**DOUBLE REVIEW** FRENZY & DOOM (A Daniel Jones Story 1 & 2) by Mark King

I am so glad I had Mark King‘s Daniel Jones Story brought to my attention. There is action and adventure every step of the way in this extremely well-written post-apocalyptic fantasy series! Written for YA, it’s an exciting and thrilling series for anybody age 14+. I was totally gripped – a MUST-READ series!!

BANG. BANG. BANG.

And the ground shook.

BANG. BANG. BANG.

And the ground shook with an almighty force.

BANG. BANG. BANG.

And the ground shook with such terrifying power that once again the soul of humanity would cry out in fear tonight.

SILENCE.

Frenzy 3 v2Title: FRENZY (A Daniel Jones Story #1)

Author: Mark King

Genre: Fantasy, post-apocalyptic, sci-fi, action/adventure

Date released: March 1st, 2013

Published by: Book Guild Publishing

Length: 226 pages

Blurb: Daniel leads a peaceful life with his family until he finds out a repulsive secret about the Over-seers, the ‘saviours of humanity’, and his security is blown to smithereens. He enters a world where death is the only certainty and quickly learns to kill – or be killed.

Enter Gwendolyn, with the charm of a snake and a bite that’s twice as dangerous. People skills aren’t her thing but she knows how to survive in a post-apocalyptic world; she’s a hotshot with a bow and arrow and can rustle up a mean rat soup.

Mary is the only person left alive over forty. She’s not too good at fighting but she knows where to find the one thing that could save their lives. Only Mary can remember life before the invasion, before humanity was brainwashed into following the procedures.

Pursued by the Over-seers, the Triclops and the barbaric hunters, can the three brave rebels triumph in their quest for survival? The odds are stacked against them – hold tight for a white-knuckle ride through a landscape of devastation!

REVIEW ***** (5* RATING)

I was blown away by Frenzy! Admittedly, it has been a while since I have read a post-apocalyptic adventure series, but author Mark King drew me in with his great story-telling skills, fantasy and some brilliant characters. I was so hooked I went straight on to read the sequel, Doom!

In a world, not as we know it, but only as Daniel and future generations know, we realise that mankind is isolated in small villages, left only alive to ‘farm’ themselves ready for what they believe will be a time for rest and rewards in the ‘Achievement Centre’, which they are due to attend after their fortieth birthday. This is a world, unlike anything we know now, where humans go back to basics, with no reminders of the past, and a world run by other beings: the Over-Seers!

The story gives the reader a true sense of what it is like to be Daniel, describing his home life, daily routines and reactions perfectly. There is no holding back from description when it comes to Mark King‘s terrific writing. The reader is truly drawn in, feeling every moment as Daniel does.

Daniel is a great, young character, living in a hut with his family, and being able to live off the land, felling trees with his father, in order to trade for food. They are living a relatively comfortable life given the circumstances, aside from the usual lack of sanitary conditions and few clothes, etc. After all, this is all Daniel has ever known.

However, after celebrations of a friend departing to the Achievement Centre, Daniel and his young friends decide to wander whilst playing a game. During this turn of events, Daniel discovers something so incredibly horrifying about the Over-Seers and the future of his human friends! Even more terrifyingly, he is found out, and now has no choice but to run for his life throughout the desolate lands, for he simply cannot return to his village and safe haven of his family.

Not only does he fear the Over-Seers, and the prospect that they could attack his family if they are aware of just who he is, he has to outrun human hunters and the terrifying, ground-trembling Triclops! His insubordinate and mischievous actions have landed him in a horror he has never known. His only slight relief comes when he meets survivors Gwendolyn and Mary, who work with him in an attempt to save humanity!

Initially, Frenzy was a story I would have recommended to 11+ readers, however after learning the secret as Daniel did, and the sheer shock, horror and gore I quickly changed my mind. Frenzy, however is an exceptional read, easy to follow, yet at a nice, quick pace for the adventure it holds. You will be hooked! I would advise it for readers certainly 14yrs+.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Daniel Jones Doom Cover LargeTitle: DOOM (A Daniel Jones Story #2)

Author: Mark King

Genre: Fantasy, post-apocalyptic, sci-fi, action/adventure

Date released: December 12th, 2014

Published by: Book Guild Publishing

Length: 238 pages

Blurb: Daniel’s peaceful life has been destroyed after discovering the hideous truth about the Over-seers – the new masters of humanity. Hiding in centuries-old flint mines from Hunters and from the terrifying Triclops machines, Daniel’s recurring nightmares lead him, once more, into danger. With mankind brainwashed under the false hope of a glorious new life in the Achievement Centre, he must return home through a devastated landscape to save his father
from certain death.

Daniel reunites with two fellow fugitives – Mary and her young companion Gwendolyn – to undertake a rescue mission so dangerous that death is the only guarantee. Is it too late for Daniel’s family or is it too late for humanity itself? Daniel Jones DOOM, the exciting new sequel to FRENZY a Daniel Jones Story, is another fast-paced, engrossing chronicle of three rebels who once again risk their lives in a vividly depicted world peopled by memorable new and known characters.

REVIEW ***** (5* rating)

DOOM is another incredibly written, fast-paced post-apocalyptic adventure from author Mark King. The sequel to Frenzy, it continues where we left off with young Daniel Jones surviving with Resistance veteran, Mary, and her young companion, Gwendolyn.

Daniel has begun to have terrible dreams after witnessing the horrific methods of the Over-Seers. He is also aware that it is coming up to his father’s fortieth season, where he knows his dad will be preparing for a life of rest and rewards from the Over-Seers in the Achievement Centre. After a life of being brainwashed by these beings his father, and the rest of humanity, simply have no idea of the horrors that await them. It’s simply too much for Daniel to bear; he must return to his home village to warn his family. Only that would be difficult with the Over-Seers sending Hunters and Triclops to hunt him and his companions down! This boy loves a challenge, and with his friends support they are a team to be reckoned with.

Meanwhile, we learn that the consequences of Frenzy (Daniel Jones book 1) has left John, Daniel’s father, in a tired, weary and fragile state. Not only has he lost his son to the desolate lands, without knowing why, he now also works alone, chopping down trees, with no horse to pull his cart. He is emotionally and physically drained with only the hope of the Achievement Centre to relieve him of his exhausting life.

“… but with losing his axe, his horse, and his son in the space of two days John was not going to take any risks with his chance of entering the Achievement Centre, and in receiving a lifetime of the rewards that were promised.”

I am absolutely hooked with this series, longing to read the next instalment. It is a perfect read for young adults and over, with the right dosage of action, horror and gore mixed with great dialogue, brilliant characters and an addictive storyline.

Will Daniel reach his village to warn his father? Or will be captured by the Hunters, along with his companions? Is it too late for his father to be saved? What will become of Daniel, and all of those he cares about? This truly is a MUST-READ that I would recommend to place at the top of your reading list!

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

FRENZY and DOOM, books 1 & 2 of the Daniel Jones Story were provided by the author in return for a fair and honest review.

You can purchase both following the links below:-

FRENZY

Hardcover Amazon UK

Kindle edition Amazon UK

Hardcover Amazon US

Kindle edition Amazon US

DOOM

Hardcover Amazon UK

Paperback Amazon UK

Kindle edition Amazon UK

Hardcover Amazon US

Paperback Amazon US

Kindle edition Amazon US

 

**Release Day Review & GIVEAWAY** Treagar’s Redemption (Woodland Creek) by Isobelle Cate

Today we welcome the release of the Woodland Creek series, which is a collection of 30 paranormal/shifter stories written by 30 authors. We are hosting Treagar’s Redemption by Isobelle Cate, which is a super paranormal, time-travel romance that is totally absorbing and full of magick! Not only that, but the author has kindly offered to GIVEAWAY 3 e-copies of Treagar’s Redemption! Please check out below details of this fab offer!

Treagar's redemption cover

Title: Treagar’s Redemption (Woodland Creek)

Author: Isobelle Cate

Genre: Paranormal romance, fantasy, sci-fi (time-travel)

Release date: November 15th, 2015

Length: 142 pages

Blurb: Marcus Theodoric Treagar is a sabretooth with a curse that has him traveling through time, leaving a trail of dead bodies. Not only that, but as soon as he falls in love, he is wrenched away from that period and returned to 16th century Venice. To save the last remaining piece of his heart, he refuses to become involved again.

Until Paisley Halleran.

As the daughter of the shifter chronicler, Paisley Halleran knows that magick and the paranormal abound in Woodland Creek. With her adopted brother, Virgil Rowtag, they fight for every shifter’s rights in the area. When Paisley comes face to face with Marcus, who has been arrested for a murder he does not remember committing, she believes he is innocent. Marcus, on the other hand, knows he has finally found the woman truly meant for him.
However, not everything is cut and dried. Paisley unearths tragic secrets and lies that link her to Marcus. Not only will it show her whether Marcus is truly innocent or guilty of the murders in Woodland Creek, it will also spell the difference between staying with Marcus because she wants to, or letting him go because she has no choice. 

Treagar's Redemption teaser 3

REVIEW ***** (5* Rating)

Treagar’s Redemption will take hold of the reader, just as the two main characters, Marcus and Paisley, have a hold on each other. It’s a gripping read of paranormal romance, time-travel, and dark magick, with a fairy-tale quality to the story.

After time-travelling to Woodland Creek and finding yet another dead body had turned up at the scene where he appeared, it becomes confusing for Marcus Theodore Treagar. Is he really a danger to those where he turns up? He can’t remember causing any harm to anyone. But, then again he is in his sabretooth form when he first appears in a new time, before changing back to his human form.

When Marcus and Paisley meet it soon becomes clear that they have a strong attraction to each other. Paisley believes Marcus to be innocent from the offset, and asks her lawyer father to defend him. However, the story takes a turn when her father refuses to stand up for Marcus. After losing his wife, Paisley’s mother, her father resigned himself to taking care of Paisley, yet deeply mourned Hurit for many years. Knowing it was a sabretooth – Marcus – who was at the scene of her death, Paisley’s father is not so quick in deeming Treagar innocent.

This conflict causes tension between the characters, and leaves Paisley feeling torn. It doesn’t help when her adopted brother, Virgil, isn’t too supportive of Treagar’s innocence either. But, something tells Paisley that Marcus is telling the truth. He is innocent. And, aside from wanting to prove his innocence, there is something else pulling at Paisley. Likewise for Marcus. I love how the author uses the characters to flirt with her readers by allowing the reader to understand how both characters feel about each other, reading their thoughts. And yet, both Paisley and Treagar seem to rein in their feelings, keeping them at bay, and thus hiding their vulnerabilities from each other.

The time-travelling curse that was bestowed on Marcus makes it impossible for him to fall in love. But, once he returns to his mansion in Venice during the 16th century, he knows that Paisley is the one to take the last piece of his heart. Although usually quite happy to be back home, there is something about Paisley that makes him long to return to the future. But, will he get the chance? He’s never gone back to the same time before! Meanwhile, Paisley had found herself ‘salivating’ over Marcus – something she has never done before.

I would recommend Treagar’s Redemption for a mature reader. It is a SUPER HOT read; you won’t need the central heating on for a while after reading this book! The heat exuding from this passionate couple is almost unbearable (in the best possible way) – exciting isn’t the word. You’ll be turning the pages with great speed and urgency to find out just how intimate they become.

These conflicts and sexual tensions make for a suspenseful read at times. And, the atmosphere of the story can be dark at times when the reader feels there is no hope for Treagar, and questions who could possibly be behind the murders if it wasn’t him. How will Marcus and Paisley’s love cope with his terrible curse? And, will her father make it any easier for her to be with Treagar, or will Paisley have to let him go?

An ARC copy of Treagar’s Redemption was provided by the author in return for a fair and honest review.

Treagar’s Redemption is now available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

GIVEAWAY!!

Yes, we have THREE e-copies to give away to three lucky winners!! For a chance to win all you have to do is add your name in the comments for this post, and we will pick out the winners on FRIDAY 20TH NOVEMBER, 5PM (GMT).

Alternatively, you can visit our Facebook page and enter via our giveaway post on there. Again, just adding your name in the comments box.

Good luck for all entries, and thank you in advance for taking part.

Caroline & Tina ❤

 

*Book Blitz* The Grand Dissolute by Joel Van Valin

Sage bookblitz banner

TheGrandDissolute BMS 8-26-15Title: The Grand Dissolute

Author: Joel Van Valin

Genre: Sci-Fi Fantasy/Time Travel Romance

Release date: October 1st, 2015

Released by: 5 Prince Publishing

Length: 271 pages

Blurb: The year is 1998 and Jimmy Pagley is falling in love—with a pretty, foreign cafe waitress named Haydee. What he doesn’t know is that Haydee is a temvelar, a time traveler from the 29th century, on a mission to find her old mentor. Soon Jimmy and Haydee find themselves caught up in a dark conspiracy of rogue temvelars and government agents, on a search that leads through airports and space stations, art museums and suburban bakyards, Greek temples and Medieval castles, and beyond time itself. The Grand Dissolute is a traveler’s portrait of a tumultuous, romantic age—our own.

Author Bio

Joel Van Valin is the author of the fantasy novel, The Flower of Clear Burning and the publisher of Whistling Shade literary journal.  He lives with his wife Lisa, a veterinarian, in St. Paul.

http://www.amazon.com/author/joelvanvalin

Author Page on Publisher site: http://www.5princebooks.com/joelvanvalin.html

Author Website: http://www.whistlingshade.com/joel.html

 

Review Round-up July ’15

Hello readers, we hope that you are enjoying the summer holidays! We have had an amazing month, most notably our attendance at the Second City Signing, which was our first. Here we met some amazing authors, some known to us and some new. You’ll be hearing more of them over the coming months, and if you are a fan of romance and/or erotic romance you will certainly be in for a treat! You can read our “special report” on the signing, complete with plenty of pics!

We were also preparing for Helena Fairfax‘s latest release, Palace of Deception. Not only have we reviewed her contemporary romantic suspense/mystery novella, but she has also given us a great deal of her time in helping produce a fantastic interview, whereby she speaks of her work, her blog, her awards and the membership of The Romantic Novelist Association. You can read all about her tips and suggestions to help promote your work too on her blog.

Along with our children’s end of year activities at school, and arranging plans for the holidays it has left us with a quieter month than usual – especially on my part. However, we still have nine fantastic reviews for you (two of which are double reviews – books 1 & 2 of a series) with YA futuristic/time travel in Future Girls by Catharine Bramkamp, and V.L. Brock‘s Dark Evoke, dark romantic suspense/psychological thriller series. As always, please click on the titles and authors to view our complete review post!

Happy reading! And happy holidays!

Caroline & Tina ❤

Alison MerrittHer Heart’s Surrender by Allison Merritt, historical romance, reviewed by Tina

Blurb: After sneaking out with her brother, Eoghann, one night, Ealasaid discovers Viking ships sailing up the river to sack their home in Northumbria. They attempt to warn their father, but it’s too late and the Vikings slaughter or enslave all the inhabitants of Suibhne. In attempt to save her family, Ealasaid stabs a young Viking warrior, but her father is killed, her family scattered, and she’s taken to Solstad Hall where she serves as a thrall for the Viking king. Years later, the king’s son, Hella, ventures on many raids and to trading sites across Europe, but his desire is to set up a farm in Solstad with Ealasaid as the thrall in charge of his household. He tells her of his plan and they expression their passion for one another. When Hella petitions the king for her freedom, but is turned down and order to the Frankish lands in retaliation for raids on the Viking coastal villages. Ealasaid, aware the king would never free her, tells him that he should look for a brighter future across the sea, away from his father and resigns herself to be his slave for the remainder of her life.Called home to watch his father die, Hella is stunned when his father’s final command is that Hella must marry or the throne will go to his adopted brother. Furious with his father’s orders and worried about being left without lands or money, Hella looks to the thrall who’s always captured his attention—Ealasaid. Ealasaid harbors a secret—the single afternoon she spent in Hella’s arms resulted in a son, her treasure, her reason for living.

Sandra ScwabEagle’s Honor: Banished by Sandra Schwab, erotic historical romance, reviewed by Tina

Blurb: A proud warrior.
A brave woman.
A forbidden love that is tested by the intrigues of ancient Rome and the hostilities at the northernmost edge of the empire.Centurion Marcus Florius Corvus has a splendid career in the legions ahead of him. Yet a visit to Rome and a chance encounter with an old friend change his whole life: He falls in love with one of his friend’s pleasure slaves and becomes entrapped in an evil scheme designed to destroy him. And yet—he cannot help risking everything for Lia, the woman he has given his heart to, even if it means he will be banished to one of the most dangerous places in the Roman Empire: the northern frontier of Britannia.

Seeking Nirvana & Eluding Nirvana (Dark Evoke #1 & #2) by V. L. Brock, dark romantic suspense/psychological thriller, reviewed by Tina

Seeking NirvanaSeeking Nirvana Blurb: They say that old habits die hard, and twenty-seven year old, Kady Jenson, is about to discover how true that statement actually is.

Waking up in a hospital room with a complete stranger at her bedside, should have caused panic and confusion, but for a reason unknown to her, Kady finds herself drawn, and calmed by the presence of the rugged, devastatingly handsome man with the pleasant Irish brogue. It’s when she discovers that she has just woken from a four day coma, with a three year void in her memory, which spawns confusion and panic.

Kady soon comes to realize that things change with time, and not only appearances.

Not only is the sexual chemistry she once shared with her long-term boyfriend, now a long-ago memory, but Kady also begins to unconsciously fall back into unremembered habits, and with each day, the increasing sense of foreboding, becomes increasingly harder to ignore.

Left on her own when her boyfriend goes on a business trip, Kady seeks help from the Irish stranger as they go on a quest together, in a race against time, to piece the puzzle together.

Eluding NirvanaEluding Nirvana Blurb: Three years lost; a body marred and a mission complete. Waking after a four day coma, Kady Jenson felt her life was crashing down around her. Three years of her memories were missing, and the compelling man at her side was not her years-long partner, but a stranger – a stranger who promised to help her recover what she had lost.

But how did Kady come to such a place?

What dark, mysterious events stole her past and threatened her future?

How did her lover become a stranger, and a stranger become so terribly important?

What happened to turn Kady’s orderly life into a terrifying nightmare which would leave her permanently marked, body and soul?

**AUTHORS NOTE**

Eluding Nirvana is the second instalment of The Dark Evoke Series, and is therefore not intended as a standalone novel.

Stolen petalsStolen Petals (novelette) by Katherine McIntyre, steampunk romance, reviewed by Tina

Blurb: One man has swiped bounties from Viola, the Brass Violet, for years. Longstanding rivals, they’ve only had brief encounters, and if she had a choice, she’d avoid him entirely. When he saunters into her bar with an offer to work together on a job, the proper response would be to shoot him down and send him back to Shantytown. However, curiosity’s a wicked beast, and Viola needs to know why, after so many years of stealing her marks, he’d approach her now. The man is insufferable, annoyingly cavalier, and tends to stir up memories she’d rather forget–but she needs assistance on this job and he’s offering aid and blueprints which could cut their work in half.

Given the intense way he looks at her though, working together isn’t all he has in mind. Van Clef is known for his persistence and, with his charm, he wins women over effortlessly. Viola’s not so easy though–she’s wise to his tricks. But if he wants to play the game, she will gladly rise to the challenge. By the end of this bounty, she’ll be the one leaving him in the dust.

Samantha-Holt_Knight_ConKnight’s Captive by Samantha Holt, historical romance, reviewed by Tina

Blurb: Queen Elizabeth sits on England’s throne. A once Catholic country is now ruled by a Protestant queen. In a time of fear, turmoil and bold deeds, many heroes are seldom written into history…

After aiding in the capture of the flagship Rosario and helping to defeat the Spanish Armada, Sir Henry Bainbridge is set to make his mark on the world and strengthen his position as a man of authority. Now in charge of the Spanish prisoners, Henry must negotiate their return to Spain and manage the care of his people.

However, when he comes across a woman amongst the survivors, his future plans are put on hold. The exotic beauty draws him in and his honour will not let him doing anything other than protect her. Henry takes her into his home and places her under house arrest. He can only hope his principles are enough to protect her from his desires…

In a time when small differences spark fear into the heart of many, Antonia finds herself drawn into a battle between a zealous priest, a discontented population and the most honourable man she’s ever met. Nothing can ever come of their attraction, not while he’s holding her father prisoner and not when so many differences divide them.

Or can it?

TorqueTorque (The Redline Series #2) by Skye Callahan, dark erotic romance, reviewed by Tina

Blurb: In the dark underworld of Ashville, crime, deceit, and blackmail reign supreme. Everyone wants that little piece of leverage—that one small key to getting ahead.

Aubrey would be happy—and lucky—to simply make it out alive. After falling in debt to one of the city’s most dangerous men, she found herself caught in a dispute between two brothers who will do anything to see each other suffer. Aubrey knows she’s only a pawn in their game and her only hope is to find some key of her own—a way to guarantee her own safety and the safety of her family.

Colt has a long and sordid past with the criminal element. He knows how the game is played and has found himself on all sides more times than he cares to remember. Aubrey is his newest escape route, but their tentative alliance is doomed to crumble if Colt can’t find a way to fulfill his end of the bargain with Devlin.

How will Colt and Aubrey handle Devlin’s newest threat?

Bloodlust deniedBloodlust Denied by Christina Phillips, erotic historical paranormal romance, reviewed by Tina

Blurb: Tired of the thin-blooded aristocrats in 1815 London, Alexius yearns for better sport. He is drawn to a dark-haired seductress who shows no fear and refuses to obey his commands. Entranced by such novelty, he denies his bloodlust and decides to keep her to warm his bed.

Immortal vampire hunter Morana has never mistaken her prey before, but the dark stranger mesmerizes her, enticing her to forget everything but the dangerous pleasure she finds in his arms.

Neither one can deny the pull of the other, but there is something beyond the lust—a recognition neither can put a name to. The past and present collide and unless they discover the truth behind the lies, Death will triumph once more.

palace of deceptionPalace of Deception (novella) by Helena Fairfax, contemporary romantic suspense/mystery, reviewed by Caroline

Blurb: A sinister housekeeper, a silent bodyguard, and a missing princess – mystery and intrigue in this gripping romantic suspense.

Lizzie Smith is contacted by her old drama teacher over the summer and offered the acting job of her life. Princess Charlotte of Montverrier has disappeared on the eve of her Investiture…and Lizzie must take her place.

But in the run up to the ceremony, all is not what it seems in the Palace of Montverrier. Why does the housekeeper insist Lizzie keep to her suite of rooms? What danger lies outside the palace walls? As Lizzie learns her role, her only confidant is Léon, her quiet bodyguard…but what secrets is he keeping from her?

Mystery and suspense against the backdrop of a beautiful Mediterranean city.

Future Girls & Future Gold (Future Girls #1 & #2) by Catharine Bramkamp, YA sci-fi fantasy, reviewed by Caroline

Future Girls Book One of the The Future Girls SeriesFuture Girls Blurb: On October 10, 2145, eighteen-year-old Charity Northquest’s whole future is ahead of her–and the future sucks.

On October 11, 2145, she unexpectedly has a chance to fix it. When her best friend is reported killed, but then re-appears the next day as an old woman, everything Charity has been taught is called into question. Even if she does not believe in time travel, she has little choice. So the ill-prepared Charity travels back to the mysterious and captivating 21st century where her single purpose of changing the future fades with the increasingly more urgent question of whether she can survive the past.

Future Gold (Book Two of the The Future Girls Series)Future Gold Blurb: What part of the past would you change?

Jordan didn’t want to travel back in time. She thought the members of the Time Cult were, frankly, a little whacked. But as the daughter of a daughter of a daughter, she had little choice but to prepare, take part, be knowledgeable and be ready to travel back in time. But nothing could prepare her for what happened. Or when.

**DOUBLE REVIEW** Future Girls & Future Gold (The Future Girls #1 & #2) by Catharine Bramkamp

Catharine Bramkamp’s sci-fi ‘The Future Girls’ series first began with the release of FUTURE GIRLS (book 1), followed by FUTURE GOLD (book 2) in July 2015. They were both released by Eternal Press, with their covers designed by no other than Dawné Dominique. Both books can be read as stand-alones, however if book one is read first the reader will grasp the idea of book 2 more easily.

Future Girls Book One of the The Future Girls Series

FUTURE GIRLS (The Future Girls #1)

Blurb:

On October 10, 2145, eighteen-year-old Charity Northquest’s whole future is ahead of her–and the future sucks.

On October 11, 2145, she unexpectedly has a chance to fix it. When her best friend is reported killed, but then re-appears the next day as an old woman, everything Charity has been taught is called into question. Even if she does not believe in time travel, she has little choice. So the ill-prepared Charity travels back to the mysterious and captivating 21st century where her single purpose of changing the future fades with the increasingly more urgent question of whether she can survive the past.

REVIEW

Future Girls is the first book of the Future Girls series, following Charity, an eighteen year old girl in the year 2145, who goes back in time in an effort to change the way of life that everybody is subject to in her time. Following in the footsteps of George Orwell’s 1984 (of which there are slight references) it is a story that explores the idea that, especially with the growth of technology, that we will not necessarily be as free as we would all like, but in fact we would be controlled to keep peace and order. Another method in trying to create peace is also the idea of unifying religion for everyone.

“… there would be no Muslim, no Jew, no Christian, all their small differences would be absorbed into the One True Word, the One True God. This time the religions of the world would hammer out a plan, not just agree to respect one another – that never worked anyway.

There was one God, most could agree on that, this time the worship, the rules, the conduct would all be the same. And wars would end.”

Charity is a likeable and believable character. She is surprised to find an old lady speaking to her as her best friend did the previous day. Believing her friend had been killed, Charity is taken aback and in disbelief that this elderly woman lying in front of her could possibly be her friend. That is until the lady uses the same terminology her best friend did.

Charity had already been curious about the celebrations of The Great Convergence and Unification, especially with the riots. After questioning herself about what was happening outside the city, and hearing what her friend has to say about the past, Charity has to make it her mission to find out exactly what is going on and what had happened in the past that led to their current way of life.

Charity herself has a gut feeling that what she is doing needs to be done. She needs to find a way to travel back in time, as her friend had done, and try her utmost to change the future from the one she knows. After ducking out of her normal routine of going to the temple, she winds up getting caught by guards and eventually makes her way outside the perimeter of the city, and eventually back in time…

She finds herself in the late 20th century at the Duck and Screw bar. During her time in the past Charity manages to track down Knight Industries, the major tech company that control the future. She knows she must do something to change what will happen, but she is at a loss as to what to do.

Her purpose makes it difficult for her to trust people. Who would believe her story, and who would go as far to help her? However, she does meet up with Dranit, who she later becomes suspicious of, and then Matthew.  Both of them clearly knew who Charity was, but were they trapping her for their own separate reasons?

I was hoping for Charity to find some romance with one of them, and although there were hints, it wasn’t clear who the main ‘love interest’ was, if at all. She becomes close to both of them as she spends her time with each one, but leading up to her departure she seems to think, on separate occasions, that either one could be against her and try to stop her.

Due to the confusion at times, I felt that reading Future Girls in first person would have been more beneficial to the reader. This way we would really get a true sense of exactly how Charity was feeling about the moment she was in, who she suspected most, and who she felt closest to.

Although many scenes are written brilliantly – there are some great action scenes, especially when she is being chased by bikers and shot at (yes, there is plenty of excitement and tension!) – I found Future Girls a little confusing at times and was desperate for the author to clear some points up, and to help the reader visualise (especially the futuristic moments regarding the Cloud that is used to control the population). Towards the end, however, a great deal is cleared up, but as the reader is waiting for some answers for so long, it makes it difficult to concentrate on the story in between. I am not quite sure how a Young Adult would follow the story easily. That said, the author has written well and it is clear that the author has spent time on the structure of her writing.

Future Girls is a good read, and with some more clarity could be great. The general idea of unifying the population, in the pretence that it will provide peace and order in the future is a fantastic idea. And, with the aid of technology, being able to control people with a virtual Cloud is interesting to explore, especially when some of us will ask questions and act upon our curiosity, meaning not everyone will conform, and thus posing a threat to those in power. I was certainly gripped enough to read the second book of the series, Future Gold.

Future Gold (Book Two of the The Future Girls Series)

FUTURE GOLD (The Future Girls #2)

Blurb:

What part of the past would you change?

Jordan didn’t want to travel back in time. She thought the members of the Time Cult were, frankly, a little whacked. But as the daughter of a daughter of a daughter, she had little choice but to prepare, take part, be knowledgeable and be ready to travel back in time. But nothing could prepare her for what happened. Or when.

REVIEW

After enjoying the fantasy of a young girl travelling back in time to change the future for the better, in Future Girl (book 1), I was happy to continue the series with Future Gold. Either book could be read as a stand alone, although the reader may grasp the futuristic elements of book 2 more easily if they are already familiar with the background from book 1.

Set further still in the future, Future Gold follows a different character in Jordan, than in Future Girls’ Charity, and this time Jordan goes back to the 19th century, the Wild West in 1861. I particularly love reading about this era, it’s rawness and desperation, crimes and outlaws, as well as the constructing of towns and communities.

As a Time Cult member, Jordan studies history, in particular Western history, but doesn’t prepare herself one hundred percent for her time travel experience, believing that a time to change the past, and thus the future, probably wouldn’t come about.

“…Their stated story, should anyone ask, was that they were a history group, a society for the study of the past. What was studying history if not a form of time travel?… She (Jordan) would spend the next ten years earning an advanced degree in her historic period of choice, just in case. What she believed was she would never need or use the information. She would spend ten good years pretending that when the time came, if the time came, she was prepared to make a difference.”

However, after regularly taking part in the Equinox and Solstice, this time unlike the others, something changed. Jordan found herself in a slightly confused state… back in time!

One of my favourite moments in the story was when I realised that the place Jordan found herself in initially was a bar called the Duck and Screw. This bar was featured in book 1, and therefore this connection, however small, and the fact that Jordan had gone back in time from a very surreal future, that kept the whole fantasy of the series flowing.

A little lost and confused, Jordan is taken in by a miner, Walter, and is invited to look after his children, Will and Emily, while he works. They spend time travelling to areas where they have been told there is a great deal of gold. Throughout the story there are a number of mines – some running out of gold, with workers losing their jobs, other mines with plenty of gold are being found, and there are the thieves who steal gold, leaving little for the workers thereafter. Knowing who to trust is even more difficult when times are so desperate for many.

Jordan has to keep up the pretence as one living in those times, whilst trying to become a little familiar with food, clothes, language, and general living that she simply has never experienced before. She pulls it off extremely well and seems to learn quickly, although being one to express her thoughts a little more freely, and especially being a woman, there are moments when she surprises some of her new acquaintances!

The story seemed to flow really well in this second book of the series, maybe it was because I had grasped the whole concept of what the author was trying to reach, and maybe because of the time it was set too. But I did feel the characters more as they stood out well, and the reader can grasp who are to be trusted more, as well as a possible love interest.

I found myself enjoying the scenes with Jordan and Frederick, longing for some romance to spark between them. Jordan has to be aware of everyone around her and not trust people too easily. And even though I questioned Frederick at times, even when I did this I still felt he was a strong, believable and likeable character.

The further the story continues, the more dramatic it becomes. and the action in the latter half is really good. It is written at just the right pace to keep you gripped and able to follow what is happening. You’ll certainly want to finish the story to see just what becomes of Jordan and what that means for all the characters involved.

Both books were provided as ARC’s by the author, in return for a fair and honest review.

Buy links:

Future Girls (The Future Girls #1) Amazon US, Amazon UK

Future Gold (The Future Girls #2) – Amazon US, Amazon UK

Reviews by Caroline Barker

**REVIEW** Creedor (The Reglon Empire Series #1) by Gail Morgan McRae

Creedor (The Reglon Empire Series)Title: Creedor (The Reglon Empire Series #1)

Author: Gail Morgan McRae

Genre: Sci-fi, fantasy

Release date: March 6th, 2014

Release by: Moon and Stars Press

Blurb: Dr. Simon Slogar and Commander Michael Camdus have been given the task of stopping an epidemic on Creedor. It is only after they arrive on the windswept planet that they discover there’s a much greater threat.

Creedorians are being snatched from their homes, leaving survivors to fend for themselves. One brave woman, Mara Tonlin, decides to find her husband and rescue him or die trying. Her story intertwines with the original mission, leading Camdus and his men into even greater danger.

Intruders, wizards, changelings, and a subspace particle Rider all intersect with Slogar, Camdus and his men in Creedor, the first book of the Reglon Empire Series.

REVIEW

I was gripped by Gail Morgan McRae’s Creedor, the first book of The Reglon Empire series. The pace throughout was perfect, with plenty going on and many characters to get to know. I must admit that the story description/blurb does not come into light until a little further into the book, however as this is the first book of the series I imagine the author is beginning her story with an introduction to the world of Creedor, how it is ruled and by whom, and what changes make it become so dangerous.

I really came to love the early characters, especially the original ruler’s (Elder Horatio Borm’s) wife, Andria, and their wizard friend, Vandalen. After the Emperor was killed and Vandalen was imprisoned I was just hoping for a happier ending where he would eventually be released and at least come home to Andria, since his own wife had passed away and couldn’t go on with out him. Nothing more was mentioned of these characters which left me wondering whether the author was finished with them, or will come back to them (at least in hindsight) later in the series.

After making himself Emperor, the story moves on under the rule of Commander Jarlod. Nobody had attacked his taking over as he already had in place his military men to guard over him and Creedor, and so people simply had to accept it or accept punishment.

“Now most men would try to hide their crime, but not Jarlod. He had already spread his military throughout the Empire assuring there’d be no reprisal once news got out.”

Overtime, all disease and viruses became no longer a threat to the population. This leads to Jarlod ending all medical education and preventing doctors and anyone with medical knowledge to pursue their work. It is assumed there is no need for it, and anyone who carries on any work will be punished. But, there is one man who doesn’t allow this rule to own him…

Dr. Simon Slogar has studied medicine from a very early age, realising that it is usually the under-privileged that are more susceptible to health problems and therefore he finds the need to help – after all, we are all people. These views oppose his own families to a certain degree as he comes from a more privileged class but has always been more open-minded and aware of other social classes.

Therefore, Slogar continues to practice medicine in hiding, in the hope that he can help. As the years wear on he turns to drink, and gives up on medicine as there is no one who needs his help. During this time he has not gone unheard of and Jarlod had sent people to find him and punish him for his research. Only, people start to become diseased again and it isn’t too long before an epidemic will rise on Creedor. Now Dr. Slogar is needed to help the people before it is too late. Commander Camdus is sent to bring back Slogar from another planet, be that willingly or not.

Now, as the book description suggests, there is more happening in Creedor than meets the eye – certainly more than an epidemic of disease, with unidentified militants seemingly ready to attack, and some people going missing. It is here that we are introduced to Mara Tonlin, who is left with absolutely nothing, and feels she has no option than to look for her husband. As her path crosses with Slogar’s and Camdus’ it is set up brilliantly for the next instalment.

Creedor certainly does have plenty happening, making for a quick and exciting read, even if it did wrap up a little too quickly at the end. It is a great start to a new sci-fi fantasy series. Although there are many great characters, they are all written in such a way that the reader can get to know them well and like many of them. Many of the events are fairly easy to follow, with some not so clear cut, but the reader can still get the gist of what is going on from the reactions of the characters and the whole feeling of the situation.

I was a little disappointed that the earlier characters were not mentioned later, particularly Vandalen and Andria. I wanted to know what became of them very badly as I grew to love them. For secondary, supporting characters (if that’s what they were) the author has gone into far too much detail about them than to just leave it where she has. My hope is that they will be revisited in subsequent books of the series, or at the very least, be mentioned so we can find out what became of them. This is a series I would like to read more of. I’d like to know what became of Slogar and Camdus once they reached Creedor, and if Mara will find her husband before it’s too late.

A copy of Creedor was provided by the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.

Creedor (The Reglon Empire Series #1) by Gail Morgan McRae is available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker