Wednesday 23 January 2019


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?


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


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.


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


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.


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?