#ThrowbackThursday ~ Plus One by Elizabeth Fama ~ An Alternate Reality #Audiobook #YAFiction #BookReview

Throwback Thursday this week is a novel dealing with the aftermath of the flu pandemic of 1918—hopefully not a sign of things to come! Plus One is narrated by Julia Whelan and was released in 2015.

My Thoughts

Following the flu pandemic of 1918, the medical profession was divided into day and night teams in order to cope with the scale of the disease. Before long this segregation was widened to encompass the whole population, which served to slow and eventually stop the spread of the flu, and continued even after the epidemic was over in order to increase efficiency and production. Those who live and work during the night hours are known as Smudges, those more privileged who live in daylight hours are Rays. Lives are rigidly controlled and restricted. Phones are controlled and tracked.  The laws are strictly upheld and any misdemeanour is punishable. 

Sol Le Coeur, a Smudge, is a teenage factory worker who wants her dying grandfather, Poppu, to meet his great-granddaughter so much she resorts to desperate measures. Her brother, Ciel, the baby’s father has been reassigned to a Ray for the last couple of years so he and Sol have been unable to see each other. Deliberately causing an injury to herself in order to somehow take the baby to Poppu so he could hold her, Sol comes under the care of a young Ray medical apprentice, D’Arcy Benoît. Sol’s plan goes horribly wrong as she realises she has ‘borrowed’ the wrong baby.

It takes guts to deliberately mutilate your hand while operating a blister-pack sealing machine, but all I had going for me was guts. It seemed like a fair trade: lose maybe a week’s wages and possibly the tip of me right middle finger, and in exchange Poppu would get to hold his great-granddaughter before he died.

I wasn’t into babies, but Poppu’s unseeing eyes filled to spilling when he spoke of Ciel’s daughter, and that was more than I could bear. It was absurd to me that the dying should grieve the living when the living in this case was only ten kilometers away. Poppu needed to hold that baby, and I was going to bring her to him, even if Ciel wouldn’t.

The relationships between Sol and Poppu is wonderfully written as are the night/day comparisons. I wasn’t totally convinced by Sol and D’Arcy’s relationship considering it was over the course of just a few days, but their shared past, which they didn’t realise initially, was a nice touch. The writing all through is beautifully done and very enjoyable. The storyline becomes a lot more alarming and develops seriousness and depth as it continues and the far reaching consequences to the Smudge population takes on another, more sinister slant. Secret Government controls are uncovered and family secrets told.

The idea of using the 1918 flu pandemic as the catalyst for the alternate reality is an interesting concept and works well as the basis of the story. The social injustices caused by the segregation affect both Smudges and Rays, although penalties for the Smudges are much higher. Well portrayed characters drive the story and what begins as a loving, if misguided, gesture by Sol morphs into a fight for justice leading to a situation neither Sol, Ciel or D’Arcy could have foreseen and will change their lives forever.

I found the first part of the book a little slow, maybe necessarily so in order to give a detailed picture of Sol and her world, but as events pick up so does the action and adventure. The story incorporates a lot of emotions; grief, courage, deception and determination among them. Julia Whelan does a really excellent job with the narration as always, up to and including singing as a Frenchman!

About the Book

A dying wish. A family divided. A love that defies the law.

Sol Le Coeur is a Smudge – a night dweller in an America rigidly divided between people who wake, live, and work during the hours of darkness and those known as Rays, who live and work during daylight. Impulsive, passionate, and brave, Sol concocts a plan to kidnap her newborn niece – a Ray – in order to bring the baby to visit her dying grandfather. Sol’s violation of the day/night curfew is already a serious crime, but when her kidnap attempt goes awry, she stumbles on a government conspiracy to manipulate the Smudge population. Sol escapes the authorities with an unexpected ally: a Ray who gets in her way, a boy she might have hated if fate hadn’t forced them on the run together – a boy the world now tells her she can’t love.

Set in a vivid alternate reality and peopled with complex, deeply human characters on both sides of the day/night divide, Elizabeth Fama’s Plus One is a brilliantly imagined drama of individual liberty and civil rights, and a fast-paced romantic adventure story.

I Am Dust by Louise Beech ~ A Haunted Theatre, A Murdered Actress @LouiseWriter #Murder #Mystery #TuesdayBookBlog

Author: Louise Beech

Published: February 2020 by Orenda Books

Category: Psychological, Thriller, Murder, Mystery, Supernatural, Book Review

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The Dean Wilson Theatre is believed to be haunted by a long-dead actress, singing her last song, waiting for her final cue, looking for her killer…

Now Dust, the iconic musical, is returning after twenty years. But who will be brave enough to take on the role of ghostly goddess Esme Black, last played by Morgan Miller, who was murdered in her dressing room?

I Am Dust is a story of two halves which are brought together seamlessly as the story evolves—the events of 2005 and the impact they have on the present day. During that summer three friends and aspiring actors played a dangerous game, experimenting with an Ouija board, while rehearsing for their school production of Macbeth.

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#BlogTour #Extract ~ Trust in You by Julia Firlotte ~ A summer #Romance @juliafirlotte @rararesources

Today I have an extract from Trust in You as part of the blog tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.

Extract

‘Why not?’ he asks me nosily, shifting to give me his full attention. ‘Have you never—’

‘Can we change the subject?’ I ask a little too brightly, cutting him off.

‘Sure.’ He grins. Oh God, how much more embarrassing can this get? ‘You know, a lot of guys find that a real turn on,’ Dan says smoothly, watching me astutely. I almost choke on my beer. Ok, I was wrong before, it could get more embarrassing.

‘I don’t know what you mean,’ I mutter, trying to cut the conversation dead.

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#Spotlight ~ Daylight’s Deadly Kiss – Blood Riders Book Two by @JayRavenAuthor @rararesources #Fantasy

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Daylight’s Deadly Kiss, courtesy of Rachel’s Random Resources.

About the Book

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The Memory by Judith Barrow ~ Irene’s Story #FamilySaga #Fiction @judithbarrow77 #FridayReads @honno

Author: Judith Barrow 

Published: March 2020 by Honno Press

Category: Family Saga, Dual Timeline, Fiction, Book Review

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Today has been a long time coming. Irene sits at her mother’s side waiting for the right moment, for the point at which she will know she is doing the right thing by Rose.

Rose was Irene’s little sister, an unwanted embarrassment to their mother Lilian but a treasure to Irene. Rose died thirty years ago, when she was eight, and nobody has talked about the circumstances of her death since. But Irene knows what she saw. Over the course of 24 hours their moving and tragic story is revealed – a story of love and duty, betrayal and loss – as Irene rediscovers the past and finds hope for the future.

The Memory tells Irene’s story from her perspective, alternating between then and now. Beginning in the now, the story gives an immediate sense of Irene’s life. It’s not at all what she envisioned for herself all those years ago, as she struggles with her full time role as a carer for her mother, with all that entails when someone is incapable of doing anything for themselves.

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#ThrowbackThursday ~ Low Country Punch by Boo Walker #CrimeFiction #Thriller

Throwback Thursday this week features Low Country Punch, an audiobook I listened to in 2015, narrated by RC Bray.

My Thoughts

TA Reddick is a Federal Agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration in Miami. He and his partner are working an undercover drug ring and just getting ready to meet for a cocaine exchange in a multi storey garage. When they meet the two sellers TA recognises them as Diego and Robert Vasquez. Robert is a cop and a good friend of TA’s who had saved his life the year before. In the ensuing shoot out, Robert is killed and TA’s partner is injured. Diego Vasquez escapes. 

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#GuestPost by Dr Anay Ayarovu #Author of STAZR The World Of Z: The Dawn Of Athir #Debut #DarkFantasy @STAZR_official

Today I’d like to welcome Dr Anay Ayarovu with her post about creating a world in seven days. First though, here’s what STAZR The World Of Z: The Dawn Of Athir is about

A strange and mystical prophecy was found in the city of Treebarad. On a piece of parchment, old long-forgotten events come back to life, the memory of which was intentionally erased. A mysterious prophecy now gives hope to the twisted ruling race that the power they seek lies behind an ancient gate. On the reverse side of the oracle are coordinates to the location of the Chosen One.

Lael is an introverted and naive writer who grew up with a book in one hand and a quill in the other. All his life, he has lived in a peaceful solitude, reading and writing his short stories and dreaming big of one day becoming a prestigious author. To his surprise and delight he must now become savior of the Star people and take the journey to find answers that do not exist in books.

Now over to Anay

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The Boy From The Woods ~ Now A Man with a Mysterious Past #CrimeFiction from @HarlanCoben #TuesdayBookBlog

Author: Harlan Coben

Narrated by Steven Weber

Released on Audible: March 2020

Category: Crime, Mystery, Thriller, Audiobook, Book Review

Thirty years ago, a child was found in the New Jersey backwoods.

He had been living a feral existence, with no memory of how he got there or even who he is. Everyone just calls him Wilde.

Now a former soldier and security expert, he lives off the grid, shunned by the community – until they need him.

Over thirty years ago a boy, thought to be around six to eight years old, was found living in the Ramapo Mountain Forest. How he survived no-one knew. The boy didn’t know his age, name or where he came from. He doesn’t remember his parents or any other adults and no-one came forward to claim him. But he did have a friend.

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Making Wishes at Bay View by @JessicaRedland ~ Never give up on a wish for a happy ever after… @BoldwoodBooks

Author: Jessica Redland

Published: January 2020 by Boldwood Books

Category: Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Book Review 

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Never give up on a wish for a happy ever after…

Callie Derbyshire has it all: her dream job as a carer at Bay View, finally she has found the love of her life. Everything is perfect.

Well, almost.

Ex-partners are insistent on stirring up trouble, and Callie’s favourite resident, Ruby, hasn’t been her usual self.

Callie has the perfect job, notwithstanding  having the boss from hell. A natural carer with a great personality, she loves the residents at Bay View Care Home and is kind, patient and considerate.

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