Thursday, 24 January 2019

A Heart in the Right Place by Heide Goody and Iain Grant + #Giveaway + #Excerpt

A Heart in the Right Place by Heide Goody and Iain Grant
Published by Pigeon Park Press on the 30th November 2018.

Add A Heart In The Right Place to your Goodreads

All Nick wants to do is take his dying father for a perfect father-son weekend in the Scottish Highlands. It’s not much to ask, is it? A log cabin, a roaring fire, a bottle of fine whisky and two days to paper over the cracks in their relationship.

However, Nick didn’t plan on making the trip with a dead neighbour in the back of his car. Or the neighbour’s dog. He really didn’t plan on being pursued by a psychotic female assassin intent on collecting body parts. And he really, really didn’t plan on encountering a platoon of heavily armed mercenaries, or some very hungry boars, or a werewolf.

A Heart in the Right Place - a horror comedy about setting out with the very best intentions and then messing everything up.


A Heart in the Right Place is a comedy horror about Nick and his dad who go on a holiday to the Scottish Highlands with (for very odd reasons), their neighbour’s body in the boot of the car. Unfortunately for them, a very nasty woman called Finn wants to get hold of that body. We meet Finn in this extract…

The flat was on the fifth floor. There was the ammonia stink of stale piss in the hallway. 
Adam gave a firm knock, brushing at his knuckles with a look of distaste. 
A few moments later the door was opened. The man on the other side was short and unshaven, wearing a grey hoodie and jogging bottoms; the kind Americans called sweatpants. He probably did more sweating than jogging. It looked like his four main food groups were lager, cigarettes, porn and Jeremy Kyle. He probably supplemented it with cheap cider as one of his five-a-days.
This was not Oz, Finn could see. Adam had reached the same conclusion. “Oh, hi. We’re looking for Oz. Is he in?”
The man shook his head and was closing the door even as he was mumbling, “No, man. He’s gone down the Asda, like—”
Finn stepped into the gap, slammed back the door and shoved past the fat scruff.
“Eh! Eh!” he exclaimed. “You can’t do that. You the bizzies? The social? You need a warrant.”
Finn ignored him and checked the flat. There were two bedrooms, unoccupied. She had to fling wide the scrappy curtains in one to be sure there wasn’t someone hiding beneath the crusty mound of duvet on the bed.
“This is my home!” protested sweatpants.
She turned to him, held up her Polaroid. “Name?”
She took his photo. “Name?”
“Wait, man. I’m Shaun.”
“Where’s Oz?”
“I need to see some ID.”
She ignored him, pushed out into the cramped hallway as she shook the photo to dry it. Adam was checking the bathroom.
“Some people,” he muttered. “You should see the state of the toilet.”
She ignored him and went through to the lounge. It was less a lounge and more of an Aladdin’s cave; one from a version of the story where Aladdin uncovered a hoard of stolen electronics, tanks of exotic pets, and the remains of a month’s worth of takeaways. 
Shaking her head, Finn casually inspected the stacked boxes of electronic white goods.
“It’s all legit!” whined Shaun.
Finn flipped a box open. Down the side of a plastic toaster was a silica gel sachet, usually included to absorb minor quantities of moisture. This sachet was filled with methamphetamine. She didn’t get involved with the distribution side of the business, but she knew this was one of the ways they shipped the drugs over from Ireland.
“Oz,” she said, simply.
Shaun had a bottle of vodka in his hand. He took a mouthful. He was nervous and jiggled like he had the DTs or was going to piss himself. “Who the fuck are ya, eh?”
 “You said Oz has gone out somewhere?” said Adam, stepping inside the lounge, blocking the exit.
“I have nothing to say to you,” said Shaun. There was a slur in his voice: a note of drunken bravado. That would need sorting out, quickly. “But you—” He gave Finn a wet-lipped leer.
She reached down and gently took the vodka bottle from his hand, maintaining eye contact before smashing the bottle over Shaun’s head. He slumped against a wall of boxes, barely staying upright.
“I cannot believe you did that,” said Adam.
“Seriously, you drank from that filthy bottle? This whole place is disgusting beyond words!”
“Chair,” she repeated, pointing to a dining chair. It had one splintered leg repaired with parcel tape. A tape gun, which had been used to reseal some of the open boxes, was on the threadbare seat. Adam handed it over. Finn hauled the semi-conscious Shaun into the chair.
She went into the kitchenette. The cat leapt aside. Finn opened the drawers to see what knives Shaun had in. It was the lucky dip of wet work. Crap kitchens were better than fully stocked ones: more pleasantly challenging with dope heads than, say, well-to-do rogue accountants. A cutlery drawer in a place like this would have a very limited selection, an invitation to get creative. She once had to do a four hour torture session with nothing but a plastic spatula and a potato masher. This cutlery drawer— Her hand hovered between a short fruit knife, a lever-armed corkscrew, and a fork with a bent tine. Of course, she could use the blade Adam had given her to extract Oz’s heart, but Finn enjoyed variety in her work.
A toaster on the counter matched the ones in the boxes in the lounge. A white kettle clearly came from the same range. Shaun and Oz had been sampling the goods. 
“Put the kettle on,” she told Adam.
He tutted, looking through cupboards for clean mugs. “I’m going to have to wash up if we want a drink. Not that we have time.”
Finn ignored him grumbling about the filthy dishcloth, taking the corkscrew and toaster back into the lounge. Shaun was mumbling groggily. Finn took Shaun’s left hand, inserted it into the toaster and strapped it in place with a dozen circuits of the tape gun. Shaun wasn’t waking, not quite yet. He was like one of the giant insects or slumbering toads in the translucent tanks by the wall. Not aware; not focussed.
The kettle came to the boil. Adam rinsed a trio of cups, rubbing them gingerly with his fingertips under the tap, all the while pulling a face. Finn picked up the kettle, carried it over to Shaun and poured the contents into his lap.
His screaming made Adam drop the mugs. “For fuck’s sake!”
“Awake now?” Finn asked. “Focused?”
Shaun screamed, tried to stand, to pat and waft his parboiled groin. He saw the toaster taped to his hand and screamed some more. Finn pushed him back into the chair with ease.
“Shush, now,” she said.

Meet the authors

Heide Goody is the stupid one in the writing partnership and Iain Grant is the sensible one. Together, they are the authors of over a dozen books.

The ‘Clovenhoof’ series (in which Satan loses his job and has to move to Birmingham) has recently been optioned by a Hollywood production company.

Heide and Iain are both married, but not to each other.

Author links: 
Website ~ Facebook ~ Heide's Twitter ~ Iain's Twitter

And now it's time for the Giveaway!

Win a gorgeous Moleskine Passion Traveller's Journal (Open Internationally until the 27th January)

"The Moleskine Traveller’s Journal is a structured before and after record of every journey you make, from weekends away to life-changing trips and everything in between. Note down your travel plans before you leave and list all the things you hope to see and do, then add maps, photos, tickets and keepsakes when you r#eturn. The Traveller’s Journal is a place to dream, get practical and create a unique and lasting paper archive of your travels that you’ll want to revisit again and again."

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

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Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Heide Goody and Iain Grant / Horror fiction / Books from England

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Mamachari Matchmaker by S J Pajonas #FreeBook

Mamachari Matchmaker (Kami No Sekai, #3) by S J Pajonas
Self published in America in March 2015.

M for my 2019 Alphabet Soup Challenge

How I got this book:
Downloaded a free copy to celebrate the author's birthday. Happy Birthday Stephanie! (Get your free copy Through This Link until Feb 1st)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Buy Directly

from the Author

This bike longs to be owned by a family with kids but is bought by a quiet, cosplaying, young woman instead. 

How will Mamachari help Eriko to find true love? 


Shhh… Listen To The Gods. 

The Japanese believe the gods live in all things. Trees, appliances, animals, buildings — they all have a spirit living within them. Maybe, if you listen carefully, you can hear them too.

Mamachari Matchmaker is a sweet short story set in Tokyo and partially narrated by a bicycle - well, the god living inside this particular bicycle anyway. Mamacharis are an everyday family bicycle in Japan (Mama Chariot?) frequently to be seen on errands loaded up with small children and groceries. So  it makes perfect sense that Eriko's new Mamachari bicycle would be pushing her towards finding romance. However, unlike some of Eriko's friends, the Mamachari doesn't want her to pretend to be someone she isn't just in order to snag a man.

I really liked shy Eriko. In her own world of manga and cosplay she is perfectly at home, but when confronted by other social situations she panics, blushing and believing everything she says is ridiculous. I can certainly empathise with that! The Mamachari is a fun character with a refreshingly dry sense of humour. Having spent ages in the bicycle shop before Eriko arrived, this god knows feeling unwanted is like. It can understand why Eriko doesn't put herself forward and can whisper advice from the sidelines - unheard by anyone else. I didn't have any problem believing in the reality of Eriko and her talking Mamachari bicycle and was swiftly drawn in to their quest, rooting for Eriko to find her happily ever after.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by S J Pajonas / Romance fiction / Books from America

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

The Princess of Baker Street by Mia Kerick + #Giveaway + #Excerpt

The Princess of Baker Street by Mia Kerick
Published in America by Harmony Ink Press today, the 22nd January 2019.

Add The Princess Of Baker Street to your Goodreads

Always wear your imaginary crown is Joey Kinkaid's motto.

For years, Joey, assigned male at birth, led the Baker Street kids in daring and imaginative fantasy adventures, but now that they're teenagers, being a princess is no longer quite so cool. Especially for a child who is seen by the world as a boy.

Eric Sinclair has always been Joey's best friend and admirer - Prince Eric to Joey's Princess Ariel - but middle school puts major distance between them. As Eric's own life takes a dangerous turn for the worse, he stands by and watches as Joey - who persists in dressing and acting too much like a Disney princess for anybody's comfort - gets bullied. Eric doesn't like turning his back on Joey, but he's learned that the secret to teenage survival, especially with an absent mother, is to fly under the radar.

But when Joey finally accepts who she is and comes to school wearing lip gloss, leggings, and a silky pink scarf, the bullies make her life such a misery that she decides to end it all. Eric, in turn, must decide who he really is and what side he wants to stand on though no matter what he chooses, the consequences with be profound for both teens, and they'll face them for years to come. Is there a chance the two teens can be friends again, and maybe even more?


Every day’s basically the same—it’s like the lunchtime bullying plan is set in stone, and it’s only the end of September. And it’s way worse than it was last year, even though he sat alone then too. Travis gets to sit at the jock table, seeing as he’s on the county football team. He starts in on Joey as soon as he sets his rear end on the bench and drops his lunch tray onto the sticky table. For Travis, “bullying Josie” is sort of like a bad habit he just can’t kick. But I’m pretty sure he’d say it’s more like a hobby he’s real good at.
“All the way through sixth grade, Kinkaid wore a dress, like, every day after school—I kid you not.” He announces this loud enough for the jocks and the entire hot-girl table, and of course, lonely Joey, to hear. And even though Joey wasn’t hiding that he wore his mom’s purple dress after school when we all played together, blabbing about it makes me feel like we’re ratting him out.
An imaginary knife stabs into my gut and twists around. I try not to squirm and to keep my face blank, but it’s next to impossible because my belly hurts like I’m having a baby.
“You’ve got to be kidding me—he wore a freaking dress?” Miles Maroney is always the first guy to jump in whenever things start getting mean and dirty. “But I betcha Josie looked cute, if you go for gays.”
We all laugh, and I mean all of us.
I laugh even though I don’t want to. Because I still remember how it was: Joey was the Princess of Baker Street, and Travis and Emily and Lily and me all looked up to him as much as middle school kids look up to the guys on the soccer team now. Joey was the neighborhood kid with all the best ideas. None of us cared what he wore out to play—not even Travis.
“What a freaking princess!” yells Noah Mayer, and we all laugh some more because Noah is the starting forward on the soccer team, and we pretty much have to laugh at everything he says when he’s trying to be funny, or he won’t pass to us. Maybe I forgot to pay my brain bill, but I know how shit like this works.

Meet the Author 

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children: one in law school, another a professional dancer, a third studying at Mia's alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son, heading off to college. (Yes, the nest is finally empty.) She has published more than twenty books of LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing scholarship essays. Her husband of twenty-five years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don't ask Mia about this, as it's a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled people in complex relationships. She has a great affinity for the tortured hero in literature, and as a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of tortured heroes and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to her wonderful publishers for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories. Her books have been featured in Kirkus Reviews magazine, and have won Rainbow Awards for Best Transgender Contemporary Romance and Best YA Lesbian Fiction, a Reader Views Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, an Indie Fab Award, and a Royal Dragonfly Award for Cultural Diversity, a Story Monsters Purple Dragonfly Award for Young Adult e-book Fiction, among other awards.

Mia Kerick is a social liberal and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Author links:
WebsiteFacebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads

And now it's time for the Giveaway!

Win a $10 Amazon gift card.
Open internationally until the 31st January.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Mia Kerick / Young adult fiction / Books from America

Monday, 21 January 2019

By Any Means by James Morris + #Giveaway + #Excerpt

By Any Means by James Morris
Published in America in November 2018.

Add By Any Means to your Goodreads

How Far Would You Go To Save Your Son?

Lucas Turner is an ordinary teenager with an extraordinary genetic mutation: the cure for cancer rests in his body. When his father discovers that the only way to harvest the cure will result in the death of his son, he kidnaps him from the hospital, setting off a calamity of events from which there is no turning back. Meanwhile, the doctor, intent on a cure at any cost, hires a female bounty hunter to bring the boy back by any means. She's never failed before and doesn't intend to fail now. While on the run, the estranged father and son build a relationship on the road that brings them closer to the mistakes of the past and the consequences of the future.

By Any Means is a literary thriller, and at its core is about a relationship between a father and son against all odds. The remedy, after all, may be less about science and more the human heart.


It was dawn when they entered the city after climbing circuitous mountain roads, and Keith was thankful in the dark not to have seen the drop-offs near the road’s edge. He wondered how many people succumbed to the small voice in their heads that enticed them to jump. The elevation was higher here, and he felt it in his lungs. That’s what smoking would do to you. 
He had to stop at five different gas stations before he found someone who’d let him use a phone. Cell phones, it seemed, had killed the payphone. Keith dialed 411 and got Grace’s home address, and then directions from a helpful customer. The last thing he asked, “What day is it?” earned him a strange look before he got his answer: Saturday.
Grace lived in a bungalow surrounded by pine trees and a small yard. Not the best neighborhood, but not the worst, either. An economy car was parked in her driveway. He looked for any signs of a family; he didn’t remember if she lived alone and was relieved when he scanned her car to see there wasn’t one of those decals of a happy stick figure family on the back window. 
As they waited, Lucas asked, “Who’s this Grace woman?”
“A girl I used to date in high school.”
“Is she a freak?”
“No.” Keith paused, insulted. “I don’t date freaks.”
Lucas didn’t argue, only giving him a “whatever” look.
“Why do you think I date freaks?”
“Really, Dad?”
“Yeah, really.”
“Let’s see.” Lucas squinted his eyes, remembering, counting the women on his fingers. “Laurie was a stripper, Ginger should’ve been. Kathy was an alcoholic, Heidi was a ‘masseuse.’”
“She was a masseuse. A real one.”
Lucas continued, “Kimberly gave off a vibe like she wanted to kill me and Susan kinda wanted to touch me.”
“Did she?”
“No, but I could tell she would have. And those were just the ones I remember or the ones I actually met. God knows how you filtered out the rest from even coming home.”
“Okay,” Keith admitted, “some of them were not up to par, but not as a rule.”
“That’s one way of putting it. So what’s Grace’s defect?”
“Defect?” Keith shook his head and considered. “I guess I was.”
“When’s the last time you talked to her?”
“Almost ten years.”
Lucas’s eyes went wide. “Ten years?”
“Ten years for adults isn’t the same as kids.”
But it was still too long. He motioned for Lucas to follow him as he got out of the car and they approached the door. 
“Will she even remember you?”
Of that, Keith had no doubt. His hand hovered over the doorbell.
“What are you waiting for?”
“I don’t know.”
And he pressed the button.

Meet the Author 

James Morris is a former television writer who now works in digital media. When not writing, you can find him scoping out the latest sushi spot, watching 'House Hunters Renovation', or trying new recipes in the kitchen. He lives with his wife and dog in Los Angeles.

Author links:
WebsiteFacebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads

And now it's time for the Giveaway!

Win a $25 Amazon gift card.
Open internationally until the 31st January.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by James Morris / Thrillers / Books from America

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Winter's Heist by Emily Duvall + #Giveaway + Q&A

Winter's Heist by Emily Duvall
Published in America on the 6th December 2019.

Add Winter's Heist to your Goodreads

Beautiful. Haunting. Rare.

The Faberge Eggs are on display at the Carter Museum of History and Science. Jason Hood, the museum's pretentious owner, knows their value is bound to attract attention, but the coordinated attack on the exhibit is not something he saw coming. A field trip to the museum for Amara Massey and her students takes a deadly turn. She finds herself at the center of a police investigation with few leads. Convinced Amara is withholding information, Jason pursues her to get the answers he cannot get on his own. The outcome neither of them expect is their surprising need for each other. What must they sacrifice to get everything they want?

Q and A with Emily Duvall

Q: What is the first book that made you cry? 
A: Not the first book, but a scene from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Harry witnesses Cedric’s death-I think I was just riding on the emotion of the series and then when that scene hit, I just started to cry. The dialogue and actions were beautifully written.

Q: What are some traps aspiring writers should avoid? 
A: It is important for writers to create the story they want to write. I’ve made the mistake of letting people review manuscripts too early, and then making every little change. Feedback is extremely valuable, but there is a time and a place for incorporating suggestions and building confidence for what must stay and what should go. A writer can lose valuable writing time changing every detail based on each suggestion. Bottom line? Trust your vision. 

Q: Have you ever gotten reader’s block? 
A: Big yes. I was just telling a friend that I’ve been in a reading slump the last few months. I think it’s because I see the story from a writer’s POV now or maybe because there are so many choices for books in every genre, that it can feel overwhelming with what to pick and what to read.  

Q: As a writer, what would you choose as your avatar or spirit animal? 
A: Big Foot. It reminds me of Indie Authors. We’re out there and we’re writing and publishing even if you can’t see us. 

Q: What’s the best way to market your books?
A: Word-of-mouth is still the most powerful tool, but with social media, I like engaging in readers that I follow on Instagram or Twitter and asking them to beta read. If they like the story, they’ll do these amazing posts with the cover of the book and reach far more readers than I can do on my own. 

Q: Do you view writing as a spiritual practice?
A: Yes. The heart has so much to say. 

Q: How do you select the names of your characters?
A: I look up names on baby naming websites. They’re all there with rankings and popularity. Mostly though, I just look to see if a name catches my attention. 

Q: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find? 
A: Yes, there’s always the occasional inside joke or word choice that is based on someone I know. Whether they pick up on it, I can’t say _

Q: What is your favorite childhood book? 
A: Nothing’s Fair in the Fifth Grade by Barthe DeClements 

Q: Do you believe in writer’s block? 
A: Absolutely. I was at a writing retreat a few years ago and Sylvia Day was the guest speaker. She said that writer’s block means that something is wrong with your story and that point resonated. Now instead of wasting time trying to move forward if I’m stuck, I go back and re-read the chapters before, and that usually unlocks the problem and the solution. 

Meet the Author 

Emily loved reading books as a young girl and filled up her journals with characters (both real and not). Romance is her favorite genre to write. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two children. She loves hearing from fans and readers.

Author links:
WebsiteInstagram ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads

And now it's time for the Giveaway!

Open internationally until the 31st January.
One signed paperback (Winner can choose either Winter's Heist or Back to You, both romantic suspense) and get this cute mug. Winner number two will get a signed paperback (same as above) and a $15 gift card to Homegoods (one of the author's favorite stores).

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Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Emily Duvall / Romance fiction / Books from America

Saturday, 19 January 2019

All Things by Amber Belldene

All Things by Amber Belldene
Self published in America in September 2018.

A book with a Vegetarian/Vegan Character

How I got this book:
Bought the ebook from Amazon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A priest and a rabbi walk into a lesbian bar…

If something is unjust in San Francisco’s Mission District, the Reverend Alma Lee will face it down. She leads her vibrant church of St. Giles’ with compassion and sass. Her busy days involve match-making, meddling, and saving the city’s beloved lesbian landmark, The Carlos Club. Alma meets the intriguing Rabbi Naomi Cohen there, and she’s smitten. 

Death comes to the church’s door…

When the proprietor of The Carlos Club turns up dead on the steps of St. Giles’, Naomi’s brother is the number one suspect. She needs help exonerating him, and Alma’s knowledge of the neighborhood makes her the perfect priest to solve the case. If only Alma’s ex-boyfriend, homicide detective Cesar Garza will accept her help. She still feels the pull of their old connection, but she’s convinced the sexy-smart rabbi is her perfect mate. . . Too bad Naomi is playing by different rules.

Can Alma solve the case before the murderer silences her forever? 

About the Reverend Alma Lee Mystery Series
Meet the Rev. Alma Lee, the next priest-detective in a long line of clergy sleuths from Father Brown to Clare Fergusson, Brother Cadfael to Sydney Chambers. Only, instead of a rural village, Alma’s turf is San Francisco—gritty, gay, and glorious. Her methods border on the absurd, and she has more attractive admirers than anyone who’s taken holy orders has a right to. If she's on the case, the murderer doesn't stand a chance.

All Things was recommended to me as a Veganuary read by Andreea at Cheeky Lines because its central character, the wonderful Reverend Alma Lee, is vegan. I loved Rev. Alma! Part Latina and part Chinese, she grew up in the San Francisco Mission district where she now ministers so understands its people and their foibles. Alma was only fairly recently appointed to St Giles, a struggling Church, but her scatterbrained blend of prayer meetings and pastoral care is making St Giles popular again with worshippers of all genders and sexualities. She is surrounded by a good supporting cast of distinctive characters that I look forward to getting to know better in future books. I don't tend to read Christian fiction so was a little wary of this aspect of All Things. However, although Alma is a preacher herself, she doesn't actually preach to her readers. This novel is crime fiction that happens to be set around a church, rather than religious fiction that happens to include a crime. I'm giving extra points for the Vicar Of Dibley mention too!

I liked the way Belldene takes Alma, and us, through the investigation of Cindy's murder. I won't go into details so as not to inadvertently give anything away! The sparring between Alma and her Detective ex-boyfriend is great fun to read and, don't worry, they Don't head into love triangle territory! I was disappointed by proofreading errors abruptly dragging me out of the story. I can excuse a couple, especially in indie books, but there are several nonsensical sentences and an odd timeline moment too. A shame although I wouldn't let that put me off reading further Rev. Alma Lee mysteries when they are published.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Amber Belldene / Crime fiction / Books from America

Friday, 18 January 2019

UK2 by Terry Tyler

UK2 (Project Renova #3) by Terry Tyler
Self published in the UK in March 2018.

U for my 2019 Alphabet Soup Challenge and my 4th 2019 Mount TBR Challenge read

How I got this book:
Bought the ebook from Amazon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

'Two decades of social media had prepared them well for UK2.'

The pace steps up in this penultimate book in the Project Renova series, as the survivors' way of life comes under threat.

Two years after the viral outbreak, representatives from UK Central arrive at Lindisfarne to tell the islanders about the shiny new city being created down south.  UK2 governor Verlander's plan is simple: all independent communities are to be dissolved, their inhabitants to reside in approved colonies.  Alas, those who relocate soon suspect that the promises of a bright tomorrow are nothing but smoke and mirrors, as great opportunities turn into broken dreams, and dangerous journeys provide the only hope of freedom.

Meanwhile, far away in the southern hemisphere, a new terror is gathering momentum...

'I walked through that grey afternoon, past fields that nobody had tended for nearly three years, past broken down, rusty old vehicles, buildings with smashed windows.  I was walking alone at the end of the world, but I was a happy man.  I was free, at last.'

I think UK2, the third volume in Terry Tyler's Project Renova series, is the best yet! I loved seeing the contrasts between what our group of survivors had managed to create from pretty much nothing on Lindisfarne and the vast shadily-financed UK2 settlement under construction on the South Downs. Although it has only been three years since Bat Fever ran riot, some people have managed to embrace their completely different lifestyle whereas as others hanker after former securities and comforts. When scouts are sent out from UK2 to entice survivors to join the new colony, it is interesting to see who would give up freedom for the promise of hot showers and the sort of regular employment they used to have!

I appreciated the ideas discussed around the concept of freedom. UK2 offers its inhabitants the protection of high fences and armed guards. People can rebuild their lives free from threats of starvation and violent attacks from other survivors' groups. Jobs will bring financial security again with opportunities for shopping and leisure activities such as TV, cinema and the pub. Lindisfarne has a pub too, of course, and a barricade to keep outsiders out. People there must also work hard to provide food and the basics to maintain their lives, but at a precarious subsistence level that could easily be destroyed. So which life is actually freedom?

Tyler builds on the ideas from Tipping Point and Lindisfarne and I liked the mix of new characters with originals, plus the reappearances of some thought lost. UK2 keeps up a great pace throughout so this is an exciting read. I occasionally had moments where I lost track of the large cast, but their diverse situations and beliefs allows for clever and unexpected plot twists. UK2 was intended to be the final book of a trilogy and, as such, it is a blockbuster! However I now know that Tyler has written a fourth installment, Legacy. I am delighted not to have to leave the Renova world behind just yet!

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Terry Tyler / Dystopian fiction / Books from England