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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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?
January passed by in a whirlwind – I can’t believe I am here sharing my next monthly TBR already! Aside from one DNF, January was a good month for me! I managed to read 7 books in their entirety, as well as finish an audiobook from last year! I’m hoping for an equally productive February. I have already started this month’s TBR, so fingers crossed!
What am I reading this month? I have a number of blog tours lined up, as well as a couple more books on the list that will contribute to my Beat the Backlist challenge.
A stolen life. A Faustian bargain. Prey becomes predator.
Azar Abed’s veiled memories of her childhood were too dark and traumatic to revive. Raised by the man who murdered her mother she moves through life numb and emotionally bankrupt. That is until her father goes one step too far. With the help of his business partner, Dr. Adrien Armond, her father implements a plan to steal her life to save his own. Their downfall? Her survival.
Her obsession to extract retribution leads her into a dark abyss of rage. Azar and her lover devise a plan to upend global economies but her need for vengeance compels her to take it one step further. Biological weapons of mass destruction are on her agenda and innocent bystanders become collateral damage. Would the few that see it coming have the resources to stop the plan already in motion.
One is the first book I have picked up this month… and with good reason! I’m taking part in theblog tour for this third instalment in the Path of Deception and Betrayal. On Saturday. Yep, it’s coming around quickly, although in fairness I’m making reasonable progress with it. I just read the previous book Two in a matter of days, so I’m sure I’ll have this read in no time!
I can’t wait to see how this particular series ends and how all the novels tie together!
Kyle Broder has achieved his lifelong dream and is an editor at a major publishing house.
When Kyle is contacted by his favorite college professor, William Lansing, Kyle couldn’t be happier.
Kyle has his mentor over for dinner to catch up and introduce him to his girlfriend, Jamie, and the three have a great time. When William mentions that he’s been writing a novel, Kyle is overjoyed. He would love to read the opus his mentor has toiled over.
Until the novel turns out to be not only horribly written, but the most depraved story Kyle has read.
After Kyle politely rejects the novel, William becomes obsessed, causing trouble between Kyle and Jamie, threatening Kyle’s career, and even his life. As Kyle delves into more of this psychopath’s work, it begins to resemble a cold case from his college town, when a girl went missing. William’s work is looking increasingly like a true crime confession.
Lee Matthew Goldberg’s The Mentor is a twisty, nail-biting thriller that explores how the love of words can lead to a deadly obsession with the fate of all those connected and hanging in the balance.
Doesn’t this thriller sound fantastic? Well, I think so and that’s what matters! I am also reading The Mentor as part of a blog tour this month. This particular tour is a first for me, as I haven’t toured with Blackthorn Book Tours before.
I’m looking forward to delving into this sinister-sounding novel and finding out just how well the novel lives up the synopsis! I’ll be sure to let you know.
Even in the darkest of times, she never gave up hope.
Staffordshire, 1911. Ginnie Jones’s childhood is spent in the shadow of the famous Potteries, living with her mother, father and older sister Mabel. But with Father’s eyesight failing, money is in short supply, and too often the family find their bellies aching with hunger. With no hope in sight, Ginnie is sent to Haddon Workhouse.
Separated from everything she has known, Ginnie has to grow up fast, earning her keep by looking after the other children with no families of their own. When she meets Clara and Sam, she hopes that she has made friends for life… until tragedy strikes, snatching away her newfound happiness.
Leaving Haddon three years later, Ginnie finds work as a mouldrunner at the Potteries, but never stops thinking about her friends in the workhouse – especially Sam, now a caring, handsome young man. When Sam and Ginnie are reunited, their bond is as strong as ever – until Sam is sent to fight in WW1. Faced with uncertainty, can Ginnie find the joy that she’s never had? Or will her heart be broken once again?
An emotional, uplifting and nostalgic family saga that will make you smile, while tugging on your heart-strings. Fans of Sheila Newbury, Kitty Neale and Sheila Riley will love this beautiful read.
I was drawn to signing up for the blog tour for this book as it is a completely new topic of historical fiction that I haven’t explored before. I am definitely diversifying more in what time periods I pick up (although I still have my favourites and I make no apology for it either). Books around the second World War tend to be my preference rather than the first, so it will make for an interesting change I hope!
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.
Their punishment will fit their crime.
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.
I hope my reasons for signing up to this blog tour are unusual. I imagine they will be. When I read the synopsis, I knew I had to read the book and share my thoughts on it as 1) I enjoy dystopian novels and legal thrillers and 2) I think I’ll have a unique perspective on the book.
Unborn is a dystopian novel that tackles the idea of a society that denies women the right to terminate a pregnancy. Abortion has been legal in the UK for over 50 years and around 45 in the US. What if I told you that where I live, abortion was made legal last year. The Isle of Man Abortion Reform Law only came into effect in May 2019 – prior to that, it was illegal. Yeah.
I’m sure you’ve already gathered I am going to have some things to say about that. You’ll have to wait for my review post for more.
The city of Bulikov once wielded the powers of the gods to conquer the world, enslaving and brutalizing millions — until its divine protectors were killed. Now, Bulikov’s history has been censored and erased, its citizens subjugated. But the surreal landscape of the city itself, forever altered by the thousands of miracles its guardians once worked upon it, stands as a haunting reminder of its former supremacy.
Into this broken city steps Shara Thivani. Officially, the unassuming young woman is just another junior diplomat sent by Bulikov’s oppressors. Unofficially, she is one of her country’s most accomplished spies, dispatched — along with her terrifying “secretary”, Sigrud — to solve a murder.
But as Shara pursues the killer, she starts to suspect that the beings who ruled this terrible place may not be as dead as they seem, and that Bulikov’s cruel reign may not yet be over.
A tale of vast conspiracies, dead gods, and buried histories, City of Stairs is at once a gripping spy novel and a stunningly original work of fantasy.
City of Stairs will (I hope) be the second book I read that will contribute to my Beat The Backlist challenge. I am trying to fit in at least two books a month that will go towards this challenge. Since I am trying to read 25 this year and I DNF’d one last month, I am going to have to squeeze a couple more in at some point though.
I really like the sound of City of Stairs – elements of it remind me a little of Brandon Sanderson’s Elantris. I like to go back to fantasy novels after reading some different things. It’s by far my favourite genre. I couldn’t read it all the time like I used to; it gets boring. I do like to go back to it regularly though. I added City of Stairs to the TBR in January 2015. Five years is too long to take to get around to a book…
‘Armageddon only happens once, you know. They don’t let you go around again until you get it right.’
People have been predicting the end of the world almost from its very beginning, so it’s only natural to be sceptical when a new date is set for Judgement Day. But what if, for once, the predictions are right, and the apocalypse really is due to arrive next Saturday, just after tea?
You could spend the time left drowning your sorrows, giving away all your possessions in preparation for the rapture, or laughing it off as (hopefully) just another hoax. Or you could just try to do something about it.
It’s a predicament that Aziraphale, a somewhat fussy angel, and Crowley, a fast-living demon now finds themselves in. They’ve been living amongst Earth’s mortals since The Beginning and, truth be told, have grown rather fond of the lifestyle and, in all honesty, are not actually looking forward to the coming Apocalypse.
And then there’s the small matter that someone appears to have misplaced the Antichrist…
I haven’t read a book by Terry Pratchett for months now! I love his humour and I have heard a lot of good things about this book! I’m going to be totally honest; I’m reading it because Terry Pratchett had a hand in it. I haven’t had the best experience with Neil Gaiman’s books in the past, but we’ll see how this combination works. I’m sure I’ll have plenty to say about it once I have read it! Do you think I should tag the authors in my review when it goes live?
A bit of a salty joke I know, but no author should be too big to think that getting tagged in reviews is beneath them. All publicity (especially free publicity) is good, right? For those that haven’t heard about it, there have been arguments on Twitter lately about the appropriateness of tagging authors in book reviews. One of these authors doesn’t want to be tagged in reviews. They obviously think they’re too good for it. The other is dead, so no prizes for guessing who I’m talking about!
That’s the list set for the month! I would love to get the chance to squeeze in another book if I can since I have set myself such a lofty reading challenge target. The beauty of it is that if I do get this far, I can pick up anything I want based on my mood! I do tend to be quite regimented in my book choice, but I do enjoy picking up something on a whim from time to time.