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: 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.

beauty, thoughts

The future of beauty? 

This blog post is part of the blogging competition organised by CGTrader – find out more here.

 The beauty industry moves at its own entirely mysterious pace – some brands are totally with the times in terms of innovation and design and others lag a bit behind. There is some brilliant technology in place, like colour matching and mixing an exact foundation for your skin. However I think this could be taken further.

 We all lead busy lives and not all of us have time to go to a physical shop and be colour matched – one day I reckon you will be able to take a selfie and have a computer work out your perfect shade in seconds and then place your order for same day delivery – making sure you always look spot on and not orange or ashy.

 I think more make-up will be intuitive – and could we please create something that doesn’t melt when it gets warm!  Foundations that adapt to different textures on your skin and colour corrects without too much faffing.

 I can’t for the life of me get the perfect line on my lids, so a smart eyeliner is top of my wish list – one that adapts to your specific eyelid shape, adjusting the brush angle for the perfect flick every time, an even, defined line. A mascara that does this too would be the perfect partner, adapting to your lashes.

 I also think more and more brands will become eco aware in ways they haven’t yet – from biodegradable packaging instead of plastic, cruelty free formulas, SPF in everything to reduce the risk of skin cancer, and a shift away from chemical ingredients that actually do harm like preservatives – there are alternatives out there and if there aren’t, well I have just invented jobs for cosmetic scientists – lets have some better formulations that care for us. A mini fridge for all your make up, free with purchase.

Colour changing lipstick

 More brands will expand their lines to include the actual spectrum of skin tones in the world instead of assuming everyone fits somewhere in 5 shades, and with the above suggested colour matching app that orders your perfect shade then I don’t see why not.

 Or how about an app that measures how often you re-order your products and automatically does it for you, so you don’t even have to remember to stop by the beauty counter.

 Brushes and sponges that come with antibacterial microbes infused in them to help stop infections – and that remind you to wash them by changing the colour of their handles or self-destructing!

 I think there will be still be a place for physical shops, as people will need to be shown how to use the new technology or want to ask questions that no app can answer. You might also want to keep picking up the basics on your lunchtime stroll.

Then there’s skincare – a section of the beauty market that seems to be always chasing the cutting edge. I can definitely see it becoming more high tech – again with formulas mixed for your exact skin needs – sensitive skin needs different things from oily, teenage skin is very different from older skin and they need specific formulas. But of course skin likes to chuck in the odd curveball, from post-menopausal skin breaking out in acne to sensitive skin that is greasy and dry at the same time!

 Being able to scan your face in and have it mapped for you – ah yes, you need SPF 30, lots of vitamin A & E, and something that fades scarring, let me just blend these ingredients together, with a little shea butter and essential oils to combat aging and soften skin.

Scan your skin to check your health

That would be incredible and it’s slowly starting to happen. But one day it could be a reality, and an affordable one – like using your smart phone on the go, beauty on the move, making you feel good and look your best, whatever your skin type, tone or style.

 

life, politics, questions, thoughts

Oh America….

This is my formal request for a refund for 2016. It has been a complete shit show and I would like a do-over.  

Reading the reaction of the black, Latina, LGBT, scared Americans to the election of the world’s first orange President, a man who has threatened to deport innocent citizens for the ‘crime’ of being immigrants, Muslim, Other. His running mate, Mike Pence believes that electric shock therapy can cure being gay, who thinks women who suffer miscarriages should be imprisoned. These are frightening times. 

Several people have drawn a connection through history, from the rise of fascism in the 1930s and what I am calling the new hate of 2016. From Brexit to this week’s election, fear mongering is up and being different is marking people out. 

But there is still hope, there is still love. Now is the time to speak up, to stand up and be counted. To show solidarity and support for those who find themselves victims of this new groundswell of hate and bigotry. I am reminded of the following poem. I for one will be speaking out because we cannot let anything like this happen ever again.