or friends. Jamie has a great group of friends though all seem to have their own issues and the friend can literally talk about anything and everything except their individual secrets. Levi who is gay and his boyfriend Evan,, neither boy has officially "come out" to his parents. Though they both decide to "come out" to their families during the course of the book. It's such a shame when one families reaction is that they do not want their gay son any where near their daughter! Eric wants to drop out of swimming but has been continuing as he feels that is what expected of him and is the way to get a scholarship to further education. There's also Nora who has to take care of her younger brother and is literally their only "parent" as her father is an alcoholic. Nora and Jamie always rush to the cubicles to get changed in gym class. Jamie is hiding her binding and Nora is trying to keep her bruises secret.
Jamie struggles with who she is, is she still a daughter and a sister? Jamie knows she doesn't want to be a boy so discovers she is "gender queer". Jamie hides

The person Jamie eventually feels she can speak to is her brother Steve.  When he visits home for the weekend he notices his little sister seems quieter and as though something is wrong. It doesn't take too long to get her to confide in him. Steve immediately accepts his sisters wishes and offers to order her the correct clothing item to bind herself safely and correctly. Steve explains about a guy he knows who is gay and how hard it was for him to "come out". I guess Steve openly talking about sexuality lays the ground work for Jamie to explain how she feels, which is "gender queer". The book covers how her parents react and then how her close circle of friends accept her and support her when she reveals she is gender queer to them.

I thought the characters of Jamie and Steve were really well written and I loved how Steve reassured his sister that he loved her no matter what and that he would always be there for her. He also starts talking about the subject of gender which helps Jamie join the conversation and reveal how she has been feeling to them.

The book was an easy, fairly quick read and would be great as a conversation starter in schools, teen groups or even in an at home setting. I think it would be interesting if the other teens in the group had their own stories too. Even though Levi & Evan reveal their sexuality in this book, they could have their own book//books, and I think Nora should have her own book too. This style of book can really help teens broach the awkward subject.

My immediate thoughts when I finished the book were that the feel of the book, and it's writing style reminded me a little of Moonrise by Sarah Crossan. The subjects that Some Girls Bind places the spotlight on also struck me as similar
to Clean by Juno Dawson. 

To sum up this is a great book about a group of friends who are slowly choosing their future paths as well as coming to terms with their sense of themselves. I think I actually learnt a few things from this book. Myself not being a teenager or younger person hadn't heard the term "gender queer" but I understand a little more of the subjects of LGBTQIA. I would certainly be interested in taking a look at any future books by this author.


Wednesday, 23 January 2019

REVIEW - CULL BY TANVIR BUSH

Title: CULL
Author: Tanvir Bush
Genre: General Fiction, Sci-Fi, Dystopian
Publisher: Unbound
Release Date: 23rd January 2019

BLURB from Goodreads
A sharp and outrageous satire about the deadly dark side of discrimination Alex has a problem. Categorized as one of the disabled, dole-scrounging underclass, she is finding it hard to make ends meet. When in her part-time placement at the local newspaper she stumbles onto a troubling link between the disappearance of several homeless people, the government's new Care and Protect Act, and the Grassybanks Residential Home for the disabled, elderly and vulnerable, she knows she has to investigate further... but at what cost to herself and her guide dog Chris?


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
The first thing that attracted my interest to the book was in fact the cover. I think the cover though quite simplistic is presents a powerful image. The way the C in the word Cull is used to represent a wheelchair leaves the prospective reader in no doubt about what is trying to be “culled” in the book. I then read the blurb and felt a strong urge to read the book. With having health issue’s myself as well as looking after both my parents who had multiple health issues and both of them are or have been wheelchair uses too I could view the problems the characters have in this book from their point of view and the point of view as a carer too.

I have seen this book labelled as general fiction, sci-fi and dystopian. I would say that perhaps the sci-fi label could be a little off putting to some readers but I have to agree with the genres listed. The dystopian element is more of a futuristic slant of what could actually be happening in our present society. I suppose the Sci-Fi and Dystopian themes also refer to the “survival of the fittest” aspect of the book.

I really enjoyed reading this book from the point of view of Alex who is visually impaired and needs a guide dog. At first I thought I couldn’t like the sections done from the perspective of Chris, who is Alex’s guide dog but upon reading them I found some parts from Chris’ view point interesting too. I found the book thought provoking and I am sure some people will find the language used in it and some of the books perceptions to be controversial. This book takes place in a time that could well be coming to Britain soon. The government are making budget cuts to benefits and help they provide disabled people. Rather like we see, in our present day, people are dying and committing suicide rather than being made to feel a burden on society. There are also those elements of society who like to apportion blame for the “state of the country and its finances” on those less fortunate or with disabilities. In this book there are various incidents throughout where certain characters are verbally and physically abusive to the characters who have disabilities.

The government are putting money into extending a local facility called Grassybanks. The attitude of those in power is to find the cheapest way to take care of those that are costing them money. There is a group of Doctors and Professors that are running various schemes and building new hospital type equipment such as chiller beds and a machine called the resomator. In fact there is somewhat of a competition going on for who can "take care of the problem" the quickest.
The tables are turned at one point in the book where a movement calling themselves Boudicca try to show those in charge and working at Grassybanks what they are doing and how they would feel being treat the way they are doing with disabled people. I don't want to reveal much more as that would mean giving away spoilers. 


I adored all the aspects of the character of the guide dog Chris. He is all serious when working, and in his harness and feels both responsible and protective of Alex. I thought the descriptions of the “off harness” times when Chris is obsessed about chasing a ball just like any other dog. There’s also the inevitable part when Chris is being cared for by a friend of Alex who has a baby. The baby is being fed and dropping food on the floor and though Chris knows he shouldn’t, he can’t seem to help himself from licking up the food.

My immediate thoughts upon finishing reading this book were that I found it interesting, thought provoking, as well as totally believable. Today's society isnt that far away from having chilling beds and resomator......who knows they may already exist somewhere.

I could seriously identify both with being a carer and also with having disabilities. The fight to be heard, get the diagnosis and the end up begging for help that is supposed to be readily available but you cannot seem to get access too no matter how much you beg, plead, cry, shout or scream for it! I have also been left with an uneasy feeling that this government is steering the country and it's people towards this type of society.

Friday, 11 January 2019

REVIEW - A LIGHT IN THE DESERT BY ANNE MONTGOMERY

Title: A Light In The Desert
Author: Anne Montgomery
Genre:  Fiction
Publisher: Treehouse Publishing/Amphorae Publishing
Release Date: 6th November 2018

BLURB from Goodreads
A Light in the Desert traces the story of a lonely pregnant teenager, a Vietnam veteran and former Special Forces sniper who, as he descends into the throes of mental illness, latches onto the girl, and a group of Pentecostal zealots – the Children of Light – who have been waiting over thirty years in the Arizona desert for Armageddon. The Amtrak Sunset Limited, a passenger train en route to Los Angeles, is derailed in their midst’s, a deadly act of sabotage. Their lives are thrown into turmoil when local and state police, FBI investigators, and a horde of reporters make camp by the twisted wreckage of the Sunset Limited. As the search for the saboteurs continues, the authorities find more questions than answers. The girl mysteriously vanishes, the assassin struggles to maintain his sanity, and a child is about to be born in the wilderness.


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
The author actually reached out to me via email asking if I would like to review this book as I had read and really loved her previous book The Scent Of The Rain. 

The cover is a dark blue night sky with stars and also feature cactus representing the desert mention in the book title and talked about within the book. I would say the book falls into the general fiction genre.

There's a lot going on in this book with I would say four different characters on their own journeys. There's Jason Ramm a Vietnam veteran suffering alone with post traumatic stress disorder. He has worked as some sort of assassin and has lots of false documents, identities and access to a large amount if cash. 

There's Kelly, whose Irish father Bryan Kelly thought it amusing to give his daughter the name Kelly, so she is Kelly Kelly. Kelly has had a sheltered life, not going to school and kept at home due to her having Moebius syndrome which is a rare neurological disorder characterized by weakness or paralysis (palsy) of multiple cranial nerves, most often the 6th (abducens) and 7th (facial) nerves. Other cranial nerves are sometimes affected. The disorder is present at birth (congenital). When her father committed suicide and her mother met a new man Eduardo, and took his surname Garcia she insisted Kelly do the same. Eduardo takes advantage of Kelly and she ends up pregnant. Miranda, Kelly's mum is embarrassed and wants her pregnant daughter out of the way for the birth. Miranda cannot share Eduardo with her daughter or her daughters baby. 

The Children of Light, a religious cult, play a major part in the book too. They refer to each other as "Elect" and then their names such as Elect Peter and Elect Sun. The Children of Light seem harmless enough in the book and just want to help Jason Ramm and Kelly Garcia. In fact when Miranda wants Kelly out of her home the Children of Light take her in.

There seem to be a lot of "issues" going on in such a small place. The book kind of introduces you to the central characters of Kelly, Jason, Billy and the Children of Light. The book was an interesting read but at times felt like four different stories being told. The factors that bring the characters together are the Children of Light and a rail"accident". I did like the book, though I feel it felt disjointed in places and that there was too much going on and felt a bit muddled. After the rail accident there is the introduction of the characters of the media and some police officers too. 

I found the pace of the book slow and if I am honest had I not read the authors other book I am not sure if I would have stuck at it. I did stop reading this one for a couple of nights and then decided to give it one last chance and became curious as to what was going to happen to the characters as the book delved into their individual back stories. In my reading notes and Goodreads notes I have actually put "Not sure about this one. It feels like it is jumping about to different characters too much. Hopefully it will improve as I read more of it". I felt like some of the individual character back stories were rushed. 

My final thoughts about the book were that it is a bit of a mixture of tales all mish mashed together. I honestly don't really know what to make of it. I read it and it was okay it just didn't feel as polished and finished as The Scent Of The Rain was.

Thursday, 3 January 2019

REVIEW - KILLING FROST - AFTER THE SHIFT BY GRACE HAMILTON

Title: Killing Frost
Series: After The Shift
Author: Grace Hamilton
Genre: Sci-Fi, Post Apocalyptic
Release Date: 13th September 2018

BLURB from Goodreads
In the dawn of a new Ice Age, families everywhere are taking to the road to escape the frigid landscape—but you can’t outrun the cold. 

No one could have predicted the terrifying impact of human interference in the Arctic. Shifts in the Earth's crust have led to catastrophe and now the North Pole is located in the mid-Atlantic, making much of the eastern United States an unlivable polar hellscape. 

Nathan Tolley is a talented mechanic who has watched his business dry up due to gas shortages following the drastic tectonic shifts. His wife Cyndi has diligently prepped food and supplies, but it’s not enough to get them through a never-ending winter. With an asthmatic young son and a new baby on the way, they’ll have to find a safe place they can call home or risk freezing to death in this harsh new world. 

When an old friend of Nathan’s tells him that Detroit has become a paradise, with greenhouses full of food and plenty of solar energy for everyone, it sounds like the perfect place to escape. But with dangerous conditions and roving gangs, getting there seems like an impossible dream. It also seems like their only choice. 

This novel contains violence, profanity, referenced sexual content, referenced sexual violence and referenced substance abuse.


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
Having read and thoroughly enjoying Freezing Point the first book in the After the Shift series I couldn’t wait to read more. It was not a case of if I should read this one it was more of a when can I squeeze it in! I initially downloaded this one thinking I would read it once completing another book I was reading but wow this one had a strong pull and I ended up putting down/pausing what was my current read on the kindle and diving straight into this one!

The cover fits the description in the book of the masonic building that Stryker has described as being a safe and thriving place to live. All is most certainly not how Stryker has described it. It turns out that Nathans friend has changed a lot since he last saw him and it isn’t for the better! The surroundings are stark and to be honest I think that Nathan, Cyndi and their travel companions they picked up on the way are worse off than they were to begin with! This book cover alone would make me want to pick it up from a book store shelf to learn more about it.

The genres I have seen listed for this book are Post-Apocalyptic, Sci-Fi & Dystopian, which I agree with. I should point out once again there is some "violent" content meaning this book should (in my opinion) be categorised as General Fiction and an 18+ book, however I do think that most older teens/mature teens will probably have seen much more violence scenes on TV then there is described in the book. Killing Frost has more detailed injuries and more violent action and betrayal than Freezing Point had. I would also add Climate Fiction to the genre list as the book
Is set in a perpetual winter.

At the beginning of the book there’s a kind of summary or a look back at how far the characters have travelled and what they went through to get to where they are in Killing Frost. I always like books to have a bit of a recap at the beginning if they are part of a series. It doesn’t need to be in great detail just a little about the major events of the prior book to jog your memory, though I have to admit I had remembered all the necessary details about Freezing Point as I began reading Killing Frost.

As in Freezing Point Cyndi’s prepping skills are still well sought after and end up having to be used as a bargaining tool in Killing Frost. Cyndi has already given birth to her baby, Brandon and he is a few months old when this book starts. The main reason Cyndi & Nathan do not immediately leave Detroit is that there are medics and medical supplies available as Brandon is a sickly baby and Tony still battles with his asthma. Sadly these medical services and supplies are not as freely available as Stryker had described. Initially the travellers cannot understand why Stryker has so blatantly lied about life in Detroit. As always Cyndi, Nathan, etc literally keep their heads down and get on with the situation they are presented with. They are soon planning to move on from Detroit as soon as they can. They have ended up in an increasingly dangerous place to live in.

In Freezing Point Syd feels like she has avoided her past and the guy she never wants to see again. . . . .but soon realises that is not the case. Her past is Danny, the leader of a cruel gang who want females simply to breed with to continue humanity. Though Syd is still really reluctant to reveal exactly what Danny did to her, she finally opens up to Nathan.

If you thought Freezing Point was action packed then Killing Frost is even more so! I have noticed with other book series that the second book isn’t always as good as the first but wow this one is even better than first book. I’m seriously looking forward to more from this series.

There are new friendships, love, loss, betrayal and plenty of sacrifice in Killing Frost. I think that Nathan and some of the others in their travelling family have to quickly toughen up and use all the skills and treasured items to barter and deal with a lot more unscrupulous people in Detroit. Then just when all seems loss, help arrives in an unlikely form.

Killing Frost also see’s Nathan face impossible decisions and awkward, life and death situations. There are many times he could just give up but Nathan isn’t like that and always thinks back to what his father would say to him. “Family first” becomes his motto and mantra that he attempts to live by. However, when friends he and Cyndi have made along their travels become more like family and are in danger how can possibly choose who to save and who to let go?
.
I immediately took a dislike to Stryker in Freezing Point and I think you’ll agree once you have read the book, he sure deserves to be a hated character! I must admit I did get suckered in at one point and begin to feel sympathy for his character. . . but, ..well,… without spoilers I will say he turns out bad. . .really bad.

I grew to love Rose, the leader of Trash Town where almost anything can be bartered for what you want or need. I adored the easy, camaraderie and flirting that was never going to go anywhere between her and Nathan.

I still adored the characters of Nathan & Cyndi, always happy to trade skills and prepping information with anyone that wishes to do so. One character in particular hands over a very valuable item that will be in demand as the world tries to build itself back up again.

My immediate thoughts upon finishing Killing Frost were No! Oh no! How could you Grace? . . .Mmm a little cryptic of me I know but I think a lot of readers will be shocked.


After everything this group has been through already, I did not see that ending coming at all! The ultimate sacrifice. . .wow! But did the right one make the ultimate sacrifice? I suppose we will find out in book three in January 2019 in Black Ice. I hope we get to re-visit or catch up somehow with some of the characters that chose to stay in Detroit. The other final thought Killing Frost left me with was Is anywhere safe now?

Thursday, 27 December 2018

REVIEW - THE NIGHT ROAD - SECOND CITY SERIES BY KATIE FRENCH

A brand new Breeders Universe Story 
that will keep you up reading past your bedtime. 
Title: The Night Road
Series: Breeders Universe
Author: Katie French
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi, Post Apocalyptic, Dystopian
Release Date: 6th December 2018

BLURB from Goodreads
Five generations after Riley and Clay first set foot on Shiprock, the community is thriving. Liberated from the Breeders, the new society is free to live and love how they chose.
Eighteen-year-old Meg is Shiprock’s apprentice gunslinger and wise-cracking security guard, keeping the people safe as she patrols the stony cliffs. She can hit a target at fifty paces with her eyes closed, and yet, she’s never ventured outside the sheer cliffs of her home. It isn’t safe out there. Marauders still roam, snatching up unsuspecting victims.
Then a plague hits their peaceful city. Her sister, and only living family, falls ill.
People will die if a cure isn’t found.
Meg ventures out to find renowned doctor Fulton Tally and a cure to save her sister and the town.
But untold peril awaits. Will Meg’s training prove enough to survive the night road?
PURCHASE LINKS
Amazon US
Amazon UK

REVIEW
As I have read and totally loved the Breeders series and its fantastic characters and though I thought the series came to a great end, I still felt like I wanted to read even more stories set in the same era and world of the Breeders. As the introduction explains The Night Road is the first book in the Second City series which is set in the Breeders universe a few decades on.

So I was really looking forward to reading more from the same universe but then I had to wonder if it could possibly live up the the Breeders series? Would the characters be as believable and likable as Riley and Clay? How much will the world have changed? What will the new challenges be?

So of course after thinking about all those questions I knew I had to read it!

The cover has a post apocalyptic feel to it with the broken down buildings in the background. From reading the blurb I would say the female on the cover is Meg who is a gunslinger. The cover certainly makes me think that women are still being treat "normally" and are still "kick butt women" like Riley!

As the book is set in the same universe as the Breeders and after reading the book I would say it falls into the Sci-Fi, Post Apocalyptic, and Dystopian genres. It also has suspense, plenty of action and some betrayal too.

As the blurb says this book is set decades into the future and is set in the settlement called Shiprock that was formed at the end of the Breeders Series. The "outside" still isn't safe and consequently Shiprock has its own security measure and gunslingers to protect it. In fact the book begins with Meg being an apprentice gunslinger and is on night duty which is usually quiet and boring! So when Meg spots a male trying to scale the steep rock sides to sneak into their settlement she is kind of excited. Meg knows if the guy doesn't fall to his death that there is very little trouble he could cause in Shiprock. There are actions in place to deal with those that try to sneak in. In fact there is no reason to sneak in as if you approach the front gate you can be asked to be allowed in. The guns and ammo for the gunslingers that protect Shiprock and those that still go on supply runs is supplied by Herrick, Guns & Ammo. 

Shiprock was once run by a man called Barrage and it was he and his men that made the impenetrable fortress. When Barrage died around 60 years ago, it was one of Megs ancestors that took over to create a free city. The present Mayor of Shiprock is Trax. There is very little crime or wrong doing in Shiprock. However if someone does commit a crime, become drunk and disorderly or break a rule then they can spend time in the "cooler" or have their food rations reduced. The fact life is co good in comparison to what is "outside" means most people behave. The only infractions are usually kids fooling around. The city at Shiprock has grown from just a few dozen citizens to having around two hundred people. There is a school, nurses for an infirmary that has been created, as well as a hunting team, a farming team, a security team and a maintenance team etc. The young residents attend the school until the age of 11, and then they take a job so that they are contributing to the city in exchange for food rations.

I really don't want to give away spoilers so forgive me for being more vague now rather than continuing in great detail. Meg and this man end up in a fight and the man stabs her. So Meg is in the infirmary recuperating when the first cases of a new flu like illness are brought in. Meg is immediately hustled out in an attempt to prevent her catching the illness. 

As well as guarding the borders of Shiprock the highly trained gunslingers are the ones that go out on scouting missions and retrieve supplies. Meg aspires to being a fully qualified gunslinger. Kace who is married to Megs sister Shannon has taught Meg how to shoot and fight. Kace and Shannon are both gleaners meaning they go "outside" looking for supplies that may be needed back at Shiprock. There is still lots of danger around during all scouting missions and it is during one of these missions that Meg's sister Shannon comes back with the symptoms of the new flu like illness Meg decides she needs to go out in search for medicines to help her sister. 

The rest of the book covers how Meg talks her way into being the one sent out for medical supplies. There aren't very many volunteers to go "outside" to search for medicines that are a scarce luxury in the world as it is now. It is revealed that there is someone in existence who maybe able to help. Of course Meg immediately plans to go looking for this person who could help her sister. 

The rest of the book tells how Meg sets off with someone whom she presumes she can trust with plenty of supplies and a great vehicle for the terrain she needs to travel. Soon she finds herself alone, with no vehicle, or supplies and just a letter of introduction to give to the person who could possibly save her sister. 

One of my most favourite characters in the book is Meg who reminds me so much of Riley with her "anything a man can do a woman can do" ("and probably do it better!") attitude. Meg is also impetuous, and to begin with thinks she is infallible. Meg soon realises that things in the "outside" are still very similar to what her ancestors experienced, but she has the motivation that if she doesn't find help and supplies her sister may die.  

I also liked the character of Trax, I really want to know more about his ancestory and his history. Why doesn't he go by his real name Henry? What is he trying to hide? And will the letter he wrote and gave to Meg convince his friend to come to the aid of those at Shiprock? Trax is best friends with Meg's sister Shannon and the Mayor of Shiprock.

There are a couple of characters I enjoyed "hating" too, but I won't reveal those as I don't want to influence what you think of them as to begin with their bad sides are not revealed!

I really enjoyed this book, I loved trying to work out who the various characters in The Night Road were descendants from. I have wrote down what I think and who I think is related to whom! I'll be interested in finding out what other readers of both series think as well as the familial connections are hopefully revealed as the series develops. Or maybe Katie will do some family trees for her breeder fans!  

So to finish up my final thoughts are that I thought that the Breeders series was an amazing series and I think that this series called the Second City that is set in the same dangerous universe could potentially be just as fantastic! Definitely looking forward to more, the Second City Series is firmly on my "Must Read" list!!