Tag: dystopia

Blog Tour Review: The Warden – Jon Richter

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s blog tour review of The Warden by Jon Richter, organised by Blackthorn Book Tours. This is the second blog tour post I’ve shared with Blackthorn, and it also happens to be the same author that I’m featuring today!

When I received the invite to read and review The Warden as part of this tour, it was a no-brainer decision! I really enjoyed reading Auxiliary: London 2039, also by Jon Richter, and I loved the sound of The Warden. Whilst it has similar themes to Auxiliary (on the technological side anyway), it’s a completely different narrative and character set. So, I don’t think you don’t have to have read any books by him previously to give this one a go based on my experience.

There are a few topics in the book that some readers may not be comfortable with reading. These are listed below so you can decide whether you’re interested in the book and also on here in my thoughts. I really hope that they don’t put you off however, because it is a fantastic book. I’m not one to shy away and I’m glad that the case, because this book was a pleasure to read!

 

The Warden – Jon Richter

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Print length: 312

Suitable for young adults? This is an adult book but suitable for mature teenagers 16-18

Trigger warnings: Covid references; homicide with some graphic violence; references to medical experimentation on humans; swearing; brief animal cruelty (goldfish left to die); references to suicide and mental illness

Amazon Rating: 4.5 stars

Purchase link: http://mybook.to/theWardenJonRichter

 

Goodreads – The Warden

The year is 2024, and the residents of the Tower, a virus-proof apartment building, live in a state of permanent lockdown. The building is controlled by a state-of-the-art AI named James, who keeps the residents safe but incarcerated. Behind bricked-up front doors, their every need is serviced; they are pampered but remain prisoners.

This suits Eugene just fine. Ravaged by the traumas of his past, the agoraphobic ex-detective has no intention of ever setting foot outside again. But when he finds the Tower’s building manager brutally murdered, his investigator’s instincts won’t allow him to ignore the vicious crime.

What Eugene finds beyond the comfort of his apartment’s walls will turn his sheltered existence upside down. To unravel the Tower’s mysteries, he must confront James… and James takes his role as the Warden very, very seriously.

 

Praise for The Warden

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I wasn’t sure I wanted to read a book set during a pandemic – but I’m so glad I did. One of my top reads of 2021 – it grabbed me from the start and didn’t let go till the fantastic ending. Part psychological thriller, part horror story, part crime novel – and there’s even a touch of romance – all brought together by superb writing. Amazon review

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Wow, I loved this book! Set in the year 2024, with flashbacks to 2020, it shows an alternative reality to the Covid situation we’re currently living through. The virus has become even more virulent, and people are shut inside their homes, terrified to go out. Amazon review

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Massive 5 stars. Jon Richter is an author I admire – I loved his Rabbit Hole, and it was my number one book for 2020. This one is definitely in the running for being number one in 2021! It is set in Covid times, with some remarkably likeable characters who prove to be anything but… Amazon Review

My Thoughts…

I love the spin of the world and our current circumstances featured in the novel. We are all too familiar with the pandemic at this point. A number of us have had to make changes in our lives and embrace new technologies to help us through it. In this futuristic novel, Covid has advanced even further than our current circumstances. It is highly contagious and to prevent spread, people are sealing themselves inside their homes. The residents of The Tower are fortunate in that they are looked after by James, a highly intelligent AI system that delivers their daily needs, provides all the entertainment they can want and more besides. What could go wrong?

Well, there’s a question…

The thing that makes this narrative so chilling is that it has a stark resemblance to our recent circumstances. The fact that this could be our lives in the not too distant future is scary and all-too-real. We don’t need to imagine what it is like to have to isolate or stay at home. We’ve done that; The only difference is that events in the book a far more extreme than we have had to experience (thankfully!)

If you like science-fiction then this book has aspects for you as well! Alongside the current narrative in 2024, there are flashbacks to the creation of the AI, James, stemming from the beginning of the pandemic. I liked these snippets from the past as they build on the current storyline, but also they have interesting aspects in terms of The creation of the technology and how it has evolved in the few years between timelines. As someone who has read a lot more in the way of science fiction of late, this appeals to me as well.

I love books that combine different genres, and The Warden certainly does that! I enjoyed how the psychological thriller and science-fiction elements came together. They are both well-loved genres on my reading list and to find a book that melded the two together almost seamlessly was perfect. There is a good balance of both to appeal to readers of each genre; but, if like me you enjoyed both then you should love this book as much as I did!

The Warden was everything I hoped it would be. The writing style is effortless to read and the story flows nicely. Changing between the two timelines was clear and effortless to read. I also enjoyed how different chapters were written from the perspective of different characters. It adds a new dimension to any narrative and it’s one of my favourite elements of books of this kind. Each narrative voice is distinct and even if each chapter weren’t clearly labelled with whose perspective it was from, you could easily tell from the style.

All in all, The Warden was a really enjoyable read. With short chapters and a page count of just over 300 pages, it’s a novel that is great for a wide audience… especially those who enjoy their novels on the darker side…

About Jon Richter

Jon Richter writes genre-hopping dark fiction, including his three gripping crime thrillers, Deadly Burial, Never Rest and Rabbit Hole, his cyberpunk noir thriller Auxiliary: London 2039 and his new techno-thriller The Warden, as well as two collections of short horror fiction.

 Jon lives in London and is a self-confessed nerd who loves books, films and video games – basically any way to tell a great story!  He writes whenever he can, and hopes to bring you many more sinister tales in the future.  He also co-hosts the Dark Natter podcast, a fortnightly dissection of the world’s greatest works of dark fiction, available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcast fix.

If you want to chat to him about any of this, you can find him on Twitter @RichterWrites or Instagram @jonrichterwrites.  His website haunts the internet at www.jon-richter.com, and you can find his books available on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/2OXXRVP.

 

Book Review: Steelheart – Brandon Sanderson

It’s been a little while since I shared a book review with you all. So, today’s post is to share my thoughts on Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson.

I am a huge fan, and I really wanted to try this first book of The Reckoners series. To date, I haven’t found a book of Sanderson‘s I don’t like. Maintaining a record like that is a challenge and a very big expectation to live up to. But Steelheart did not disappoint!

 

Steelheart – Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads – Steelheart

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his will.

Nobody fights the Epics…nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart — the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning — and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

 

My Thoughts…

When I picked up Steelheart I was safe in the knowledge that I was going to enjoy this book. Not only is Brandon Sanderson becoming one of my favourite authors, but it’s also a genre that I go to again and again! Where fantasy is normally filled with classic tropes and repetitive storylines, I don’t find this at all with Brandon Sanderson‘s writing. It has always amazed me how varied his different narratives and series are. He has so many of them and yet manages to keep them all unique in their own way. They all have similarities in that some form of magic is involved, but the similarities end there!

I enjoyed the narrative of Steelheart as the book is written from the perspective of an underground organisation plotting and killing Epics. Brandon Sanderson builds this epic world over which his ‘superheroes’ (turned overlords) preside, but we get to see the gritty, dark side of things. The world is not perfect with this power. Those who wield it are corrupted. The Reckoners, trying to stop them, hide in the shadows… the dark underbelly of cities. There is something about an author who builds such a fantastic world, to then base the story out of the ‘worst’ parts of it and pull it off.

The Reckoners are the key to the story and as a group, they have a great dynamic. I really enjoyed each individual character and personally, I loved their geekiness. The technology they’ve been able to build with next to no resources is phenomenal and their determination is something else entirely. Who else would think to take on the equivalent of a superhero and win? These guys… and boy, do they do it with style!

I really enjoyed the ending of this book. I wasn’t sure how the book was going to be wrapped up, and I was pleasantly surprised by the ending. It was action-packed, very cleverly done and I don’t think I could’ve asked for any better! And the best bit is, it’s not even over yet! With additional books in the series, there is plenty of scope to take this further and I can guarantee you that I will be picking these up! Equally, I think you could read Steelheart as a standalone if you really wanted to. But why would you want to when it’s just this good?!

Have you read Steelheart, or does my review make you want to consider reading it? Let me know in the comments!

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Audiobook Review: Thunderhead – Neal Shusterman

Hi everyone and welcome to today’s audiobook review of Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman. When I looked back to the date I listened to this audiobook I was amazed that it was seven months ago! I finished Thunderhead in December last year, which really goes to show that I need to get a wriggle on and catch up with my reviews!

If you are new to the series or want to check out my thoughts of the first book (audiobook), you can find my review of Scythe using this link. I remember writing this review at the same time as listening to Thunderhead as it served as a nice reminder of events before that made writing my review easier. As yet I haven’t started listening to The Toll, but I suspect I will be soon since it has been a while!

 

Thunderhead – Neal Shusterman

Goodreads – Thunderhead

Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes—not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now—“Scythe Lucifer”—a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames.

Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realizing she cannot do this alone—or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead—the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline?

 

My Thoughts…

You would expect that the lives of Citra and Rowan couldn’t be turned more on their head since being apprenticed to the Scythedom. Yet, that was just the beginning of a revolutionary shake-up not seen before in the world. Citra, a newly ordained Scythe, has the help of Scythe Curie to navigate the turbulent waters of unrest from the inside. Rowan, however, has gone rogue and taken matters into his own hands. Both have the same goal; to revolutionise the Scythedom be weeding out corruption and those that would abuse the power granted by their higher calling.

As a huge fan of dystopian fiction I enjoyed delving back into this series. The setting of the novel is interesting and the complex relationship between the Scythedom and the Thunderhead has a significant role. The Thunderhead, as an intelligent sentient supercomputer (for want of a description) observes the growing conflict between Scythes and can calculate the likely odds of the future. Strictly speaking, the Thunderhead is not permitted to talk to or assist Scythes in their duty. And yet, when Citra is deadish the Thunderhead exploits a loophole to communicate with her. For the Thunderhead to feel like it has to break its own rules, it doesn’t bode well…

I absolutely hate discussions about politics in real life, but I really enjoy the complexities of it in novels. Political divides are abundant in this second instalment of the series. The lines have been drawn for a large conflict. Although a dystopian novel, the ultimate subject matter rooted in this conflict is death. It’s something easy for us to understand has real meaning outside of the world created in the novels.

The ‘old guard’ Scythes believe that their duty is sacred. Their business must be conducted with the utmost respect and dignity to those chosen to die (for natural death has been conquered). Even those chosen are carefully selected based on historic death rates by age, ethnicity, manner of death etc. ‘New order’ Sycthes want to push the boundaries – be permitted to conduct their business en-masse, using a variety of weapons that aren’t designed to keep the business clean/painless etc. It’s brutality, and as a reader I found myself taking the side of the ‘old guard’ very quickly.

The characters are as large as life as in The Scythe, and with a few surprises and new faces the narrative of Thunderhead is still fresh. Some of my favourite parts of the book are the musings of the Thunderhead. As an all-seeing-all-knowing being, it’s a great way of getting a neutral perspective on events whilst also exploring the idea of a society run by what is basically a ridiculously smart (and scarily human-like) computer.

I can’t wait to see how events pan out in The Toll. The ending of Thunderhead is so unexpected and dramatic! It’s quite a cliffhanger, it has to be said. The events of Thunderhead far exceeded my expectations of what might happen, so all speculation for The Toll is thrown out of the window. I’ll just have to start listening to it to find out!

 

 

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Shelf Control – 10/07/2020

Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

In today’s post, I am featuring yet another classic novel that I really want to read. I know for a fact that other classes in my year at school studied this book, and I was always curious about it and why each class had different material.

Shall we check out today’s featured book?

 

Lord of the Flies – William Golding

Goodreads – Lord of the Flies

At the dawn of the next world war, a plane crashes on an uncharted island, stranding a group of schoolboys. At first, with no adult supervision, their freedom is something to celebrate; this far from civilization the boys can do anything they want. Anything. They attempt to forge their own society, failing, however, in the face of terror, sin and evil. And as order collapses, as strange howls echo in the night, as terror begins its reign, the hope of adventure seems as far from reality as the hope of being rescued. Labeled a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, even a vision of the apocalypse, Lord of the Flies is perhaps our most memorable novel about “the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart.”

 

My Thoughts…

I think Lord of the Flies will be a really interesting read. In just about everything there are rules, expectations of how to conduct yourself and behave. It’s drilled into us from childhood – from being polite and using your manners to society as a whole, there are a lot of conventions. Take that all away though, and what would happen?

Although I know the book was studied I don’t actually know it that well. I have no idea of the story or how events play out (although I can guess from the synopsis, not too well). It’s a relatively short read at just over 180 pages, so quite approachable. It also has good reviews from a number of my friends on Goodreads, so I’m pretty confident I’ll enjoy it!

Have you read Lord of the Flies? Would you recommend it? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Sunday Summary 24th May 2020

Hey guys – it’s time for another bookish update from me! Welcome to today’s Sunday Summary post. I hope you are all having a lovely weekend?

After my house move, I definitely feel like I am getting back to a sense of normal – both in terms of living and blogging schedule/reading. I know things here have been a little on the light side of content, but unfortunately, that’s the way it has had to be! Over the next few months, I’ll be juggling my free time between studying for a work-related qualification, making home improvements and my hobbies. I’m obviously going to do the best I can and I’ll be keeping up with blogging. It’s just not going to have 100% of my focus for a little while. I’m not going to be bored, to say the least!

I did actually make an effort with Wednesday’s post by writing a review. It’s been a good few weeks since one of those went live! This week’s review was for a horror/thriller novel called Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky. In Friday’s Shelf Control post I shared a classic novel on my TBR that I’m looking forward to reading in future.

 

Books Read

As of last week’s Sunday Summary post I was 40% through Vox by Christina Dalcher. I picked up where I left off and I read it in a couple of nights before bed this week. I absolutely loved it! It’s a really easy read and the plotline drew me right in. Given that I was looking for something lighter and easier to read to ease myself back in, I made the right choice with this book. It’s just what I wanted and needed!

Before picking up Vox I had debated using this month to complete my re-read of A Game of Thrones. I started this over a year ago and now I have just the second part of A Dance with Dragons to read. I wasn’t feeling up to such a mammoth task, but after reading Vox and getting my reading mojo back, I felt ready to make a start on it. I’m already on page 95 and even though I’m still only a few chapters in, I feel at home with it already.

 

Books Discovered

 

I haven’t added any books to the TBR for a good few weeks now, but I’m definitely making up for it this week!
The first addition to the TBR this week actually arrived for me on Monday. Just before moving house, I requested a review copy of The City of a Thousand Faces from Orion. There was a bit of a mix-up and this accidentally went to my old address, but my former neighbour was really kind and let me know it had turned up there so I could pick it up! A huge thanks to Becky for that – you’re a star!

That actually becomes relevant for the second book I have added to the TBR as well. When having a catch up with her after picking up the book she described a book someone had told her about that she liked the sound of. They couldn’t remember the name or author and so she asked my help in identifying it. I had no joy, but Becky messaged me a few days later with the name of the book – Dear Rosie Hughes. I had a look myself and it sounded really good, and it’s free on Kindle… so I downloaded a copy!

The third and final addition to the TBR is a crime novel with a bit of a science-fiction twist that caught my eye. Access Point focuses on the murder of a student, and her roommate who takes matters into her own hands when the investigation draws a blank.

It’s fair to say I’ve made up for my recent dry spell of adding books to the TBR, wouldn’t you agree?

 

Coming Up…

I really like the Top Ten Tuesday topic coming up this week – opening lines. I’ve shared quite a few in my First Lines Friday posts by now, but I’m going to go through my list of books read and find my favourite, concise book openings and share why they captured my attention or why I like them so much!

Typically I’d be sharing a First Lines Friday post with you this week, but since the Top Ten Tuesday post is going to be the same topic, I’m going to do something different this week. I enjoyed taking the time to commit my thoughts to a review this week, so on Friday, I will share a review of a historical fiction audiobook I listened to earlier this year. Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris is another harrowing account of the atrocities committed during the Second World War. If you read or listened to her other book, The Tattooist of Auschwitz, then I absolutely recommend this one too! More on that on Friday.

That’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary post. Enjoy your long weekend and I’ll catch up with you again same time next week!

 

 

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Blog Tour Review: iRemember – S. V. Bekvalac

Happy weekend readers! I hope you are having a good one? Since we are all in the middle of lockdown, what better way to spend your time than curled up with a good book? That’s how I am spending mine anyway.

If you are looking for book recommendations, then I hope I can help you here. Today I am taking part in the blog tour for iRemember by S. V. Bekvalac and sharing my thoughts on her book. iRemember is perfect for science fiction and/or dystopian fiction fans… so if that’s your cup of tea please read on!

Quickly before I jump in, huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour and to the author for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

 

iRemember – S. V. Kekvalac

Goodreads – iRemember

The city of iRemember shimmers in the desert haze, watched over by the Bureau, a government agency that maintains control through memory surveillance and little pink pills made from the narcotic plant Tranquelle.

It looks like an oasis under its geodesic dome, but the city is under siege. ‘Off-Gridder’ insurgents are fighting to be forgotten.

Bureau Inspector Icara Swansong is on a mission to neutralise the threat. Her investigation leads her into iRemember’s secret underbelly, where she finds herself a fugitive from the very system she had vowed to protect. She has to learn new rules: trust no one. Behind every purple Tranquelle stalk lurk double-agents.

A sci-fi noir with a psychedelic twist, iRemember explores the power the past holds over us and the fragility of everything: what is, what once was, and what will be.

 

Purchase Links –   Amazon UK     Amazon US

For a limited time, iRemember will be available for only 99p.

 

My Thoughts…

iRemember has all the elements expected of dystopian fiction novels – the means to subdue a population and then control it. iRemember was created to allow citizens to protect their memories. The human mind is far from perfect, so why risk losing your precious moments to time and degradation or forgetfulness when you can upload them? That was the idea anyway… and citizens signed up in the thousands.

Helena Frome is the head of the totalitarian government now governing the City. iRemember has become her means of surveillance. Citizens own thoughts and memories can betray them if picked up by those monitoring the data being uploaded to iRemember. Icara Swansong is an agent of the Bureau working for Helena Frome, to rid the world of corruption, but she is fighting a losing battle. Beneath the calming Tranquelle fumes, a dark side of the city simmers away, longing to be forgotten and will do whatever they can to achieve it.

As a huge fan of both science fiction and dystopian novels, iRemember was a great read for me! Set in a futuristic world, the Bureaucrats have all the latest, fancy technology and software. Primitive versions of tech and traditional weapons we know today are relegated to the city’s forgotten underbelly, the Sub Urbs. Despite being more advanced, the technology used in this futuristic universe is very similar to some of the more sophisticated technology we have now and is therefore familiar.

The narrative of iRemember is so twisty that you don’t know who to trust at any given moment. Who is in whose pocket and undercover influence shape the story in an exciting way. Character relations are complex and you’ll find yourself second-guessing people’s motives constantly! I certainly did! There is a vast array in the characters within the novel too. I really enjoyed Lucian’s personal history and cynicism, especially paired with Icara’s overzealous optimism.

The overall story is written really well and draws the reader into the complex web. I really enjoyed reading iRemember and the combination of genres it encompasses. Nothing is ever as it seems and the narrative keeps you on your toes throughout! iRemember is a twisty tale full of deceit, lies and corruption… and cover-ups!

 

Author Bio

SV Bekvalac was born in 1987 in Croatia, in what was then Yugoslavia, but grew up in London.

She studied German and Russian at Oxford, and went to film school in Prague. After almost becoming a film-maker and then an academic, researching cities and films, she found herself writing fiction about cities instead. She started off with screenplays and short stories, but they got longer and longer. iRemember is her first novel.

She has lived in cities all over Europe. Now she lives in London, or in one of her own imaginary cities.

 

Social Media Links Twitter @sandra_bek @EyeAndLightning

Book Review: The Testaments – Margaret Atwood

It’s rare that I pre-order books ahead of release, but The Testaments by Margaret Atwood was an exception. I’m glad I did too! Not only was I eagerly awaiting it for months, but it’s unique in that it has been written thirty years after its predecessor, The Handmaid’s Tale.

I was super excited to get my hands on this in paperback the day of release. I even joked that day that I had subconsciously dressed in the colours of the cover! When I went to go and get my copy though, my day got better. Waterstones stores had one signed copy each, and one person who pre-ordered won the competition to that copy. I wouldn’t count myself as lucky, but I do that day. I won the signed edition!

 

The Testaments – Margaret Atwood

Goodreads – The Testaments

When the van door slammed on Offred’s future at the end of The Handmaid’s Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead for her–freedom, prison or death.

With The Testaments, the wait is over.

Margaret Atwood’s sequel picks up the story more than fifteen years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead.

In this brilliant sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, acclaimed author Margaret Atwood answers the questions that have tantalized readers for decades.

“Dear Readers: Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in.” –Margaret Atwood

 

My Thoughts…

I’m glad Margaret Atwood didn’t try to emulate The Handmaid’s Tale too much. Trying to write a book in the same setting thirty years on just wouldn’t have been the same. It would have been disappointing. Furthermore, I really enjoyed exploring how Gilead’s society had progressed since the first book!

Having multiple narrators struck me as unusual when I first picked up the book – especially since The Handmaid’s Tale gives us just one perspective. Having read the book though, it works. It’s necessary too. There is no one person with all the information needed to tell of Gilead’s future. Each narrative voice is clear and identifiable from each other. Having each different perspective breaks up the story nicely. The length of each chapter is perfect to include all the action needed, but short enough to keep luring you in with “just one more”.

I feel sorry for this book in a way as it has a lot of poor reviews. Why? Because it isn’t a regurgitation of The Handmaid’s Tale… that it’s different. I feel like these people really don’t appreciate the sentiment behind the novel at all. You all have missed the point! Is The Testaments a necessary follow-up to The Handmaid’s Tale? Perhaps not. It is fitting though. Society in 1985 was a lot different than it is today. We have far more freedom to be who we are without repression from others. Society isn’t static so why expect Gilead to be in a time warp? The fact is, the changes in Gilead and personal perspectives mirror the kind of changes in our own society.

I think The Testaments is the kind of book you are either going to love or hate. To be expected, I suppose. High profile books are often hit or miss on how well people rate them. Normally I am disappointed, but not with this one! I hope you readers love it as much as I did.

 

 

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Blog Tour Review: Unborn – Rachel McLean

Good morning everyone and welcome to today’s review of Unborn by Rachel McLean. Unborn is a dystopian fiction novel with elements of a legal thriller. The premise – abortion has been criminalised. Women are denied the right to terminate a pregnancy, even for medical reasons.

As soon as I received the invite to the tour from Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources I knew I had to take part. I find myself in a position where I think I can offer a unique perspective to the book and the topic.

Abortion laws have been a hot topic locally in the last few years. The current abortion law in the UK was passed in 1968, but as a crown dependency, the Isle of Man has its own Government and laws. As such, our Government didn’t follow suit until the 24th May 2019. Yes, you read that right – it was passed less than a year ago.

The idea of abortion being criminalised may seem ludicrous to many, but still, for some, it is a horrific reality. Unborn challenges some of these difficult scenarios.

 

Unborn – Rachel McLean

Goodreads – Unborn

She killed her unborn child. The punishment will fit the crime.

America, 2026.
Feminism has been defeated.
Equality is a memory.
And abortion has been criminalized.

Three women find themselves on the wrong side of the law.

Kate, carrying the child of a sexual predator.
Grace, whose baby will be born with a fatal deformity.
And Cindee: abused, abandoned and pregnant.

Can these three very different women come together to fight an oppressive system and win their freedom?

Find out by reading Unborn, a chilling dystopia combined with a gripping legal thriller.

 

Purchase Links –   Amazon UK      Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

The most standout element of Unborn, for me, is the quality of writing and the tact in dealing with potentially upsetting situations. Unborn has multiple female characters that have become pregnant in less-than-ideal circumstances. They live in a world where they are not permitted to freely choose the fate of their lives once they conceive. Some of the ideas in the book about how to go about abortion in a country where it is illegal are, shockingly, options that some have to take. I would argue that the book is informative in the struggle some women had historically or do have to go through. I suppose it makes you appreciate having the freedom of choice to terminate, even if you don’t want to take it.

As a woman who has lived through the debate and could one day be affected by the issues touched on in the book (although I sincerely hope not!), I found Unborn to be very emotive. The main characters are very easy to relate to and my heart went out to all of them. I was invested in these women and them trying to fight a system that degrades them to nothing but biology. Although they are from different backgrounds, they are fundamentally the same – women denied the right to make a decision that is best for either them or even for their baby.

Unborn is an easy read, but it prompts you to think. The narrative puts you into the shoes of each of the women but brings you into contact with people on both sides of the argument (pro-life vs pro-choice). I didn’t detect any kind of underlying bias from the author. The characters tell the story and the arguments themselves. Regardless of your opinion, you will find someone you can relate to. It encourages you to weigh up both sides of the argument and think about what your views are on this hotly debated subject. Thanks to the recent debate and reform here, it’s a topic that has been at the forefront of attention. It’s something that I have thought about at length myself. I think it’s something that all women consider at some point.

 

Author Bio

My name’s Rachel McLean and I write thrillers that make you think.

What does that mean?

In short, I want my stories to make your pulse race and your brain tick.

Do you often get through a thriller at breakneck pace but are left with little sense of what the book was really about? Do you sometimes read literary fiction but just wish something would damn well happen?

My books aim to fill that gap.

If you’d like to know more about my books and receive extra bonus content, please join my book club at rachelmclean.com/bookclub. I’ll send you a weekly email with news about my writing research and progress, stories and bonus content for each book. And I’ll let you know when my books are on offer.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rachelmcwrites

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rachelmcleanwrites/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachelmcwrites/

 

Sunday Summary – 23rd February 2020

Good evening everyone and welcome to this week’s Sunday Summary post! I hope you have had a good week, just as I have? I had a pretty good week and a great weekend with family, as my sister came to visit. We’ve enjoyed a nice long weekend together, but it’s back to reality tomorrow!

Before we get into the goings-on of next week, let’s recap this one! I shared a couple of book reviews this week: The War Within by Stephen Donaldson was shared on Tuesday and The Girl from the Workhouse by Lynn Johnson on Friday.

The War Within was an ARC I received from Gollancz last year in exchange for a review. It was good to catch up with this so I am up-to-date with the series! My second review of the week was shared in conjunction with the tour Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. If you haven’t read either of my reviews yet, I hope you find the links to them useful.

 

Books Read

I picked up where I left off in last week’s Sunday Summary post in reading Unborn by Rachel McLean. By the end of least week I had already read over half of this, so it didn’t take too long to finish the book. I really enjoy dystopian fiction and the subject matter is one that I feel pretty passionate about. If you want to know my thoughts on this book, my tour post is being published tomorrow (24th February).

My next (and current) read is one I am picking up for my Beat the Backlist challenge! City of Stairs has been on my reading list since January 2015, so just over 5 years. Mad, right? It’s definitely overdue reading and I am really enjoying it so far! I’m hoping to have time to pick this up again tonight before bed, but it really depends how quickly I get all my blogging done this evening. I can’t see this taking me long to read.

In addition to the above, I have also been listening to more of Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. My usual car share buddy has been skiing this week, so I’ve effectively been able to listen to twice as much of the audiobook as I normally do. I’m about a third of the way through now and I’m excited about the schemes being cooked up by Kaz and the crew.

 

Books Discovered

I decided to spend some of my birthday vouchers this week and I had fun doing it too! I had a good look around my local Waterstones. Finally, I decided to use them to buy the rest of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series. I already had the first three books, so I treated myself to the other four to complete the set. I was always going to read them, so why not?

The remainder of the vouchers will go towards a paperback set of Jay Kristoff’s Nevernight Chronicles once the third book of the trilogy, Darkdawn, is out in June.

 

Coming Up…

Next week’s blogging schedule starts early. Tomorrow, in fact. MY first post of the week is my review of Rachel McLean’s Unborn for the current blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources. I have lots to say about both the book and the topic it covers, so I hope you can tune in for that!

On Wednesday I’ll be sharing another book review. I have quite a few to get through! I’ve decided the next book on the list is The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. I read this book in August last year and it’s unlike anything I have read before. I enjoyed the format of the book, as well as the mystery.

On Friday I’ll be back to my regular feature posts. I took last week off to take part in a blog tour, but this week I’m back with a Shelf Control post. This week’s post is about a book written by an author whose books I have read before. I gather from reviews that it has a slightly different vibe to those I have picked up previously. That said, I really enjoy the genre and his writing style, so I don’t think it’ll matter one little bit!

As always, I’ll be rounding off the week with a Sunday Summary post and we can talk about my bookish adventures all over again!

Have you read any of the books discussed in my post? What have you been reading this week? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 16th February 2020

It’s Sunday evening, so it can only be time for this week’s Sunday Summary post!

I feel really good about this week’s progress. Not only have I shared two book reviews with you, but I have also done well on reading during the week too! My first post of the week was a review of Fires of the Dead by Jed Herne. I really enjoyed this short story courtesy of the author and BookSirens. If you want to check out my full review, here’s a handy link.

My second review of the week was shared on Wednesday. I shared my review of this sinister thriller novel as part of the blog tour that has been running with Blackthorn Book Tours. It was my first time working with them and I really enjoyed reading The Mentor!

On Friday, I published a First Lines Friday post loosely themed on Valentine’s Day. It features a very funny opening about a relationship (of sorts). It’s the funniest take I could find on the subject of romance; I don’t read romance so in my defence, I didn’t have much to work with. I’ve had some great comments on it though, so I think it’s been well received!

Something else happened this week, which I haven’t really shouted about – I celebrated my birthday! I got some really lovely presents that I wanted, as well as gift cards that I can put to good use! I also got some book vouchers, so I’m sure you can imagine how happy this gal is right now!

 

Books Read

As promised in last week’s Sunday Summary post, I did finish The Mentor after my post went live. I didn’t have too long left and I was desperate to find out how this ended!

My main read of the week has been The Girl from the Workhouse by Lynn Johnson. I did actually start this last Saturday (I needed a wee break from the intensity of The Mentor) but hadn’t gotten too far into it. I finished this yesterday and it’s a lovely, albeit slightly sad story. The reason I picked this up is becuase of its historical fiction element, but I ended up enjoying it for many more reasons than that!

I also started reading another book yesterday – Unborn by Rachel McLean. I’ve managed to read a lot of this considering I’ve only just picked it up too! I’m currently at 58% and hoping to finish this in the next day or so.

And now, onto the audiobooks! I finished listening to Darkdawn on Monday night and can I say, wow! This series is absolutely fantastic. I’ve already decided I am going to be spending some of my book vouchers on buying these in paperback. I have to wait until June for Darkdawn to come out in paperback. I think I am going to wait and see if I can get them as a set. That way I can be sure they all match!

I couldn’t listen to another audiobook straight away, so I didn’t start listening to Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo until the next day. I haven’t long finished listening to Six of Crows so I’ve managed to get into it really quickly!

 

Books Discovered

Since the TBR has topped 200 books, I’m trying not to add anything really. It’ll get out of control otherwise.

That said, my colleague Brita did make a recommendation for me this week. She was more recommending the TV series that has been made based on the book, but you know me. I am going to watch the series on catch-up if I can, but I have also added this epic book to the TBR.

 

Coming Up…

Next week is also going to be one where I share a couple of reviews. I have a few waiting in the wings to be written, so I’ll be starting the week by taking on one of these. My first review of the week is for a book that I was kindly sent by Gollancz last year. The War Within is the second book of a series and is set on a grander scale to its predecessor, Seventh Decimate. I hope you can check out my review!

On Friday I’ll be taking a break from my usual posts to take part in the blog tour for The Girl from the Workhouse by Lynn Johnson. I finished reading this family saga yesterday and can’t wait to share my thoughts with you all about it!

Last, but by no means least, I’ll be sharing next week’s Sunday Summary at the usual time.

That’s all from me today folks! What have you been reading this week? Have you read any of the books on my list?

 

 

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