Friday, February 21, 2020

Unborn by Rachel McLean REVIEW

by Rachel McLean


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:


This book contains abortion, miscarriage and sexual assault.

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

This is the story of three women who become pregnant in a time when abortion has been made illegal. Each pregnancy is different, each woman is different, and each situation is different. Unborn takes us through each women's journey to see what really happened and how they will pay for their crimes.

First of all, wow... just wow. This book is incredible. The writing is amazing. The story is unforgettable as it pulls at your heart strings and forces your mind to think what if. In this timeline McLean has created, abortion is illegal. There is never a reason where it is tolerated or accepted. Any woman who is caught having an abortion, or even trying, is sent to prison where their eggs are harvested and given to those who are having fertility trouble. Women are not even allowed to seek fertility treatment without being accompanied by a man. In this world, it can be beyond scary just to be a woman.

While this book is just a made up world, it is truly terrifying. The emotions McLean is able to evoke through her amazing writing are just wow. I really don't know how else to describe this book. It's dark and most definitely not for everyone, but it's crazy good.

While the subject matter will be an issue for some, Unborn is dark, wonderful and will truly get you thinking. I will absolutely be reading more of this author in the future.

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 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.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Killing Them With Kindness by Andy Paulcroft REVIEW

Killing Them With Kindness
by Andy Paulcraft


Deirdre Cossette is the self appointed carer for the elderly on The Avenue and all of her friends have stories to tell. Margery, whose comfortable life was destroyed by a knock on the door. Stan, who made a mistake as a young footballer which cost him his friends and his self-respect. Marina, whose slim and stylish figure hides a terrible secret from the summer of Live Aid. And, Oliver and Archie, who have survived everything from post war homophobia to a family tragedy – and they have done it together. Deirdre believes that everyone should have a choice. If they want to live on a diet of cakes, drink the alcoholic equivalent of a small hydrotherapy pool, or take on a toy boy lover in spite of a dodgy heart, Deirdre believes it is their right to do so. If they remember her in their wills afterwards, that’s not her fault, is it? However, not everyone agrees with her. When disgruntled relatives from the present meet up with disgruntled ghosts from her past, Deirdre discovers the cost of being kind.

Purchase Links:

UK –
US -


I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Deirdre Cossette is a great friend to have. She is always there when a neighbor needs her and she has another desirable quality, she believes that everyone has a right to choose how they live and how they die. Deirdre befriends those who have little or no family, bad habits and an inheritance to leave. In Killing Them With Kindness we follow Deirdre and five of her elderly friends to find out what exactly Deirdre's motives are. Is she really as nice as she seems? Or is something a little more sinister and a lot more selfish happening right under everyone's nose?

The writing in this book was just amazing. I found myself getting lost within seconds of picking it up. There are 5 separate backstories in this novel all told at different parts of the story, plus you have the current timeline being told as well. The story seamlessly flips back and forth between the past and present and between characters. While it sounds like it has great potential to be confusing, it's really not. The writing style is just wonderful and every flashback and detail of this book is exactly where it needed to be to really shape the story and the characters.

The character detail is absolutely incredible. I feel like I know all 6 main characters on such a personal level without the information dump that seems to accompany that level of detail. These characters were dimensional and well thought out. I absolutely loved the entire cast.

Another thing I loved about this book was how funny it is. Paulcroft has this way with his writing where even if the situation is serious, he can find a way to bring humor in without ruining the moment. When there is no sad moment, the book is just hilarious. There's so much that this book has to offer its reader and I'm really glad I read it.

There are two places you don't want to be alone in this life. One is in bed, and the other is on a see-saw.

A good book takes you on an adventure and it makes you feel a range of emotions on the journey. That is exactly what this book did. I laughed, I cried and at times I just sat in awe. This is one of my favorite books of the year so far.

Author Bio

Andy Paulcroft grew up in Weston-super-Mare, and his love of books started when he borrowed his sister’s copy of Five Run Away Together and exaggerated a minor illness in order to finish reading it. He has since worked as a chef in France, Switzerland, Corsica and the North Highlands of Scotland before settling as a catering manager at a boarding school in Dorset. After many years of writing two to three chapters of a book before discarding it, he finally published his first novel Postcards From Another Life – in December 2017. The wonderful feeling of completing a novel was only surpassed by receiving a positive reaction from people who had read it. He retired from catering and recently published his second novel Killing Them With Kindness. He is now working on his third book.

Social Media Links:

@Andy.Paulcroft (Facebook Page)


Giveaway – Win a signed copy of Killing Them With Kindness (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Trust In You by Julia Firlotte PROMO BLITZ

Trust In You
by Julia Firlotte


From the moment she met him, Ella Peterson had questions. As always, though, she’s too shy to ask.

Older and sexy as hell, mysterious Adam Brook soon sweeps sheltered Ella off her feet; but is he as perfect as he appears to be, or is there more to him than he’s telling her?

Ella’s world has already turned upside down after moving from England to rural Kansas. She and her sisters were hoping for a more secure future, but instead find that life can be tough when jobs are scarce and the stakes often higher than anticipated.

When events spiral out of Ella’s control, she learns the person she needs to rely on most is herself and her instincts on who to trust in the future.

It’s just that her instincts are screaming at her to trust Adam; it’s what he tells her that makes that a problem.

Pre-order Links:

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US -

Join Julia Firlotte’s mailing list and receive the first three chapters of Trust in You:

Author Bio

Julia is an avid reader of all things romance, and she has read hundreds of books across a variety of sub-genres and began writing her own novels in 2018. Four books are currently in various stages of editing and completion, the first of which is finished and will be on sale in spring 2020.

Julia has always been passionate about languages and fiction and has a degree in Languages And Trade and an A-Level in English Literature. When Julia is not writing or editing her own novels, she usually has her nose in books by other authors and is otherwise kept busy caring for her family, going to the gym and carrying out her day job. Julia lives on the South Coast of England with her two children, husband and cats.

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Sunday, February 16, 2020

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi REVIEW

by Akwaeke Emezi



An extraordinary debut novel, Freshwater explores the surreal experience of having a fractured self. It centers around a young Nigerian woman, Ada, who develops separate selves within her as a result of being born "with one foot on the other side." Unsettling, heartwrenching, dark, and powerful, Freshwater is a sharp evocation of a rare way of experiencing the world, one that illuminates how we all construct our identities.

Ada begins her life in the south of Nigeria as a troubled baby and a source of deep concern to her family. Her parents, Saul and Saachi, successfully prayed her into existence, but as she grows into a volatile and splintered child, it becomes clear that something went terribly awry. When Ada comes of age and moves to America for college, the group of selves within her grows in power and agency. A traumatic assault leads to a crystallization of her alternate selves: Asα»₯ghara and Saint Vincent. As Ada fades into the background of her own mind and these selves--now protective, now hedonistic--move into control, Ada's life spirals in a dark and dangerous direction.

Narrated by the various selves within Ada and based in the author's realities, Freshwater dazzles with ferocious energy and serpentine grace, heralding the arrival of a fierce new literary voice.


Ada was born with "one foot on the other side". This causes her to create separate selves; she calls these selves Asα»₯ghara and Saint Vincent. When Ada goes to America for college she is assaulted. This causes one of her selves to become the main one to lead her life. Ada is basically just existing in her own mind. Ada's life becomes darker and darker until she is only a frame of herself and must decide if she wants her life back or if she wants to give in to her other "selves" and let the darkness have her.

Akwaeke Emezi's debut novel Freshwater is unlike anything I've ever read before. The story is so dark and the writing is so beautiful. Told from perspective of Ada and her "selves" this enchanting tale takes us into a dreamlike world where reality feels as though it is blurred into a dream. Reading this book is like being transported into some other world. I went into this blind with zero expectations and now even after reading the synopsis I don't think it would have prepared me for the story inside.

It's not easy to persuade a human to end their life- they're very attached to it, even when it makes them miserable, and Ada was no different.

Frshwater is definitely not for everyone. However, I absolutely recommend at least giving it a try. It's brilliant, creative and worth every minute it takes to read it. 

Purchase Links:

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Blue Skies Over Berlin by John Steinberg PROMO

Blue Skies Over Berlin
by John Steinberg


A young German woman, thinking she can escape her memories of wartime Berlin, moves to London in 1954 under her new name of Charlotte Brown. The offer of a prestigious job at the National Gallery leads her to believe that she can establish a new life in a city itself emerging from the ruins of war.

With her new identity, Charlotte hopes she has left Eva Schlessinger far behind . . . but when her job brings her into contact with a ruthless set of art dealers with dubious wartime connections, she fears they can see behind her facade. Priceless masterpieces start appearing at auction, stolen from murdered Jewish families by the Nazis, and she herself is implicated. At this point, Charlotte makes a solemn promise – one that will take her a lifetime to fulfil.

Blue Skies Over Berlin is a novel about secrets and guilt in an uncertain time, balanced by friendship and enduring love - and ultimately the need to make amends for just standing by.

Author Bio

Born and raised in North London in 1952, John still lives in the city with his wife and three children. Privately educated, John left school after ‘A’ levels and completed a business diploma in what is now the University of Westminster, before entering banking.

He started training as an accountant but did not complete the course, choosing a position in his family’s furniture manufacturing business instead. John started his own mergers and acquisitions business in 1987, which he ran for almost 20 years before quitting to become a full time writer in 2007.

John has co-written and produced comedies for the stage and has created a series of books for children. “Previously, I had only been interested in comedy and finally started to write down the things I said or thought of. That led me to co-write and produce a play, In the Balance, and then W for Banker – which appeared at the New End Theatre, Hampstead. It was then I decided to quit the world of business in favour of writing full-time, and move toward more serious subjects. My first novel has taken two years to write and is the first in a series of books I am calling the ‘Steinberg Stories’.”

Social Media Links:

Monday, February 10, 2020

Empire's Hostage by Marian L. Thorpe REVIEW

Empire's Hostage
by Marian L. Thorpe


I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from the author via Rachel's Random Resources. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.


For fifteen months, the Empire and the northern people have been at war, but a truce is finally at hand. As part of this treaty, Lena, now a Guardswoman on the Wall, is asked to stand as a hostage, to go north to live and learn among the people of Linrathe. But not everyone there will welcome her. As Lena learns more of the history of both her land and the north, a new threat emerges, one that will test her loyalty to its limits, and in the end, demand a price she could not have envisioned.


I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Empire's Hostage is the second book in the Empire's Legacy trilogy. In this book we continue on with Lena's story. We join Lena while the war between the Empire and Linrathe is still occurring. The emperor soon requests a favor of Lena, go to Linrathe as a hostage so they can have a temporary truce while the armies on both sides rebuild their supplies and recover. Lena agrees, but she never expected what being a hostage would mean. Now with the truce signed and witnessed Lena must find a way to survive being a hostage or forfeit not only her life, but the life of a second hostage as well.

Lena, in my opinion, is still an awesome main character. I absolutely love her. In Empire's Daughter we see Lena as this tough girl who was able to just slip into a new role of fighter and cohort-leader. She appears to be strong and unbreakable taking every challenge thrown at her. Now she is faced with an even greater challenge that could have even greater consequences. Through everything she faces, we see Lena's vulnerable side start to break through. We see her emotional growth in a way that makes her more human and less hero. Basically in the beginning we see strength and triumph, now we're seeing vulnerability and fear and personally, I can not wait to continue on with Lena's journey in the third book Empire's Exile. 

The only thing I could think of that would be off-putting in this book, is how certain things are too conveniently worked out and wrapped up. While I didn't find this to take away from the story it is something to expect if that is something that bothers you.  

There is something so special about Lena's story. It's one that you can just simply get lost in. The pace isn't slow but it isn't heart racing either. It is a beautiful combination of calm and excitement that just keeps your attention until the story is done. If there is one thing Thorpe is able is do, it's grab you from chapter one and hold on tightly until she has finished telling the story. Marian Thorpe is one of my new favorite authors and I am beyond excited to get back to Lena's story in Empire's Exile

Purchase Link:
Author Bio

Not content with two careers as a research scientist and an educator, Marian L Thorpe decided to go back to what she’d always wanted to do and be a writer. Author of the alternative world medieval trilogy Empire’s Legacy, Marian also has published short stories and poetry. Her life-long interest in Roman and post-Roman European history informs her novels, while her avocations of landscape archaeology and birding provide background to her settings.

Social Media Links:


Giveaway to Win a Paperback copy of Empire’s Legacy, the complete trilogy (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Beartown by Fredrik Backman REVIEW

by Fredrik Backman
narrated by Marin Ireland



The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove returns with a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream—and the price required to make it come true.

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.


Beartown is a small community that simply wants their place on the map. What better way to do that than to have a junior ice hockey team win the nationals? The boys on the junior ice hockey team face the pressure of getting their small town noticed. They are looked at as future heroes; the ones who can save the town. Of course, these boys are just teenagers so they play hard and they party hard. One night one of the players takes his partying to a new level and causes severe damage to a local girl. When she won't be quiet and just let it go away the whole town has a decision to make on what is important to them.

I knew very little about this book going in. I knew it was a book set in Scandinavia, and that it was about hockey. I had no interest in it AT ALL however it fit a prompt I needed to fill to complete a challenge so I listened to it on audio book. 

This book started off really slow for me, actually it was almost a DNF. However, once the main focus of the story came into play I found myself not wanting to put it down. In this book, a young girl named Maya is raped. We follow her story during the aftermath of the rape. It isn't easy to read, it's actually quite heartbreaking. The writing is emotional, powerful and griping; you can't help but feel Maya's heartache. It broke my heart and made me angry. It's emotional, hard to read, anger inducing and so so powerful. Besides rape, there are other difficult topics discussed in this book as well. I won't get into too much detail but I think Beartown really sheds light on the difficulties that come with being from a small town. 

Beartown is an emotional and intense journey that won't be for everybody, but I do recommend at least giving it a try. While I haven't had the chance to listen to the second book, Us Against You, I am hoping to get to it very soon.

Purchase Links:

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Insignificant Events In The Life Of A Cactus by Dusti Bowling REVIEW

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus
by Dusti Bowling
read by Karissa Vacker



Aven Green loves to tell people that she lost her arms in an alligator wrestling match, or a wildfire in Tanzania, but the truth is she was born without them. And when her parents take a job running Stagecoach Pass, a rundown western theme park in Arizona, Aven moves with them across the country knowing that she’ll have to answer the question over and over again.

Her new life takes an unexpected turn when she bonds with Connor, a classmate who also feels isolated because of his own disability, and they discover a room at Stagecoach Pass that holds bigger secrets than Aven ever could have imagined. It’s hard to solve a mystery, help a friend, and face your worst fears. But Aven’s about to discover she can do it all . . . even without arms.


Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus is the story of Aven Green, a young girl with no arms and lots of spunk. Aven has lots of friends, but then her family has to move for her parents work and she starts over in a new school. Being the new kid can be lonely, but when Aven finally finds a friend and the two start uncovering secrets the move may just be the best thing to ever happen to her. 

Aven's first friend at her new school is a boy with tourettes. Throughout this entire story we see the two of these friends navigate through their disabilities. I feel like it shows the struggles of both being born with no arms and having tourettes. We watch as they struggle through their individual hardships and find their own solutions. I feel like the representation was done very well. 

There is so much to love about this book. The writing is simple and wonderful. The story was so sweet and funny. I laughed so many times at Aven and her delightful personality. Aven is a great main character. She's fun, strong, determined, and just an absolute delight to follow. I was smiling from beginning to end. 

What first drew me into this book was the gorgeous cover. I saw it, loved it and had to read the story it contained. Thankfully, what I found was a story as beautiful as it's cover. It was so cute and so sweet it was hard not to just devour it. I listened to the audiobook read by Karissa Vacker and she did an amazing job. Currently, I'm waiting to get the second book, Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus, from the library. I will be listening to the audiobook for that one as well.

Purchase Links:

Monday, January 27, 2020

The Breaking by K.S. Marsden COVER REVEAL

The Breaking
(Northern Witch #3)
by K.S. Marsden


Mark thought being a witch would be easy, but it has ruined everything.

Now, he has to fight for his friends and the guy that he loves.

Which would be challenging enough, without school being a living nightmare; more demons than he can handle; and witches that have strayed from the light.









Pre-order Links:

Amazon US:
Amazon UK:
Amazon CAN:
Barnes & Noble:

Winter Trials (Northern Witch #1) is currently available for Free

Publication Date: March 20, 2020

Author Bio

Kelly S. Marsden grew up in Yorkshire, and there were two constants in her life - books and horses.
Graduating with an equine degree from Aberystwyth University, she has spent most of her life since trying to experience everything the horse world has to offer. She is currently settled into a Nutritionist role for a horse feed company in Doncaster, South Yorkshire.
She writes Fantasy stories part-time. Her first book, The Shadow Rises (Witch-Hunter #1), was published in January 2013, and she now has several successful series under her belt.

Social Media Links:

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Agricola's Bane by Nancy Jardine PROMO

Agricola's Bane
by Nancy Jardine


A.D. 84 Northern Roman Britain
Nith of Tarras helps Enya of Garrigill in the search for her kin, missing after the disastrous battle at Beinn na Ciche fought between the Caledonian warriors and the mighty Ancient Roman legions. Enya soon has a heartrending choice to make. Should she tread Vacomagi territory that’s swarming with Roman auxiliaries to find her brother? Or, should she head south in search of her cousin who has probably been enslaved by the Romans?
The Commander of the Britannic Legions and Governor of Britannia – General Gnaeus Iulius Agricola – is determined to claim more barbarian territory for the Roman Empire, indeed plans to invade the whole island, but finds not all decisions are his to make. It increasingly seems that the goddess, Fortuna, does not favour him.
The adventures of the Garrigill clan continue...

Purchase Link:


Giveaway to Win x1 signed paperback of Agricola’s Bane to one UK winner; X1 kindle copy worldwide

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The Cottage On Wildfire Lane COVER REVEAL

The Cottage On Wildfire Lane
by Liz Davies


Esther's life isn’t perfect (whose is?) – but she’s happy enough living in her little flat with her boyfriend, Josh.
But that’s about to change.

Bored out of her mind in work, she wishes that something, anything, would happen to liven her life up.

Unfortunately, her wish comes true when Josh calls her from the airport to tell her he’s going to work in a bar in Spain, and she’s not invited, Esther is devastated, and her unhappiness is compounded when she discovers she can actually view the bar via a webcam link and watch him chatting up other girls.

But when she inadvertently clicks on a link to another webcam which shows a pretty cottage and the rather hunky man who lives in it, her interest is piqued and she wishes she could get to know him.

Wishes don’t really come true, though – do they...?

Publication Date: February 14, 2020

Here we go...

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Pre-order links:

Author Bio:

Liz Davies writes feel-good, light-hearted stories with a hefty dose of romance, a smattering of humour, and a great deal of love.

She’s married to her best friend, has one grown-up daughter, and when she isn’t scribbling away in the notepad she carries with her everywhere (just in case inspiration strikes), you’ll find her searching for that perfect pair of shoes. She loves to cook but isn’t very good at it, and loves to eat - she’s much better at that! Liz also enjoys walking (preferably on the flat), cycling (also on the flat), and lots of sitting around in the garden on warm, sunny days.

She currently lives with her family in Wales, but would ideally love to buy a camper can and travel the world in it.

And there it is everyone! So tell me, did you like the cover? Does this seem like something you'd be interested in reading? Are cover reveals something you'd like to see more of? I wanna hear from you!

See you on the moon! xo

Monday, January 20, 2020

The Black Ditch by Simon J Lancaster Guest Post

The Black Ditch
by Simon J Lancaster
Guest Post

Hi everyone and thank you so much for stopping in. Today we have a guest post from Simon J Lancaster, author of The Black Ditch. I hope you enjoy it and don't forget to check him out on facebook.


LAURIE STERNE feels like he’s been cut adrift in space. His father has been shot dead, caught in the crossfire of a gangland war that has also claimed his boss’s life. Laurie is a refugee who lost his adoptive mum years before and doesn’t know where he was born, let alone who his birth parents were. But he’s not alone in the world: someone is trying to kill him.

This is London, 2050, a dumping ground for climate refugees and dissidents. Gangs rule, murder goes unpunished and the police make sure you can’t escape.

In his struggle to stay alive, he finds an ally: his former boss’s secret daughter.
But with the killer predicting his every move, is the man without a past being betrayed by the woman who seems to offer him a future?

Purchase Links:

Guest Post:


I DON’T know about you, but I like unexpected cheques in the post. Big ones. I like sunny days, smiles, laughter, and happiness for all. So why do I enjoy dystopian fiction? What is it about the dark that attracts this lover of the light? No question, it’s a puzzle.

The power of a good dystopia was born in on me when I was a teenager working in a small electronics factory. Radio One played on the shop floor constantly. One day I begged for the dial to be turned to Radio Four, which was serialising John Wyndham’s novel The Chrysalids, about a bunch of special kids battling for a better future in a post-apocalyptic world. My co-workers were resistant, but I persuaded them to do it just once. They were hooked. They tuned in every afternoon, careful not to miss an episode, and while it was on, you could hear a pin drop.

I was surprised by their reaction and it demanded an explanation.

In the hands of a storyteller of Wyndham’s skill, a tale of underdogs fighting oppression was always going to be alluring. But with that theme by no means confined to dystopian fiction, I suspected other things were at play.

One was that to journey every afternoon from a factory floor to a strange, future world was a release from the mundane. Like travelling to a foreign country.

Another was the more subtle truth that Wyndham, writing in the 1950s, was using future fiction to comment on his own times: on the threat of nuclear war, most obviously, but also on the perniciousness of stifling conformity.

When I was working on The Black Ditch, I was thinking more of action thrillers than Wyndham; all the same, The Chrysalids must have been in the back of my mind. My story is set in the London of 2050, a prison city, and my protagonist, Laurie Sterne, is very much the underdog. He has to battle authority to survive and track down his dad’s killer. His world is strange and perilous. Sea level rises are drowning the city to the point that London Bridge is washed away. But the main peril comes from people who will do any evil deed to survive.

Like David, the protagonist of The Chrysalids, Laurie has gifts. He can see elements of the future. He can see into the hearts of people.

And as much as Wyndham’s novel spoke of the discontents of the 1950s, so The Black Ditch relates to today.

The unwanted of its world are imprisoned, out of sight of the rest of the population who live free but in fear of them. Poverty-stricken Londoners fantasise of escaping to a better life but know they never will.

The middle name of Anna Lewis, the woman who has such an impact on Laurie, is Bluebird. Because bluebirds fly over the rainbow. Bluebird is an embarrassment of a name to Anna, but it speaks volumes about her parents’ yearning.

In a way, novelists can’t help but reflect their contemporary world; it’s all they know. They may create historical fiction or future fiction, but it’s always with reference to now.

In 2019, two best-selling writers, Robert Harris and John Lanchester, both published brilliant, dystopian future novels that serve as warnings about the present.

In Harris’s The Second Sleep, the apocalypse happened long ago, but the people are banned from knowing its cause; the theocratic government has outlawed historical and scientific truth.

In Lanchester’s The Wall, the apocalypse is recent and caused by climate change. The government has built a wall round the coast of the UK to prevent migrants getting in, and young people must work out a miserable military service guarding it.

Echoes of our own times sound loud and clear in the narratives of both stories.

They, as all the best future fictions, provide wild and exotic time machine rides back to the present. Like travelling into space to witness how precious our Earth is, these journeys show the traveller what our current world looks like from the perspective of another, imagined age.

But, of course, the time machines guarantee to return us to our own times, thrilled and entertained in a thought-provoking way.

Enjoy the ride!

Author Bio

Simon J Lancaster is the author of The Black Ditch, the first in the Laurie Sterne trilogy of dystopian future thrillers. Prior to writing novels he was a national newspaper journalist in London, as well as a music critic and private pilot. He has written short stories and plays and, after reading extensively about climate change, concluded that the fantasy gun-play of contemporary-set action novels would be the lived experience of our coming world.

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Friday, January 17, 2020

Tomorrow's Ancestors Books 1 & 2 Reviews

Tomorrow's Ancestors
Books 1 & 2
by AE Warren


I was given a free copy of these books in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed in these reviews are my own.

The Museum Of Second Chances


What happens when the future recaptures the past?

In a post-apocalyptic world the human race has evolved beyond us through genetic engineering – and we’ve been left behind to make amends for the damage inflicted on the earth.

The reversal of the extinction of long lost animals is key to our reparations and all of these are housed in the Museum of Evolution – along with another species of human that hasn’t existed for 30,000 years.

Elise belongs to the lowest order of humans, the Sapiens. She lives in an ostracised community of ecological houses, built to blend with an idyllic landscape. Deciding to widen her stagnating life in the manufacturing base, she takes a chance opportunity to become a Companion to a previously extinct species of human.

But Elise has secrets of her own that threaten to be exposed now that she is away from the safety of her home. And while living in the museum, Elise realises that little separates her from the other exhibits…


Elise is the lowest form of human, the Sapiens. So when she gets a job working at the Museum of Evolution she is thankful for the chance to bring in extra income for her family. While at the museum she meets a Neanderthal named Twenty-One who lives in the confines of a pod at the museum. He's on display just like all the prehistoric species brought back to life. The more Elise gets to know Twenty-One the more she wants to help him, but helping him could mean exposing her secret that could change her life forever.

This was quite an interesting piece of work. It didn't take long before I was caught up in this post-apocalyptic world. The story is well paced and consistent throughout the book making it easy to stay engaged. The world in which the story is told is well thought out and developed. The details given create a clear picture of this world without going overboard with an information dump.

The characters are well developed individuals and so easy to like. Elise is a great main character. She is well written, likable, smart and just overall well done. It was so easy to feel for these characters throughout certain situations in the book. I'm looking forward to continuing on their journey with them in Book 2 The Base of Reflections.

Purchase Link:

The Base Of Reflections



What happens when the future abandons the past?

Elise and her companions have made it to the safety of Uracil but at a price. Desperate to secure her family’s passage, she makes a deal with Uracil's Tri-Council. She’ll become their spy, jeopardising her own freedom in the process, in exchange for her family’s safe transfer. But first she has to help rescue the next Neanderthal, Twenty-Two.

Twenty-Two has never left the confines of the steel walls that keep her separated from the other exhibits. She has no contact with the outside world and no way of knowing why she has been abandoned. With diminishing deliveries of food and water, she has to start breaking the museum’s rules if she wants a second chance at living.

One belongs to the future and the other to the past, but both have to adapt—or neither will survive…


I really enjoyed this book, however I'm going to keep this review brief as it's the second novel in the Tomorrow's Ancestors series and I don't want to give too much away from either book.

In The Base Of Reflections we join Elise and her companions where The Museum Of Second Chances left off. The friends finally make it to Uracil safely and things are looking better. Elise makes a deal with the council to become their spy if they agree to house her family after they rescue them. Before rescuing her parents, Elise must travel to The Museum Of Evolution in .... where she must rescue Twenty-Two, the next Neanderthal.

What Elise and her companions don't know is that Twenty-Two has been wanting to escape and taking steps each night to make that possible.

The Base Of Reflections is very easy to get into, in fact, I found that by reading one book right after the over it felt more like reading a larger novel than two separate books. The story flows perfectly from one installment to the next.

The pace is great, it suits the storyline perfectly. I was completely engaged in this story from beginning to end.

Overall this was a win for me, however I strongly recommend reading the first book before this one so you can get the backstories of the characters and understand them better. I look forward to reading the third book when it comes out.

Purchase Link:

Author Bio

AE Warren lives in the UK. A not-so-covert nerd with mildly obsessive tendencies, she has happily wiled away an inordinate amount of time reading and watching sci-fi/ fantasy and gaming. She is interested in the ‘what ifs’.

The Museum of Second Chances is her first novel and she is currently writing the third book in the 'Tomorrow's Ancestors' series.

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Instagram: @amauthoring
Facebook: @amauthoring
Twitter: @amauthoring

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Million Eyes by C.R. Berry Spotlight

Million Eyes
by C.R. Berry


How do you fight an enemy who has a million eyes?

What if we’re living in an alternate timeline? What if the car crash that killed Princess Diana, the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower, and the shooting of King William II weren’t supposed to happen?

Ex-history teacher Gregory Ferro finds evidence that a cabal of time travellers is responsible for several key events in our history. These events all seem to hinge on a dry textbook published in 1995, referenced in a history book written in 1977 and mentioned in a letter to Edward III in 1348.

Ferro teams up with down-on-her-luck graduate Jennifer Larson to get to the truth and discover the relevance of a book that seems to defy the arrow of time. But the time travellers are watching closely. Soon the duo are targeted by assassins willing to rewrite history to bury them.

Million Eyes is a fast-paced conspiracy thriller about power, corruption and destiny.

Purchase Links:


Author Bio

C.R. Berry caught the writing bug at the tender age of four and has never recovered. His earliest stories were filled with witches, monsters, evil headteachers, Disney characters and the occasional Dalek. He realised pretty quickly that his favourite characters were usually the villains. He wonders if that’s what led him to become a criminal lawyer. It’s certainly why he’s taken to writing conspiracy thrillers, where the baddies are numerous and everywhere.

After a few years getting a more rounded view of human nature’s darker side, he quit lawyering and turned to writing full-time. He now works as a freelance copywriter and novelist and blogs about conspiracy theories, time travel and otherworldly weirdness.

He was shortlisted in the 2018 Grindstone Literary International Novel Competition and has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies, including Storgy, Dark Tales, Theme of Absence and Suspense Magazine. He was also shortlisted in the Aeon Award Contest, highly commended by Writers’ Forum, and won second prize in the inaugural To Hull and Back Humorous Short Story Competition.

He grew up in Farnborough, Hampshire, a town he says has as much character as a broccoli. He’s since moved to the “much more interesting and charming” Haslemere in Surrey.

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Unborn by Rachel McLean REVIEW

Unborn by Rachel McLean πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ‘ Synopsis: She killed her unborn child. The punishment will fit the crime. America, 2026...