Book Review

Fighting Back (Battle Ground #4) – Rachel Churcher

I am sure by now you have all realised how much I am enjoying the Battle Ground series, and will know just how excited I am to be joining the blog tour for book four in the series. Many thanks to Rachel, and to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources, for inviting me to be a part of the tour, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

If you haven’t already read the first three books, you’re going to want to check them out before reading any further in this post because spoilers are inevitable. Search Rachel’s name on my blog to find my reviews on each of the previous books.

BLURB:

Bex Ellman and her friends are in hiding, sheltered by the resistance. With her family threatened and her friendships challenged, she’s looking for a way to fight back. Ketty Smith is in London, supporting a government she no longer trusts. With her support network crumbling, Ketty must decide who she is fighting for – and what she is willing risk to uncover the truth.

The Battle Ground series is set in a dystopian near-future UK, after Brexit and Scottish independence.

Fighting Back Cover

PURCHASE LINKS:

Taller Books

REVIEW:

Picking up where Darkest Hour finished, in Fighting Back, we find Bex and her friends in Scotland training under the OIE, and Ketty joining the Terrorism Committee alongside Bracken.

On the whole, Fighting Back is a much less action-packed book than the previous books in the series. With the resistance in relative safety in Scotland, and Ketty based in London, there is a lot more plotting and planning taking place, and this gives the reader the opportunity to really feel the emotions and understand the thought processes of each character. For me, this is a much more emotional book, and I found my heart breaking as Jake hits breaking point, and Ketty struggles without Jackson by her side. I even found myself feeling sorry for Bracken as he approaches rock bottom with his drinking.

Throughout the series, I have found myself questioning whose side I am on in the conflict. Should it be freedom fighter Bex, or Ketty, working for the seemingly corrupt governing forces? Although my head tells me it should be Bex who I want to see triumph, and obviously deep down I do want to see peace restored to the streets of the UK, I am finding more and more often that it is poor, broken Ketty who has my sympathies. Whilst Bex at times struck me as being a bit of a brat, my heart repeatedly went out to Ketty, as she comes to see that she is horribly out of her depth, and her reality comes crashing down around her.

I said right at the start of this series that nothing in the books feels outside the realms of possibility, and as we prepare to head to the polls to vote in what has to be the most uncertain general election in my voting life, this has never felt more true. I think this is one of the things that makes this series so great, and so incredibly thought-provoking.

As the situation in the UK reaches fever pitch, we are gearing up for what promises to be an incredible series finale – just who will, or indeed should, succeed when we reach the Victory Day? More on that in January!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Rachel Churcher Author photoRachel Churcher was born between the last manned moon landing, and the first orbital Space Shuttle mission. She remembers watching the launch of STS-1, and falling in love with space flight, at the age of five. She fell in love with science fiction shortly after that, and in her teens she discovered dystopian fiction. In an effort to find out what she wanted to do with her life, she collected degrees and other qualifications in Geography, Science Fiction Studies, Architectural Technology, Childminding, and Writing for Radio.

She has worked as an editor on national and in-house magazines; as an IT trainer; and as a freelance writer and artist. She has renovated several properties, and has plenty of horror stories to tell about dangerous electrics and nightmare plumbers. She enjoys reading, travelling, stargazing, and eating good food with good friends – but nothing makes her as happy as writing fiction.

Her first published short story appeared in an anthology in 2014, and the Battle Ground series is her first long-form work. Rachel lives in East Anglia, in a house with a large library and a conservatory full of house plants. She would love to live on Mars, but only if she’s allowed to bring her books.

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Book Review

The Child on Platform One – Gill Thompson

Today I am joining the blog tour for one of the most moving books I have read in a long time, The Child on Platform One by Gill Thompson. My thanks go to Gill, Headline, and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours, for inviting me to be a part of the tour and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

Inspired by the real-life escape of thousands of Jewish children from Nazi occupied Europe on the Kindertransport trains to London.

Prague 1939. Young mother Eva has a secret from her past. When the Nazis invade, Eva knows the only way to keep her daughter Miriam safe is to send her away – even if it means never seeing her again. But when Eva is taken to a concentration camp, her secret is at risk of being exposed.

In London, Pamela volunteers to help find places for the Jewish children arrived from Europe. Befriending one unclaimed little girl, Pamela brings her home. It is only when her young son enlists in the RAF that Pamela realises how easily her own world could come crashing down.

The Child on Platform 1 Cover

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

REVIEW:

It feels wrong to say that I enjoyed a book centred around the Nazi treatment of the Jewish community in Europe and the Kindertransport, but this is a truly wonderful book that touched my heart and reduced me to tears, both sad and happy, on more than one occasion.

I knew a little about Nicholas Winton and his work with the Kindertransport prior to reading this book, but in all honesty had never given much thought to how it affected the families involved. The Child on Platform One really brought home to me how heartbreaking a decision it must have been for the parents who sent their children away, and how terrifying it must have been for the children to be torn from their families and moved to a country with strange food and a language they didn’t understand. In Eva’s desperation to save her child, and Pamela’s longing to save as many as she could, Gill Thompson creates two amazingly strong female characters who are stuck in a terrible situation, but are determined not to be beaten down by it.

As the war and the story progress, Gill includes just enough factual information to create a sense of foreboding about what is to come, without detracting from humanity of the tale she is telling. From the experiments that Josef is asked to work on, to the living conditions and musical performances at Terezin, these little snippets of fact woven into the story only serve to add more heart to the tale.

The Child on Platform One is heart-breaking and heart-warming in equal measure. It is a book that everyone should read, even if historical fiction is not normally a genre you would try. We should never forget what happened, and in this deeply soul touching book, Gill Thompson is helping to ensure that we never do.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Gill_Thompson Author PicGill Thompson is an English lecturer who completed an MA in C reative Writing at Chichester University. Her debut novel, THE OCEANS BETWEEN US, was a No. 1 digital bestseller and has been highly acclaimed. She lives with her family in West Sussex and teaches English to college students.

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Make sure you pay a visit to the other blogs taking part on this tour for more information on this emotional book.

Child on Platform One BT Poster

 

Book Review

Murder in the Multiverse – R.E. McLean

It’s time for me to cross over to a parallel universe and join the blog tour for Murder in the Multiverse by R.E. McLean. Many thanks to the author, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources, for inviting me to take part in the tour, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

The Multiverse Investigations Unit – fighting crime across the Multiverse

Alex Strand is finding her way as the newest and most ginger member of the University of Berkeley Physics Faculty.

But when the murder of reclusive internet billionaire Claire Pope proves insoluble, she’s recruited to the top-secret Multiverse Investigations Unit.

Hidden in the parking lot of San Francisco Police HQ, the unit investigates murders by sending officers to parallel universes in which the victim is still alive – for now.

Alex needs to prove herself. With the help of the mysterious Sarita Jones, the bizarrely-bearded Sergeant Mike Long and Schrödinger the quantum cat, can she track down the murderer, prevent the same crime from happening in a parallel version of San Francisco, and get back before closing time?

MIU1 cover v2

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

REVIEW:

Murder in the Multiverse is very different to Rachel’s usual books, and I must admit that when I first picked it up to read, it was with a mix of trepidation and cautious optimism. I have loved everything I have read by Rachel, and I will admit to having some concerns as to how such a different style would work. Any fears I had though were soon set aside as I remembered what an incredibly talented writer Rachel is.

Murder in the Multiverse is a book that will appeal to people on so many levels, and if you are a fan of the Big Bang Theory, I would definitely recommend that you read it. There were lots of little touches that appealed to my inner science geek, not least the enigmatic Schrodinger. I have always wanted a cat called Schrodinger, although I would hope that if I did, he would prove a little more reliably present that Alex’s own mysterious moggy.

The book is action packed and full of tension, but also sprinkled with humour throughout, making it a light, fun read. The cast of oddballs who work at the MIU, and their interactions with each other, are so endearing that I hope this is a series that runs and runs, just so I can discover all their secrets.

One thing to note is the importance of reading the chapter headings in this book. This is something that I a guilty of not doing in the majority of books, but it is particularly important in this one, and I found myself flicking backwards on more than one occasion to resolve some self-inflicted confusion about where/when exactly I was.

Given how this book ends, I really hope we won’t have to wait too long for the next instalment – I know I will be waiting for it with baited breath!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Murder in the Multiverse RE McLeanGreetings, budding Multiverse Investigator!

My name’s RE McLean and I’m the author of the Multiverse Investigations Unit books and stories.

When I’m not fighting off quantum cats, jumping between parallel universes and wondering how my character got turned into a ten-foot rabbit, I spend my time geeking out with my two sons, laughing at my (very stupid but totally unquantum) cats and planning the next story.

Do YOU have what it takes to become a Multiverse Investigator?

Join Alex Strand and her team of oddballs as they hop between universes, solve crimes, and always get back before closing time. And find out how Alex’s cat Schrödinger became a quantum cat in his EXCLUSIVE origins story. All at multiverse-investigations.com.

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Guest Posts

The White & Gold People – Segun Starchild

When I saw the blurb for The White & Gold people, I was instantly fascinated – I mean, who doesn’t remember the fuss over THAT dress? I am honoured to welcome Segun Starchild to my blog today, to tell us more about the background to the book. Many thanks to Segun, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources, for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour. Over to you, Segun:

The white and gold cover

We were ALL amazed by the dress saga of Feb 2015. Yes, it was certainly a treat for the eyes, being furiously debated yet light-hearted at the same time, and a total mind bender which forced some of us to question our ideas about reality. Yes, even those who said, ‘I don’t know why everyone is so caught up in the dress,’ and ‘I don’t care about something so simple,’ have to admit it was bloody interesting.

Experts in the field of Neuroscience have tried to explain why we see the dress in the colours we do, using neatly packaged ideas such as colour constancy which allows us to view an object under different light sources but keep the same colour constant throughout. Unfortunately, with #thedress, there’s a lot more to the story than that!

The reason for the difference in colours as told by Pascal Wallisch a neuroscientist from NYU, is that if your brain had decided the dress was photographed in a shadow, you saw it as white and gold. If your brain thought it was illuminated artificially, you saw it as blue and black. Our brains are too clever for our own good it seems.

I get it (to a point), who am I to argue with neuroscientists? But I will take things in a different direction to them, so bear with me. The dress is clearly blue and black, it’s not a mystery like the pyramids of Egypt or the Malaysia Airlines plane that went missing in 2014. I get that it was a ‘money shot’, a one in a million-chance event, when the lighting conditions were exactly right to produce that effect, and I get the science behind optical illusions, but for half the population to see two colours that totally weren’t there I think something deeper is at play!

In the context of the dress; if you saw it in blue and black you were absolutely right, it was, so those who see the dress in white and gold are wrong, because it wasn’t. But if we remove the dress from our focus and look at the wider world, they weren’t wrong they are gifted. Why? Because they can see past the 3rd dimension, past our physical reality where the dress is blue and black, they can see into another dimension, the 4th dimension where the dress is white and gold.

The 4th dimension is another plane of existence where spirits and other beings reside. As physical beings we have a body which is affected by the elements and death, but we also have a spirit which is energy, that cannot be destroyed but rather transferred from one state to another. This is what goes on to the afterlife when we die, and this is what clairvoyants and dogs are thought to see. E.g. dogs have been known throughout history to see spirits and ghosts of the dead and it seems humans are finally catching up.

Those who saw the dress as white and gold have evolved into a new species with superhuman abilities and higher intelligence that I call ‘homo pas horáō’ (all seeing man). They have awakened the mystical third eye, which acts as a direct window into the 4th dimension where one can learn great mysteries and see things on a higher level.

Many spiritualists say that the 3rd dimension is fading away and there will come a time when it is gone for good. Perhaps this dress is the first stage in our rise in consciousness, and there are more weird, wacky and wonderful things to come our way? What does that mean for the blueys? For whatever reason, they aren’t included in the genetic shift, they can’t see past reality, they can only see what’s there. It’s natural selection all over again, one species will adapt to the new surroundings and rise to power and dominance, and the other may unfortunately, cease to exist. They will not be able to function on the 4th dimension, which according to some will replace the third dimension, they will have to find some way of ascending or seek life elsewhere.

I know, it’s pretty far-fetched. But according to German philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer; ‘all truths go through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.’

Many thanks Segun, for that fascinating insight. Read on folks for the all important book details.

The White and Gold Promo image

BLURB:

A dress causes a huge debate across the world as some see it as black and blue and others see it as white and gold. The white and gold people suddenly start to get even stranger visions and develop super human abilities making the black and blue people seem old and inadequate. The government try to quarantine and control their power but the white and gold people react setting the stage for a war between the rival groups.

PURCHASE LINKS:

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Barnes & Noble

iTunes

Lulu

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

The White and Gold Author PhotoSegun Starchild is a writer whose previous works include ‘Black Egyptians’, ‘The Capability Test’ & ‘Kamun vs. Leviathan’. He is a self confessed seeker of ‘The Truth’ and has a great hunger to know the mysteries of life. He has studied the esoteric mysteries of great sages to gain a reputable amount of wisdom and has the blessing of taking a journey through life with confidence and true knowledge of self and kind. He hails from the Yoruba tribe in Nigeria and is for the unification of the African continent. Segun currently lives in London, working in IT Development and Support and the director of Akasha Publishing Ltd.

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GIVEAWAY:

Giveaway to Win a T-Shirt, in the colours of the dress, in either white and gold or blue and black. (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter link 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 dispatch or delivery of the prize.

ENTER HERE

Don’t forget to pay a visit to the other blogs taking part in the tour for more information about this fascinating book.

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Book Review

Nothing Important Happened Today – Will Carver

I am thrilled to be joining the blog tour for Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver. My thanks to Will, Orenda Books, and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours, for inviting me to take part, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

A shocking, mesmerisingly original, pitch-black thriller, which, following the critically acclaimed Good Samaritans, confirms Will Carver as one of the most imaginative, innovative and exciting authors in crime fiction.

Nine people arrive one night on Chelsea Bridge. They’ve never met. But, at the same time, they leap to their deaths. Each of them received a letter in the post that morning, a pre-written suicide note, and a page containing only four words: Nothing important happened today.

That is how they knew they had been chosen to become a part of The People of Choice: a mysterious suicide cult whose members have no knowledge of one another.

Thirty-two people on a train witness the event. Two of them will be next. By the morning, People of Choice are appearing around the globe. It becomes a movement. A social-media page that has lain dormant for four years suddenly has thousands of followers.

The police are under pressure to find a link between the cult members, to locate a leader who does not seem to exist …

Nothing Important Cover

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon

REVIEW:

Nothing Important Happened Today is a book that presents a fascinating concept of an apparently leaderless cult, but at the same time is also a book that teeters on edge of being either totally weird or completely brilliant. Read on to see what side I came down on.

Having studied religion throughout school, college and (briefly) university, the names of the cults and their leaders that came before The People of Choice were familiar to me, and yet despite my past studies, the book presented a new theory to me of what it is that makes a cult. I don’t think that I had ever properly considered before that the people on the inside don’t think of themselves as being part of a cult, rather that it is people on the outside that attach this label. This new idea alone would have been enough to keep me reading, but the more I read, the more I was absorbed into this damning look at the world we live in, and it’s obsession with appearance and social media “likes”.

Whilst the description of each of the cult members is cold and almost clinical, there is somehow still something deeply emotional about it. The use of numbers as identifiers, and on the whole never revealing the names of the members, resonates with real life. If you saw the story on the news of nine total strangers committing suicide at the same time at the same place, sure, you’d remember the story, but honestly, how long would you remember their names for? It is this realisation that makes this book compelling, if not always comfortable, reading.

Trying to unravel the who, the how, and the why behind the supposed cult of The People of Choice kept me thinking even when I wasn’t reading and was trying to get on with my own life – this book just stays with you as you try to work out how these people are connected, and why they would do what they did. Even when I thought I knew, honestly, I didn’t!

So, going back to the question of whether this book is weird or brilliant – quite frankly, it is brilliant. It is a real head-scratcher that goes far deeper than your average whodunit. If you like a thoroughly thought-provoking read, then this is the book for you.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Will Carver 2Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series. He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children. Good Samaritans was book of the year in Guardian, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Express, and hit number one on the ebook charts.

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Blog

Wild Sky Cover Reveal

Regular readers will know that I have been eagerly awaiting book two of Lexi Rees’ Relic Hunters series from the second I finished reading book one, Eternal Seas. As such, I am thrilled to finally be able to share the cover for this much anticipated book with you today.

If you are yet to discover this fantastic series, which is aimed at children from eight years and up, you might want to take a minute here to read my reviews of Eternal Seas first and maybe grab a copy before you read on, just to avoid any spoilers.

Book Review

Audiobook Review

Just to make you wait a bit longer for the big reveal, here comes the blurb for Wild Sky first:

After delivering the pearl, Finn and Aria thought life would return to normal.

But with the survival of the clans still in peril, they must continue their quest.

Can they find the next relic before the forces of evil?

Not everyone is who they appear to be

And time is running out …

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Isn’t that wonderfully dramatic! If the cover and blurb have grabbed your attention, you can pre-order your copy of the book HERE.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lorraine-16Lexi Rees writes action packed adventures for children. The first book in The Relic Hunters Series, Eternal Seas, was awarded a “loved by” badge from LoveReading4Kids and is currently longlisted for a Chanticleer award.

She’s passionate about developing a love of reading and writing in children, and as well as an active programme of school visits and other events, she has published a Creative Writing Skills workbook, is a Book PenPal for three primary schools, and runs a free online #kidsclub and newsletter which includes book recommendations and creative writing activities.

In her spare time, she’s a keen crafter and spends a considerable amount of time trying not to fall off horses or boats.

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Pop back in December to find out my thoughts about the book and see if it lived up to expectations. In the meantime, my thanks go to Lexi, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources, for inviting me to be a part of today’s cover reveal.

Meet the Author

Hall of Night – Emma Miles

Hall of Night, the brilliant sequel to Hall of Pillars, by Emma Miles is published today, and to help celebrate that, I am delighted to share with you all a conversation I had with one of the star players in both books, Feather the Brownie. We recently caught up for a stroll in the countryside, and this is what he had to say.

Hall of pillars two 1 FONT

You are known for your love of bread and honey, but what would your absolute favourite food be?

What could be better than bread and honey, my girl? They do make a lovely sweet in Ashgrove in the autumn. They slice up apple nice and thin, dip it in spices, then fry it in nut oil. That’s rather scrumptious. And then, of course, there’s chocolate which I discovered when visiting the mortal realm. It’s a shame we can’t import a bit of that from Astol!

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You have visited many places on your travels, but which of these is your favourite?

I think the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen is the Silent Valley. The views were stunning. Forests, mountains, waterfalls. It was a rather scary place to be at the time though. But the best place? Our little cottage in Briarton, my home.

MAP

Is there anywhere that you haven’t visited yet that you would like to see?

Well Caelin’s tale got me quite intrigued about the land of the Horse Lords. I’ve never met a centaur. There are so many places to see though, especially when you can also sneak through into another realm. I hear the mortal realm is huge!

If you had a day free of danger, and didn’t have any chores to do, how would you spend the day?

It’s very hard for a brownie not to find chores to do! Mya and I do like to take walks and explore though – just as I’m doing right now! There are always new things to see and new friends to make. The wilds used to be terrifying for a little fellow like me, but I’ve come to love wandering the wilds. It’s much better with company though.

Do you have any hidden talents or party tricks you could share?

Well I can’t be showing you my magic now, my girl, it’s against all the brownie rules. I can stand in plain sight and not let you see me, I guess that’s a trick of sorts. I can make a piece of honeycomb disappear!

Ha ha. It was lovely to meet you, my girl, but it’s a long way back to Astol and the pass back to my Valley so I’d best be on my way. Safe travels to you.

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If you haven’t already pre-ordered your copy of Hall of Night, you can buy it here.