blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: This Fragile Earth – Susannah Wise*

Not long from now, in a recognisable yet changed London, Signy and Matthew lead a dull, difficult life. They’ve only really stayed together for the sake of their six year old son, Jed. But they’re surviving, just about. Until the day the technology that runs their world stops working. Unable to use their phones or pay for anything, Matthew assumes that this is just a momentary glitch in the computers that now run the world.But then the electricity and gas are cut off. Even the water stops running. And the pollination drones – vital to the world, ever since the bees all died – are behaving oddly. People are going missing. Soldiers are on the streets. London is no longer safe.A shocking incident sends Signy and Jed on the run, desperate to flee London and escape to the small village where Signy grew up. Determined to protect her son, Signy will do almost anything to survive as the world falls apart around them. But she has no idea what is waiting for them outside the city…

SUSUSANNAH WISE is an actor and writer who grew up in London and the Midlands. The death of her father in 2015 was the catalyst for THIS FRAGILE EARTH. His preoccupation with astronomy and the beauty of the night sky formed the jumping-off point for the story. Susannah studied at the Faber Academy, graduating in September 2018, during which time she wrote a second, more peculiar novel. Both books have been longlisted for the Mslexia prize. She lives in London with her partner and son.

My thoughts: this was a really interesting take on the end of the world fiction. Suddenly all the power has gone out and the robots we’ve outsourced so much to have started behaving weirdly. Society breaks down, because people, and Signy decides to flee London with her son. They have some encounters along the way, some frightening, some not, but the eerie feeling remains, what are the robots up to?

I felt for Signy, determined to be the best she could in a terrifying reality but I found Jed and his irritating know it all stance annoying – the way he talked to his mother like she was stupid sometimes grated. You’re alone with these two characters a lot of the time as a reader, and you do root for them to survive, the horror they’ve left behind and the way Signy’s fear gets her to cycle all the way to Northamptonshire is incredible. There is, like Pandora’s box, hope in the end thankfully. I’ve read a lot of apocalypse fiction recently (must be something in the air) and the lack of hope can be a struggle.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Rabbits – Terry Miles*

What happens in the game, stays in the game . . .

Rabbits is a secret, dangerous and sometimes fatal underground game. The rewards for winning are unclear, but there are rumours of money, CIA recruitment or even immortality. Or it might unlock the universe’s greatest secrets. But everyone knows that the deeper you get, the more deadly the game becomes – and the body count is rising. Since the game first started, ten iterations have taken place . . . and the eleventh round is about to begin.

K can’t get enough of the game and has been trying to find a way in for years. Then Alan Scarpio, reclusive billionaire and alleged Rabbits winner, shows up out of nowhere. And he charges K with a desperate mission. Something has gone badly wrong with the game and K needs to fix it – before Eleven starts – or the world will pay the price.

Five days later, Scarpio is declared missing.

Two weeks after that Eleven begins, so K blows the deadline.

And suddenly, the fate of the entire universe is at stake.

My thoughts: this is one of those books that boggles the brain a bit, but in a good way. It sort of tips reality over a bit and makes you have to think and try and figure out the puzzles alongside the characters. What is Rabbits? Why are people disappearing or dying? Can K fix it? Lots of questions and at times just not enough answers.

I was reminded of a whole bunch of books, films and even this weird story thread on Reddit, which I can’t remember the name of. Rabbits draws on all sorts of ideas about reality and puzzles, connections and misdirections. As K and various friends, new acquaintances and some very odd people dive deeper into the mysteries and rumours about this strange game, things get more and more peculiar and troubling. A clever, mind bender of a book and one that will be keeping me up at night for a while I think.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books

Book Blitz: Born in Salt – T.C. Weber

I’m thrilled to share this brand new Dystopian Thriller, Born in Salt by T.C. Weber with you all today! Read on for more details and a chance to win a digital copy of the book, in your format of choice!

PSSSST! It’s also available for review! Contact R&R Book Tours for more info!

BornInSalt_ebook_cover_FINAL

Born in Salt

Publication Date: May 1st, 2021

Genre: Alternate History/ Dystopian

Fifty years after a coup replaced President Franklin D. Roosevelt with a fascist dictatorship, America is a land of hopelessness. Ben Adamson, a 19-year-old farm boy in southern Illinois, wants only to spend his time fishing and hunting. But when his dead brother demands justice for his suspicious fate in a colonial war, Ben and Rachel, his brother’s fiancée, are drawn into an underground revolutionary movement.

After staging a rally against the war, Ben and Rachel are arrested by the Internal Security Service, who have perfected the science of breaking people. Ben is given a choice: betray the rebels, including his best friend from childhood, or Rachel will be lobotomized.

Although traumatized and addicted to a powerful drug, Ben refuses to doom anyone he cares about. Can he find a third option? Can he free Rachel and strike back at the dictatorship, while dodging the suspicions of police and rebels alike?

Excerpt

The New Bethany Town Square was a small grassy space in front of the county courthouse. Main Street split into two here, running to either side of the square and the courthouse before recombining. To the south of the square, it ran past most of the stores. To the north, it passed the city and county police stations, then a stretch of newer buildings and houses.

The year after I was born, 1965, was the twentieth anniversary of retaking the Philippines from the Japanese, forcing them into an armistice. Every town got a statue. In New Bethany, the government erected a marble Marine in the middle of the town square, rifle held high in triumph. It wasn’t an ideal spot to call for an end to war, but it was the only public space in town.

Rachel lived only a few blocks from the square, but I insisted on picking her up. The police would have seen the flyers by now, and might want to arrest her before we even started.

I was late again. Rachel stood on her front porch, wearing her funeral dress and tapping a foot. She carried a paper shopping bag in one hand, and scowled at me.

“Sorry I’m late.” At Rachel’s insistence, I’d put on my suit, and it took me forever to get the damn tie right. “Are you sure you want to do this? Talking to people one on one is a lot safer.”

Her face tightened even more. “It’s a little late to back out now. Besides, God blesses the righteous and Jake will be with us.”

I led Rachel to the truck and opened the passenger door for her. “Let’s get it over with, then.”

I parked on Lincoln Street, just off Main, and we hopped out into chilly gloom. Dark clouds gathered in the west, threatening rain. I focused on the task—swung down the tailgate and pulled out the mike and amp I’d borrowed from Jesse, the band’s bassist. He’d kill me if they got wet.

The amp had a power inverter so you could run it off a car battery. Together they weighed at least a hundred pounds, so I’d strapped them to a stand-up dolly. No mike stand, but I had enough to carry as it was. I handed Rachel the black microphone case and cables and she slipped them in her bag.

A couple dozen people were in the square, wearing coats over Sunday suits or dresses, the women’s hats sprouting feathers of near-extinct birds. I recognized Alyce and maybe half the others.

Rachel’s face fell. “I was expecting a lot more.”

“Maybe they’re afraid,” I said. “Or it’s the weather.”

“Or they don’t care. The weather is fine.” She straightened. “We’re early. More will come.”

My stomach seized. Figures squatted or lay on rooftops around the square, pointing guns and cameras.

Atop the three-story law office building, a suited man held a long-lensed camera. Next to him, a man in black body armor braced a high-powered rifle on a tripod while another peered through binoculars. Opposite the courthouse, on the First Consolidated Bank roof, more of the same. On the east side of the square, city police aimed guns out the second-floor windows of the column-fronted City Hall.

The courthouse itself had a peaked roof. After the coup, the government had added a wooden bell tower on top, from which, I supposed, you could see the whole town. Beneath the purely decorative bell, half hidden by white columns, a dark-suited man stared at us through binoculars. A sheriff’s deputy pointed a rifle with a fancy scope.

I’d never seen anything like it. Security for visiting politicians, sure, but nothing like this.

The clock on the bottom of the tower read 12:18. We had twelve minutes to prep or escape.

“Do you see the snipers?” I whispered to Rachel.

“Yes.” Her voice quivered. “But we’re not doing anything wrong. They’re just trying to intimidate us.”

She was probably right. They wouldn’t actually shoot us. Or would they? We were easy targets, standing still in the open. They could take their time and go for a head shot.

Past the bank, I spotted Paul standing outside the New Bethany Diner, sipping soda or something from a jumbo-sized paper cup. No sign of the others. Not surprising, since the group hadn’t approved our rally. And it was better Sarah wasn’t here—that would just add to my worries.

Rachel hugged Alyce and other people she recognized, then reached in her bag and pulled out my brother’s portrait, the one that had been propped on his casket at the funeral. She leaned it against the base of the soldier statue.

Behind the picture glass, Jake smiled at me. I plugged the mike into the amp and clipped the amp to the car battery. I flipped a switch and the power light turned green. I tapped the mike, and the speaker thumped.

I wanted to hurry this up and waved Rachel over. I handed her the mike. “You’re on.” The battery would last at least an hour, but I doubted we would have that long.

Rachel examined her filigreed watch. “Let’s let the crowd grow.”

I glanced at mine. 12:30.

More people arrived. But half were cops—city police, county police, state police, and eight men wearing silver long-sleeved shirts, black pants, and matching ties. Their caps bore a perched eagle clutching a saber and whip. Internal Security.

New Bethany’s gray-haired police chief paced back and forth, carrying a megaphone. The Internal Security troops stared at us, long batons and compact submachine guns fastened to their belts.

My knees shook. “Rachel, I’ve got a bad feeling. Really bad. We should go, right now.”

Available

Amazon | Kindle | Nook | Kobo | Smashwords

About Author

TW author photo

Ted Weber has pursued writing since childhood, and learned filmmaking and screenwriting in college, along with a little bit of physics. Trapped at home during the “Snowmageddon” of 2010, he transformed those interests into novel writing. His first published novel, a near-future cyberpunk thriller titled Sleep State Interrupt, was a finalist for the 2017 Compton Crook award for best first science fiction, fantasy, or horror novel. The two sequels, The Wrath of Leviathan and Zero-Day Rising, are also available. His latest release, Born in Salt, pits an Illinois farm boy against a ruthless fascist government that took power in a coup. Mr. Weber is a member of Poets & Writers and the Maryland Writers Association, and has run numerous writing workshops. By day, Mr. Weber works as an ecologist, and has had a number of scientific papers and book chapters published. He lives in Annapolis, Maryland with his wife Karen. He enjoys traveling and has visited all seven continents.

For book samples, short stories, and more, visit https://www.tcweber.com/

International Giveaway: Click the link below for a chance to win a digital copy of the book!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blitz Organized By:


R&R Book Tours

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Things to do Before the End of the World – Emily Barr*

A timely and powerful coming-of-age thriller from the bestselling author of The One Memory of Flora Banks.

What would you do when you hear the news that humans have done such damage to the earth that there might only be a limited amount of safe air left – a year’s worth at most?
You’d work through your bucket list, heal rifts, do everything you’ve never been brave enough to do before?

Olivia is struggling to do any of this. What it is she truly wants to do? Who do she wants to be?

Then out of the blue comes contact from a long-lost cousin Olivia didn’t even know existed. Natasha is everything Olivia wants to be and more. And as the girls meet up for a long, hot last summer, Olivia finds Natasha’s ease and self-confidence having an effect on her.

But Natasha definitely isn’t everything she first appears to be . . .

My thoughts: this was an interesting take on all the apocalypse fiction around at the moment – instead of a plague, the permafrost has melted releasing tons of carbon dioxide into the air, basically suffocating the world. But before that happens, people are going all out.

Libby heads to Spain with her mum and stepdad for a once in a lifetime (literally, the world ends in a month) holiday. Where they’re joined by her estranged cousin Natasha. Who isn’t entirely who she claims to be.

Hijinks ensue and Libby winds up in Paris, where things start to unravel. Can she make it home before the air runs out?

I liked Libby, I liked her determination to do things “one day”, I recognised that feeling. She was a lot stronger and more able than she felt, and as her confidence grew and she started to come out of her shell, she became more interesting and 3D.

Natasha was an interesting foil to Libby’s innocence and book smarts, with her street hustler skills and devil may care attitude, but she’s definitely not likeable. Her “take what you can” ways are cruel and manipulative, I like to think she gets her comeuppance at some point for the way she tricks people.

As someone who would die quite early in this world ending scenario (hello asthma!) I was intrigued by the idea of everyone being smothered. What about the carbon sinks? I was reading about the peat moors the other day and how they can hold an insane amount of carbon. Wouldn’t a lot of it escape into the outer atmosphere? I wish the science had been a little clearer but I suppose that like Libby and her family I wouldn’t necessarily want all the gory details about how we’re all going to die.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books

Book Blitz: The Demon of Yodak – Adria Carmichael

TheDemonofYodok

I’m happy to share YA Dystopian novel, The Demon of Yodok! Read on for book details and a chance to win a signed hardcover edition. Oh and for all of you book reviewers, you can request a copy of this exciting book from R&R Book Tours!

Juche part one - eBook - Copy

Demon of Yodok

Genre: YA Dystopian

A highly addictive Young Adult Dystopian Survival series that will keep you glued to the pages.

JUCHE [dʒuːtʃe]

Just when Areum, daughter of a privileged family in the totalitarian state of Choson, thought she was free from her personal prison, her world collapses around her as her family are taken away in the middle of the night to a hell-like camp in the mountains where people who have strayed from the righteous path are brutally re-educated through blood, sweat, tears and starvation.

There she has to fight for survival together with the family she hates and is forced to re-evaluate every aspect of her life until then – her deep resentment toward her twin sister; her view of her father in face of the mounting evidence he is a traitor with the blood of millions of fellow countrymen on his hands; and even her love and affection for the Great General – the eternal savior and protector of Choson, whom she had always considered her true father.

Add to Goodreads

Available on Amazon!

About the Author

AC Logo 2

Adria Carmichael is a writer of Young Adult Dystopian fiction with a twist. When she is not devouring dystopian and post-apocalyptic content in any format – books, movies, TV-series and PlayStation games – she is crafting the epic and highly-addictive Juche saga, her 2020 debut novel series that takes place in the brutal, totalitarian nation of Choson. When the limit of doom and gloom is reached, a 10K run on a sunny day or binging a silly sitcom on a rainy day is her go-to way to unwind.

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Giveaway: For a chance to win a signed hardcover edition of The Demon of Yodok, click the link below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveway will run from today until April 15th!

Book Blitz Organized By:

R&R Book Tours

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Fall of Koli – M.R. Carey*

Read my reviews of Part One and Part Two of The Rampart Trilogy


M. R. Carey’s Rampart Trilogy is ‘an epic post-apocalyptic fable’ (Kirkus), set in a future where nature has turned against us. Now, in the breathtaking final chapter, the world that was lost comes back to haunt those who survived – as Koli’s journey comes to its astonishing close.

My thoughts:

Koli, Cup and Ursala have made it to The Sword of Albion, but all is not right there and they and their cyber pal Monono must pull out all the stops to escape from more danger.

Meanwhile in Mythen Rood, war with Half-Ax and the so-called Peacemaker is coming and all they can do is prepare to fight. Spinner really comes into her own as she plans and schemes to get the advantage. They may be few but they’re brave.

As the various plots and adventures start to weave towards the finale of this trilogy set in a possible future, Koli grows up and starts to see what he can accomplish with friends by his side and the good kind of tech (although Monono has her darker moments too).

This was probably my favourite of the three books chronicling Koli’s life and times, partly because he felt like a much more developed character, in keeping with the increase in his knowledge and the shedding of his naivetè. But Cup and Monono are still my favourite characters, both know who and what they are and are stronger for it.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Kid – Sebastian De Souza*

  • Available to pre-order at many retailers including: Bookshop.org | Waterstones | Hive | Amazon
  • Indie bookseller West End Lane Books is running a special pre-order promotion, where readers can get a SIGNED & DEDICATED copy of Kid if purchased through their website

London, 2060: Following a series of deadly pandemics, devastating environmental disasters and a violent surge in cyber terrorism, the UN has made it compulsory for every tax paying citizen to login to the Perspecta Universe: a totally safe, pollution free, environmentally friendly virtual reality world.

Eighteen years later, ‘The Upload’ is complete, and billions of people all around the world exist in massive dormitory complexes surrounding the major cities, all totally unconscious of the crumbling world around them.

Apart from the renegades, the ‘Offliners’ who live in London’s silent wasteland, making the disused Piccadilly Circus Tube station their home: a fully self-sufficient, subterranean community.

When Josh ‘Kid’ Jones, a young Offliner, discovers that an antiquated piece of technology called an ‘iPhone left to him by his father seems able to communicate with the past through social media. He strikes up a friendship with Isabel Parry, a 16-year-old living in 2021, and the two begin communicating through time and space via Instagram. But what Kid and Izzy don’t realise is that by doing so they are not only changing their own fate, but also the fate of the rest of the world…

Sebastian de Souza is an actor, producer, screenwriter and musician. Sebastian can currently be seen on Channel 4, playing the leading role of Leo in the Hulu Original series The Great, opposite Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult, written by Oscar-nominated and BAFTA award-winning writer Tony MacNamara (The Favourite).

Previous roles include Gareth in the BBC/Hulu adaptation of Sally Rooney’s best-selling novel Normal People directed by Oscar-nominated Lenny Abrahamson (Room); in Netflix’s Medici, playing the iconic painter Sandro Botticelli; Alfonso d’Aragona in Showtime’s Emmy award-winning The Borgias, opposite Jeremy Irons and Holliday Grainger; and in the multiple BAFTA award-winning Skins, as lead Matty Levan.

Sebastian has also played the lead role of Rafa in Paramount Pictures’ Brit-Crime thriller Plastic, opposite Will Poulter and Alfie Allen, and can currently be seen on Netflix playing Edmund in Ophelia opposite Naomi Watts, Daisy Ridley and Clive Owen.

As a writer, at the age of 20 Sebastian wrote the feature film Kids In Love, which he also starred in opposite Will Poulter and Cara Delevingne. The film was produced by Ealing Studios, the oldest and most prestigious studio in the UK. He wrote and directed the short ‘Evelyne’s World’, starring Evelyne Brochu at Korda Studios in Budapest.

His debut YA novel KID: A History of the Future is published by Offliner Press in Spring 2021.

My thoughts:

This was a really clever book, the plot was so intriguing and revolves around blooming Instagram messages of all things, but in a very different way than just sending someone a random DM.

The future is bleak, utterly miserable, but maybe it can be changed in the past, which in this context is our present – 2021.

But from Kid’s perspective, this is the tipping point, from here on out things get really bad and he desperately wants to stop evil megacorp Gnosys from taking over even the tiny crumbling corner of London, Soho, that he calls home.

I was absolutely hooked. Even though we currently appear to be living through our own dystopia, I am still very keen on dystopian fiction with a touch of hope. And Kid and Izzy’s friendship via some weird technological loophole gave me that hope. This is a chunky book but it fizzes along, blending future tech with contemporary lockdown life.

This is written with confidence and talent – it’s hard to believe it’s a debut novel. The characters are realistic and engaging, the plot is smart and gripping. It’s very enjoyable and compelling.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Last One at the Party – Bethany Clift*

THE END OF EVERYTHING WAS HER BEGINNING

It’s December 2023 and the world as we know it has ended.

The human race has been wiped out by a virus called 6DM (‘Six Days Maximum’ – the longest you’ve got before your body destroys itself).

But somehow, in London, one woman is still alive. A woman who has spent her whole life compromising what she wants, hiding how she feels and desperately trying to fit in. A woman who is entirely unprepared to face a future on her own.

Now, with only an abandoned golden retriever for company, she must travel through burning cities, avoiding rotting corpses and ravenous rats on a final journey to discover if she really is the last surviving person on earth.

And with no one else to live for, who will she become now that she’s completely alone?

My thoughts:

Reading this, with the vaccination against Covid-19 providing hope in sight, was a bit weird. The story is set in the future, a few years from now, but with a pandemic that offers no hope of ending as everyone appears to be susceptible to it and it kills swiftly.

Our nameless narrator somehow seems to be immune and after her husband dies, tries to find other people. Her various coping methods – getting wasted, breaking into Harrods, developing a reliance on Tramadol, rescuing a dog, driving to Scotland in a blizzard, reflect what I think many people would do if they found themselves all alone.

Lockdown has demonstrated we’re not great at being alone. But in this case there genuinely doesn’t seem to be anyone left.

Utterly compelling and really enjoyable, despite the bleak subject matter, this was that Will Smith film for the 21st Century woman and darkly funny with it.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books

Blog Tour: Rejuvenation – Byddi Lee

Rejuvination

To celebrate the release of the final instalment in Byddi Lee’s gripping Dystopian trilogy, we’re going back to where it all started in Rejuvenation!

byddi-lee-rejuvenation-one-kindle-cover-400x600-1Rejuventation

Publication Date: March 23, 2020

Genre: Dystopian Sci-Fi

Publisher: Castrum Press

The Melter War has left the Earth’s surface devastated, leaving humanity to survive on what little land is left between the Scorch Zones and the rising oceans, where towering subscrapers dot the dystopian shore lines.

Bobbie Chan is a doctor caring for the ultra-elderly in one such subscraper when she notices a mysterious, new disease afflicting her patients; some show signs of age reversal before a catastrophic, and often fatal, cardiac arrest strikes.

Bobbie begins to wonder if she is witnessing a bio weapon in full force. A Melter attack? Are they destined to finish the war they started?

Bobbie begins a race against time to rescue the Rejuvenees and uncover their true enemy

Add to Goodreads

Byddi Makes the Leap to Sci-Fi

How Irish Legends Inspired A Science Fiction Trilogy About Getting Younger.

As I was growing up, the  Irish legends that captured my imagination most were not the daring-does of Cuchulainn – The Hound of Ulster nor the stories of Macha – the queen who gave her name to my home town Armagh. In fact, the ancient warriors and royalty didn’t interest me at all, but those stories that involved distorted ageing and extended longevity did. It was an indulgence of sorts to weave the essence of these stories into The Rejuvenation Trilogy.

Rejuvenation is set in a dystopian future. There are matter streamers to provide food, hovercrafts for transportation, and carebots to tend to the frail. Against this backdrop of technology, we see a society that is top-heavy with an aged population. People still yearn to be and stay young.

The Irish fairy tales have stood the test of time and inspire the children of that era, such as our main characters, Bobbie and Gracie, fraternal twins. Gracie suffers from a rapid ageing disease called Progeria and is particularly drawn to the stories of  Tír na nÓg, the Land of the Forever Young that’s far across the waves and can only be reached by a magic horse as she explains to Bobbie…

‘“I’m no angel,” Gracie said, grinning. “I’m one of the little people, a leprechaun! And I’m going to escape to Tír na nÓg.”

“To where?” Bobbie asked.

“The land of everlasting youth. Everyone is beautiful and young there, and when I go there, I’ll look just like you,” Gracie said. “But with black hair, like Daddy.”

“How do you know all this?”

“I read about it on the Internet.”

“Can I come?” Bobbie couldn’t imagine being anywhere without Gracie.

“Yes, but you’ll have to wait until when you’re old. Like me.” Gracie’s fuchsia pink dress reflected off her skin, giving her bare, veined scalp an ethereal glow.

“But you’re only nine. We’re the same age.”

“Yes, but I’m the one who’s a fairy, remember? I’ll watch over you from Tír na nÓg. Time passes slower there than it does in Armagh, so it will only feel like ten minutes to me before you’re there, too.”’

Excerpt from Rejuvenation Book 1

The Children of Lir is another example of a legend that tells of excessive ageing and longevity. Lir’s children are turned into swans by their stepmother and sent into exile for three hundred years. They returned to their home in Ireland and resumed human form – as three-hundred-year-old humans – then they died. I’m grossly paraphrasing, but nonetheless, it’s a tragic tale.

We find out early in Rejuvenation Book 1 that Gracie died at the age of 13 from her condition. Her death left a lasting effect on her twin sister Bobbie who, feeling she had acquired a special understanding of ageing because of Gracie, went on to become a geriatrician. In Rejuvenation Book 2, Bobbie uses the fairy tale of the Children of Lir to try to make sense of ageing and death in the real world, a challenge for her since she sees both daily in her job.

Other Irish fairy tales hold more promise, like the one about Fionn Mc Cool being tricked by the old witch, the Calliagh Berra on top of Slieve Gullion, the highest mountain in County Armagh. As the story goes, one day Fionn found a young woman crying by the lake at the top of the mountain. When he asked her why she said she’d dropped her gold ring into the lake. Being the hero he was, he jumped in after it. But the girl was the old witch who was jealous of her sister for being in love with Fionn. The witch had put a spell on the lake so that when Fionn came out, he had aged to become a withered old man with white hair. But Fionn’s followers made the witch reverse the spell, and he became young again.

The Rejuvenation Trilogy is all about regaining lost youth and its consequences. Bobbie’s most elderly patients contract a strange disease which proves fatal to some but others, including her Granny, survive and become younger, fitter and psychopathic!

I was drawn to the idea that eternal youth wasn’t exactly the be-all and end-all and wanted to explore the gifts that come with age. In a society that values the beauty of youth, that’s quite a challenge, but even the Irish legends will have us realise that the beauty of youth is only skin deep as in the story of Oisin, Fionn Mc Cool’s son.

As the story goes, Oisín falls in love with Niamh, a woman of the Otherworld. She takes him across the waves on a magic horse to Tír na nÓg. After what feels like three years to Oisín, he becomes homesick and wants to return to Ireland. Niamh warns him to stay on the magic horse and never to touch the ground. But when Oisín returns, he discovers that 300 years have passed in Ireland. He falls from the horse and instantly ages. As the years catch up with him, he quickly dies.

In Rejuvenation Book 1 this same legend is reflected in several instances of age catching up quickly on a youthful body and although this legend is not actually recounted, it forms the basis of some of Bobbie’s nightmares.

‘By the time Death carried Gracie to Tír na nÓg four years later, Bobbie had read scores of legends about the Land of the Forever Young. Alone in the bedroom, Bobbie had once shared with Gracie, she’d jolt awake after dreaming of her twin sister returning for her on a white horse, young and beautiful, her black hair billowing out behind her. Bobbie would reach for Gracie, but as their hands touched, Gracie’s hair would turn white, her skin would wrinkle, her body crumple as she died all over again from old age.’

Excerpt from Rejuvenation Book 1

I think ultimately the idea of folding the old fairly tales into a high-tech dystopian future is a metaphor for life – we can’t forge ahead and embrace the new and the vivacious unless we can carry with us and learn from the stories and wisdom from years gone by.

Purchase Rejuvenation or the Complete Trilogy Below!

Amazon UK | Audibke UKAmazonAudible | Castrum Press

About the Author

ByddiLee2020

Byddi Lee grew up in Armagh and moved to Belfast to study at Queen’s University. She has since lived in South Africa, Canada, California and Paris before returning to live in her hometown, Armagh.

Her Rejuvenation Trilogy, is published by Castrum Press and Rejuvenation Book One,  Book Two and Book Three all available now. Book One is also out in audiobook.

Sign up to Byddi’s newletter for more details of release dates.

She has published flash fiction, short stories and, in 2014, her novel, March to November.  Byddi has also co-written the play IMPACT – Armagh’s Train Disaster with Malachi Kelly and Tim Hanna. IMPACT was directed by Margey Quinn and staged by the Armagh Theatre Group in the Abbey Lane Theatre June 2019.

During the COVID 19 pandemic when all theatres were closed, Byddi teamed up with Malachi and Tim to write Zoomeo & Juliet and Social Bubble Toil & Trouble suitable for live performance delivered through Zoom, produced by Margery Quinn and performed by the Armagh Theatre Group.

Byddi is a co-founder of the spoken word event Flash Fiction Armagh and is co-editor of The Bramley – An Anthology of Flash Fiction Armagh.

Byddi LeeFacebookTwitterNewsletter

Blog Tour Organized By:

R&R Button

R&R Book Tours

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Trials of Koli – M.R. Carey*

Read my review of the first Book of Koli here.


The Book of Koli is the unforgettable story of a young boy struggling to find his place in a world where nature itself has turned against humanity: Everything that lives hates us…

Beyond the walls of the small village of Mythen Rood lies an unrecognizable landscape. A place where overgrown forests are filled with choker trees and deadly seeds that will kill you where you stand. And if they don’t get you, one of the dangerous shunned men will. Koli has lived in Mythen Rood his entire life. He believes the first rule of survival is that you don’t venture too far beyond the walls. He’s wrong.

My thoughts:

Koli and his companions, Ursula and Cup are on the road, trying to reach London and find whoever is sending out a signal, but the journey is dangerous.

I enjoyed this a lot more than the first book, it felt more fully realised and I liked that the perspective went back and forth from Koli and Spinner, back in Mythen Rood.

A lot happens in the pages of this second novel – Koli and his friends fight off attacks from old enemies and of course nature, which really has it out for humans, and who can blame it.

They do meet some good people though, ones who offer them help rather than threats.

Meanwhile Spinner is trying to find her place in Mythen Rood, having married Haijon in the previous book. She’s beginning to see some things about the all powerful Ramparts that leave her with questions no one wants to answer.

This was a really good book and I’m already looking forward to the third and final installment.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.