Recommended Reads: Forbidden Alliance by Katrina Mountfort

Forbidden Alliance

Disclaimer: I’ve got to know Katrina Mountfort through social media and she has written some very lovely reviews of my books. This has had no influence on my review but as a reader you I feel this is something of which you need to be aware.

The Description

The Blueprint trilogy takes us to a future in which men and women are almost identical, and personal relationships are forbidden. In Forbidden Alliance, the second book of the trilogy, more than sixteen years have passed since Caia and Mac, now renamed Cathy and Michael, fled their oppressive lives, although the plight of those who remain in the Citidomes is never far from their minds.
Cathy and Michael now have three children and Citidome life is a distant memory. But for Cathy, village life is no longer idyllic. While Michael is famed as the leader of the Alliance of Outside Communities, she is left holding the baby. When a chance arises for her to fulfil her potential, will she make the right choices? Michael, however, is too preoccupied to notice Cathy’s personal struggles. Heightened security in the Citidomes has resulted in fewer escapees, a shortage of young farmers and a depleted gene pool in the village. While Michael unveils his most audacious plan yet to liberate rebels from the Citidomes, will his devotion to the cause cost him the love of his wife and daughter? And will his plan endanger his life, as well as those of his allies?
Forbidden Alliance is also the story of Cathy and Michael’s sixteen year-old daughter Joy. Fiercely intelligent but with limited career options, she fights against the future her father has planned for her: marriage to village boy Matt. Forbidden from seeing Harry, the nomadic canal-dwelling boy she has loved since childhood, she finds friendship from an unexpected source: BodyPerfect ex-citizen Ryan, whose perfect Citidome looks are less than perfect in the outside world. And her illusions about life in the Citidomes are about to be shattered.
In addition to the issues explored in Future Perfect, the first book of the trilogy, Forbidden Alliance poses additional questions, including those of leadership, family loyalties and whether it is possible to justify the sacrifice of human lives for the greater good.

 

The Review

Forbidden Alliance is the second book of the blueprint trilogy and takes place sixteen years after the events of Future Perfect (you can read my review of Future Perfect here). In it we find out what has happened to Cathy and Michael since they escaped the dystopian paradise of the Citidome into what has turned out to be a far tougher life outside.

While the storyline from Future Perfect is continued, this is very much a coming-of-age tale, predominantly from the perspective of Joy. Through her eyes we see the strain her parents have lived under, trying to balance the survival of the outside communities when faced with an ageing population and low birth rates, alongside the desire to rescue more people from the Citidomes. At the same time, Joy is encountering the turbulent world of love and relationships for the first time, and when that love is at odds with the needs of her family and community, it sets off a chain of events that will change them all forever.

Forbidden Alliance is a really interesting step change from the more straight-forward escape story of Future Perfect. Setting the book sixteen years in the future has allowed Mountfort to introduce more depth to what was already an excellent story. Her handling of the impact external pressure have had on Cathy and Michael’s relationship, and the claustrophobic pressure of living in quite an insular community, is excellently done.

I found myself personally less involved in the love triangle at the heart of Joy’s story but this is more to do with what interests me rather than any fault with the writing, which captures all the earnestness and heartache of young love to the full. I’m sure the target demographic of this YA novel will lap this storyline up.

Overall this is an excellent middle book to the trilogy, bringing in new storylines, adding depth and setting things up nicely for the third and final part. If you are a fan of YA dystopian novels, you really should give this series a try. Recommended.

To buy Forbidden Alliance from Amazon.co.uk click here

To buy Forbidden Alliance from Amazon.com click here

Recommended reads are either independently published books – or those that are published via a small press – that I have bought and enjoyed. They are part of a commitment to ‘pay it forward’ to other independent authors by buying their work and promoting those that I have enjoyed, both here and on Amazon and Goodreads. I don’t accept submissions but instead focus on people who have helped or inspired me through their blogging or who actively support other writers, but I only recommend those books I have personally enjoyed. If you are an independent author I would encourage you to do the same and help pay it forward to the community. For more information please see my blog post here.

Yesterday Road is now just 99 cents

Yesterday Road was one of my books of last year, a beautifully written tale about a man looking to get home and finding so much more, so this is an absolute steal. Hurry, while the offer lasts!

WHAT THE HELL

yesterday road small-cover

You heard me right. To build up uncontainable excitement for the December 8th release of Town Father in Kindle format, I’ll be running sales on my other two indie titles. From now till the release, you can nab Yesterday Road for 99 cents.

Occasional Soulmates will go on sale for 99 cents on December 3rd.

Meanwhile, you can pre-order Town Father for a neatly affordable $2.99. (Be among the proud, and the few!)

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Reading Recommendations Celebrates 2 Years of Promoting Authors and Their Books!

I’m a little late on this as I’ve been tucked away editing my book (while ignoring the banging and crashing of builders) but the wonderful Susan Toy is celebrating the second anniversary of her Reading Recommendations blog.
For those who don’t know her, Susan is a great supporter of indie writers and is a big proponent of paying something back to the community. She works tirelessly searching out new, wonderful writers and promotes them on the condition that those writers reciprocate to others in the writing community.
She is one of blogging’s good guys and if you’ve not done so already, please go over to her blog and say hi. She’s even running a series of giveaways donated by writers she’s helped in the past. Having read some of these books and recommended them myself, you really should get over there quick before they all go!

Many congratulations, Susan! I would be happy to donate a free epub or mobi of both Second Chance or Absent Souls in celebration of your great work and as thanks for all the support you’ve given me. Here’s to the next two years and more!

Reading Recommendations

IT’S CELEBRATION TIME!

I’m so thrilled to be able to share this celebration of Reading Recommendations’ 2nd Anniversary with so many of the authors and friends who have made the blog what it is today! Since Nov. 18, 2013, I have been promoting Authors on this blog – more than 250 of you!! – to a readership that is worldwide in scope. What began as a way of getting the word out about a few of us has blossomed into an effective means of increasing awareness of books, authors, reading and writing far beyond what I ever believed to be possible! Thank you to everyone – subscribers, readers, authors, publishers, editors – all of you who have read and/or contributed to this blog in one way or another. Please continue to share the information you find here so that other readers may discover Authors and their Books – Great Reading…

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Writespiration #66 2 Sentence Horror Story

If you’re looking for a writing prompt, you should visit Sacha Black’s blog. She’s always looking at creative ways to get the writing juices flowing and this was one I couldn’t resist. How about you have a go, too?

Sacha Black

2 Sentence Horror Story
One of my ongoing series is about villains and creating the scariest, most evil of all bad guys. A friend showed me this concept somewhere else so I thought it would be nice to break up the NaNo-age with a bit of a trip to the dark side.

Two sentences… make em as scary as you can… Here’s mine:

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My starter motor

 

Writers block copy

Those of you who are regular followers of my blog may have noticed a paucity of posts over recent weeks. I could say it’s because I’ve been focussing on my latest book, and while this is partly true, it’s not the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

I’m still awaiting feedback from one of my beta readers for the last instalment of the Transcendence Trilogy before I can crack on with the next round of edits. While it’s frustrating is some respects I also completely understand the amount of time and commitment it takes to give quality feedback. Also, a part of me is happy to put off finishing the Transcendence Trilogy. It’s been a part of my life for over three years and while I know how the story ends, I’m not yet ready to hand my characters over to the world. I’m like a parent adjusting a child’s hair and correcting imaginary issues with their collar before they go into class for their first-day at school. I don’t want to let go. In the meantime I’m in the process of getting the cover developed as well as writing the promotional blurb ready for launch, but this hasn’t taken up all my time. I’ve also developed the outline of the book I plan to write next, which I’m very excited about, but this too has been finished for a while.

Then there is the fact I’m currently living on a building site. As a typical optimist I thought having a major extension to my house built would have little impact on my writing.

I was wrong.

It’s fair to say I’ve been distracted. It’s hard to write when the drilling downstairs is so loud that vibrations send your keyboard skittering across your desk. Then there are the times when I’d prefer not to be at my desk at all. While I appreciate the reassurances from my builders, I’d rather not be sat above a wall that’s being removed until somebody else proves there are enough acrow props in the right place to support my weight. Then there are the bills to pay, the daily conversations around progress, the ongoing worry about whether when the unusually warm weather will change to winter’s bite. And let’s not forget the ever-present dust.

Yet even though I’ve been distracted, if I’m totally honest the real reason you haven’t heard anything for a while is because that monster procrastination has sunk its teeth into me. With all the disruption I’ve lost the writing habit and found other things to fill the gap. Most of what I’ve already mentioned are excuses on why I can’t write, and in the classic self-hating way I know they’re just that, excuses, but have carried on wasting my time regardless.

I was asked the other day how an aspiring writer can move on to become a writer. The person in question said they’d loads of ideas for stories that they’d developed for years and had always wanted to write. How had I turned that into actually writing a book. I talked a bit about how some writers were plotters and some pantsers, I talked about the three-act structure, about developing your characters and knowing the world they live in. I talked about motivations and overcoming challenges to meet goals. But at the end I gave the blunt truth. The difference between aspiring writers and writers is that writers put in the work and aspiring writers don’t. It’s all about bum on seat time.

Exactly what I’ve not been doing.

So this post is my starter motor, the push I need to get me back into the writing habit so I can finish my novel and start another. It is the first step on the next stage of my journey, the slight glance I need to fall back in love. Wish me luck!

 

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Recommended Reads: The Girl Who Tweeted Wolf by Nick Bryan

The Girl Who Tweeted Wolf

The Description

“If we get 400 followers, John Hobson will solve that nasty wolf-murder case for free! Fight the thing himself if he has to! #HobsonVsWolf!”

Angelina Choi was only trying to drum up some Twitter followers and make a good impression on her first day interning at John Hobson’s one-man detective agency.

But the campaign went viral and now they have a murder to solve, no money coming in, and an unwilling Hobson faced with battling some enormous beast.

With both follower and body counts rising, can they crack the case without offending everyone or being eaten by a huge dog?

The Girl Who Tweeted Wolf is the first case starring Hobson & Choi, a bickering, mismatched detective duo for 21st century London. This book collects the debut storyline of the hit darkly comic crime web serial, extensively rewritten and improved for this definitive edition.

 

The Review

This is a book I shouldn’t have liked. I bought it due to the great cover (it’s designed by DesignforWriters who also created the covers for my books and I saw the book on their Facebook page) and because the premise sounded interesting. However, after the first few pages I realised it was, while not exactly a cozy mystery, something along those lines, and I usually don’t get along with this type of story.

But something strange happened. I read the book in two days, really enjoyed it and I’m not sure why.

The tone of the writing is YA but the subject matter (and the swearing) is a lot more adult, there were times when Choi came out with things that didn’t ring true for a girl of her age, and the suspects had a distinct lack of empathy for the victims that bordered on the pathological, yet it was engagingly written, funny in places and I enjoyed the world Nick Bryan created.

If you’re looking for an easy murder mystery with a modern twist and a unique pairing, I recommend this book.

To buy The Girl Who Tweeted Wolf from Amazon.co.uk click here

To buy The Girl Who Tweeted Wolf from Amazon.com click here

Recommended reads are either independently published books – or those that are published via a small press – that I have bought and enjoyed. They are part of a commitment to ‘pay it forward’ to other independent authors by buying their work and promoting those that I have enjoyed, both here and on Amazon and Goodreads. I don’t accept submissions but instead focus on people who have helped or inspired me through their blogging or who actively support other writers, but I only recommend those books I have personally enjoyed. If you are an independent author I would encourage you to do the same and help pay it forward to the community. For more information please see my blog post here.