‘Aurora’ by David Koepp is sure to make quite an impact this year. Set in the present day, it is the story of a family and their struggles to survive the aftermath of a solar storm – a CME (Coronal Mass Ejection). The event causes electrical power to go out across the world, and no-one knows how long it will last. Aubrey and her stepson have to find a way to work together to get through a complete change in their lives and those of their neighbours. They soon discover just how much we rely on electricity for every aspect of our lives. Going back to a pre-electrical era is scary. Aubrey’s billionaire brother foresaw such an event and has plans in place to ride out the storm. But life doesn’t always work out the way you plan. How will society cope with being thrown back into what seems like the Stone Age?
I must admit to loving disaster movies, so this book was right up my street. In fact the book is going to be made into a movie. I was not surprised to hear this, as it is perfect for such an adaptation. David Koepp is a well-known screenwriter, and it shows in the structure of the novel. It is wonderfully descriptive, with short, punchy scenes that captured my imagination.
The story is told from various characters’ point of view and lets us see how all levels of society deal with such a cataclysmic event. It’s about finding strength in adversity. Some thrive, and some become an even worse version of themselves. It’s about learning and taking responsibility.
‘The Others’ is a thought-provoking dystopian story, full of tension and adventure. Em is a scientist, and along with her wife Lise, has been hiding in a bomb shelter for ten months. The world, and specifically the United States, went crazy after the last election, and the other superpowers took advantage. Now that the cities are presumably destroyed, groups of survivors try their best to live with what is left. Once on the outside again Em and Lise become aware of other people who managed to keep going. But who can they trust? And what will life mean after the war?
Annette Mori uses truth and imagination and mixes them to make a compelling story that kept me up into the wee hours reading. There are some tense and disturbing moments – some of them not too far off the mark from our reality. And that makes the story all the more powerful. The main characters were appealing, strong women, and it is through their interactions with the people they meet, that we see just what it takes to survive. I was hooked from page one and couldn’t put it down.
Shivers ran down my spine reading this book. The author, Christina Sweeney-Baird, could never have known just how prophetic she was being when she wrote it, but it is astounding how much she has predicted. The world is in the grip of a viral pandemic that only affects men. Dr Amanda MacLean tried to warn the authorities, but no-one was willing to listen. Men soon realise the folly of ignoring her warnings as they begin to die. What follows are first-person accounts by women from all over the world, documenting the fall of the male-dominated patriarchal society we knew, and the rise of a female-led one. The storytelling is wonderful – perfectly paced, with an immediacy and emotional intensity that made me gasp. She amps up the tension, opening out the story as the virus spreads, and lets us see how society could be if women were in charge. If I had read this last year, before the pandemic, it would still have been a great story, but this year makes it even more so. I could not put it down. ‘The End Of Men’ deserves to be the hit book of the year.
Congratulations to the winners of the 2019 Lesfic Bard Awards. I was delighted see such an amazing list of Lesfic authors honoured in this year’s awards. I’ve had the pleasure of reading many of these books over the past year and hope that their success in the awards will point more WLW readers in their direction.
In the Fantasy Section the winner was Alison Naomi Holt for ‘Duchess Rampant’. The Mystery Section was won by Anne Hagan for her fantastic story ‘Steel City Confidential’. Annette Mori won the Romance Award for ‘A Window To Love’, one of my favourites of last year. Elle Hyden won for Best Cover, for her debut novel ‘Lost & Found’. Iza Moreau won the Young Adult section for ‘Tank Baby’, and Jane Alden won the Fiction section with ‘Jobyna’s Blues’, a wonderful story told over two time periods, with a starring role for one of our favourite lesbian stars of the 60s. K Aten won in the Drama category for her powerful story, ‘Burn it Down’. Karen D Badger won two awards – the historical section and the Action Adventure category for ‘Over the Crescent Moon’. Madeleine Taylor scooped the erotica prize for ‘The Good Girl’. McGee Matthews won the New Author award for ‘Moving Violations’ and Rachel Ford took the Science Fiction award for ‘Black Flag: Safe Passage’.
I found it so difficult to narrow down my list of favourite books this year. And even more difficult put them in order of preference. I loved them all. So, this is my top twelve, and in alphabetical order. I highly recommend all of these books and will certainly be re-reading them again in 2020.
‘Courier’s Run’ by Ennis Rook Bashe is set in a dystopian Scotland. Courier is one of many sisters engineered to thrive and survive in a post-apocalyptic world. She’s supposed to follow orders and work against the remaining humans, but this clone has a mind of her own. When she gets to meet real people, and one especially, she has to decide where her priorities lie.
This novella certainly grabbed my interest.The world-building was well done, and I wanted to know more about this particular version of Scotland. The premise was a mixture of dystopian, sci-fi, paranormal and romance. And I liked how the elements came together. Seeing the world and the people through Courier’s eyes made me realise that I’d like to find out more about how it all came to be – and what happens next to Courier and Sear. A good story with hints of more to come.
‘The Rise of the Resistance’ is a dystopian vision of a future where climate change could not be stopped in time. It’s an excellent story of people who have been waiting so long to fight back against tyranny. The parallels to the situation in the USA now are stark and profound
It’s a story that acts as a warning.
Arrow has trained her whole life to protect Phoenix One, the woman who is destined to lead the Resistance when they need her most. Kaelyn Trapp has been cryogenically frozen as part of the Phoenix Project and willingly takes on the mantle of leader. They are powerfully drawn to each other but can they resist? Will giving in jeopardise the important work they have to do?
I was really impressed by Jackie D’s story and felt it had a truth and reality to it. She brought to life an America where things had gone badly wrong, but she gave me hope that all was not lost. The world she has imagined was compelling and the characters were so well developed. Arrow and Kaelyn felt right together but whether they could ever take that step had me wishing and hoping. Arrow was loyal and strong and determined. Kaelyn was brilliant and the person one would want to lead in a fight for good. The bad guys were truly despicable. And the fact that I could imagine such a scenario was scary. I just hope this book gets the coverage it deserves. I highly recommend it.
This is a story that will stay with me. Dani, Alice and Joy are friends planning a trip to New York before careers take them in different directions. Alice’s sister Paige is foisted upon them and Dani seems more affected than the others by this. When Paige disappears they are all distraught but Dani can’t stop looking and dedicates her life to finding her.
‘The Amnesia Project’ is a fantastic dystopian romance with a story that has so many layers. I never knew who to trust or where it was going to go. I learned not to make assumptions when reading this novel. Barbara Winkes surprised me again and again.The reason for Paige’s disappearance was shocking but worryingly not at all unbelievable. Once you’ve read it you will know why.
Dani was tenacious and her loyalty to Paige never wavered. She found herself in peril, threatened and warned off but never gave up. Paige had an underlying strength and maturity that shone through. I liked her approach from the start and was with Dani all the way as she tried to find answers to where Paige had gone and why. I was very impressed with this book and give it 5 Stars.
I was given this ARC in return for an honest review.
I love the start of a great new series. ‘Kai’s Heart’ by Renee Mackenzie is the first in the Karst Series and published by Affinity EBook Press. Kai Brodie is the daughter of a famous resistance general and ends up in a prison run by the Anointed. She is stunned at her unexpected attraction to one of the guards but can’t deny it. This dystopian adventure is set in an America of the future, where religious bigotry has led to zealots perverting faith as a means of controlling those who disagree with them. It has very interesting parallels for today’s America.
I found the world Renee Mackenzie imagined fascinating and look forward to finding out much more in the rest of the series she has planned. The relationship between Kai and Rachel is complex and has depth. Their interactions with the others involved in fighting for peace felt real. I like where it’s going and thoroughly enjoyed it.
I was given this ARC in return for an honest review .