Reclaiming Shilo Snow

Reclaiming Shilo SnowAuthor: Mary Weber

Series: Shilo Snow #2

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: March 6, 2018

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The perfect book for those that are into the gaming world including what it could turn into in the future. A little darker than the first but oh so good!

Seventeen-year-old Sofi Snow is one of the world’s greatest hackers alive. She has left our world to go to the alien planet Delon to find her brother Shilo who everyone believes is dead. She knows that isn’t true, she can feel it.  With the help of Ambassador Miguel, they seek out the truth in finding her brother and also letting the people of Earth in on the secrets about the alien planet and what intentions it has for Earth.  However, this isn’t the first time she has been with the Delonese.  When she was younger, she and her brother were taken by them, but she has no memory of this time.  As the second installment in the Sofi Snow series, readers will see what is next for this brother and sister and how it will impact all of Earth and beyond.

Not all books in a series have to be read in order but this one most definitely does. If you haven’t read The Evaporation of Sofi Snow or don’t remember the story very well it will be difficult to connect to this one.  With that being said, if you have read it, get ready to pick up where it left off and see how the rest of the story unfolds.  The characters continue their journey and we seem them grow closer to each other as the story unfolds.  There is sacrifice and betrayal and all the things that make a good story great.  I loved how Weber continued with the multiple viewpoints to give readers a deeper sense of what was happening in the story instead of sticking with one POV and having to figure some of it out without really seeing it unfold.  There were times in the story that I felt confused and thought I needed to go back to clear something up but within a few pages it all seemed to work itself out for me.  Readers that love YA/Dystopian novels and have a passion for gaming will not want to miss this one.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Dayfall

DayfallAuthor: Michael David Ares

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: March 13, 2018

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Interesting concept, but could use more explanation.

Jon Phillips is a small time detective in Ephrata, Pennsylvania who has dreams of becoming a private investigator. He has been profiling a serial killer in Philadelphia, but no one will listen to his theories.  He decides to take measures into his own hands and discovers that his theory is correct and manages to single handedly take down the serial killer, almost at the cost of his own life.  Even though he survives, his career in law enforcement does not.  The Philadelphia chief of police visits him in the hospital to let him know that he can never join the City PD; however, there is another opportunity open to him.  The mayor of Manhattan needs help in catching the Dayfall Killer before Dayfall happens.  Manhattan has been shrouded in darkness for several years as a result of a nuclear winter which also caused sea levels to rise, submerging large portions of the island.  With only hours until everyone is exposed to hours of sunlight, answers are needed to ensure she can control the City and keep Gotham Security from taking over.  Several of the MPD officers are already on Gotham Security’s payroll and she needs someone she can trust.  With little to no options, Jon reluctantly takes on the case in hopes of a high profile takedown that can catalyst his PI career into the spotlight.

This was an interesting dystopian concept. Having the east coast completely covered in darkness and it becoming a norm to the residents so much so that when daylight did occur it started making people go crazy.  I wish that there had been more of an explanation of the reasoning behind it and why it didn’t affect other areas of the US and/or countries.  Even so, the story was still enjoyable.  Phillips partner in the MPD pretty much made the book for me.  The banter, shady dealings, and nicknames brought him to life really well.  The relationships felt a little forced at first, but things seemed to fall into place as the story continued.

There is quite a bit of harsh language as well as implied sex throughout the book mixed with some fairly graphic violence. I recommend this book to mature readers.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Top Futuristic/Dystopian

Next up are the top picks for stories set in the future or dystopia.  These are always fun to read to see what some of our favorite author’s imaginations can conjure up.

The Divide

1. The Divide by Jolina Petersheim

The previous installment left off with the Mennonite community being vacated and overrun by an angry mob with one of the main characters left for dead.   This is a terrific conclusion!

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

contaigon

2. Contagion by Marcy G. Dyer

An altered strain of rabies that turns its victims into Zombies has been unleashed turning the world into chaos and leaving three families to fend for themselves and try to stay alive.  And it’s set in my home area!!!

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

without warning

3. Without Warning by Joel C. Rosenberg

The final installment of this trilogy gave us quite a shock with the ending!

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wilders

4. Wilders by Brenda Cooper

With major cities located in glass bubbles connected by tubes for travel, outside the glass can be a cruel place.

Read the full review here.

 

The Divinity Bureau

Divinity bureauAuthor: Tessa Clare

Publisher: Asset Creative House

Release Date: September 21, 2017

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A love story put in danger by a government group set on controlling the population grown out of control by any means necessary.

The Divinity Bureau is a government agency that selects who lives and who dies. The world has become over populated making it unlivable with so many people and too few resources.  Roman Irvine works in the IT department and has always been complacent about his job and what it all means until he sees a name on the list he didn’t expect.  April McIntyre is too young to be selected, but her name winds up on the list anyway and Roman decides he can’t overlook this time.  He wants to know what kind of a person she is like.  After an initial meeting, Roman quickly finds himself falling for April and wants to do anything he can to save her live.  Roman finds the task of saving April’s life more difficult as someone else is determined to see April dead.

The Divinity Bureau reminds me of a cross between The Hunger Games and any number of love stories.  With the danger that Roman and April find themselves in, it is no surprise that their feelings for each other grow.  That part of the book, the romance, was inevitable and played out nicely.  A few of the characters got on my nerves including April’s mother, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing as these characters were meant to be written that way.  There were a few instances of language that didn’t work for me, particularly the vulgar language.  The way that the book ends leaves it open for another to follow shows potential for it to continue.  I think there is more story to be told. For a debut novel, I think Clare did a great job with the story and keeping the suspense up throughout. There are a lot of dystopian books on the market out right now but this one has a different spin to it making it stick out.  I recommend this to readers that are fans of the dystopian novels on the market and also enjoy a technical aspect to the story.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Arena

arenaAuthor: Holly Jennings

Series: Arena #1

Publisher: Ace

Release Date: November 1, 2016

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A unique story that takes a look at the gaming world and what out future of might just look like.

Kali Ling is one of the top gamers and is about to make history as the first female captain in the Virtual Gaming League’s RAGE tournament. RAGE is a competition where the top gamers in the world compete in a fight to the digital death.  Millions of people watch the fights and cheer for their favorite players.  The game and all its parts may be digital but that doesn’t mean the pain is, every player feels every killing blow.  When one of her teammates overdoses, Kali doesn’t know if she has what it takes to lead the team anymore.  As a new member is thrust into their mix in the middle of the tournament, the team has to find a way to come together in order to conquer their biggest battle yet.

I have mixed emotions about this book. The story itself was good, a bit predictable at times but enjoyable.  The drug usage, foul language and sex was a bit over done.  The images put forth by the author really made me picture the story playing out in my mind as I read it.  The romances, all of them, felt forced for the most part.  By the end a small percentage of the romances felt right and will be interesting to see where they go in the next story.  Kali and her team go through a lot in finding the right dynamic and in the end I enjoyed the way they found a way to fully work together as a team.  The theme of teamwork throughout was depicted well and something that everyone can take away as a useful lesson.

The ages of the main characters seem to be early twenties, could be a little younger, and so this book could be counted as a YA. If so, I don’t feel comfortable recommending to that target audience with the sex and language.  If it is an older audience, I think the book will be a very enjoyable read for those that especially enjoy the gaming world and virtual reality.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Wilders

WildersAuthor: Brenda Cooper

Series: Project Earth #1

Publisher: PYR

Release Date: June 13, 2017

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Another dystopian novel that is a bit more unique than you might think.

Coryn Williams has grown up in the metropolis of Seacouver, Washington. A town that has been developed under a weather dome.  This is a new generation of smart city that is completely connected with each person and tells them when they need certain items or when to go to the doctor.  But the city is not for everyone, many suffer from it.  Coryn’s parents each took their life and her older sister must get out of the city before it drives her to the same fate, so she sets of to work for a rewilding foundation that is reestablishing the ecosystem that humans have destroyed.

Three years later, Coryn is set to graduate from school and must head into a career. Instead she decides to do the unthinkable; voluntarily go outside of the dome to find her sister.  But will her sister want to see her?  And will the city let her back in?

Dystopian novels are rapidly becoming a dime a dozen. It’s hard to find something new and fresh that doesn’t build upon an already realized idea.  However, Cooper definitely piqued my interests with this one.  I’ve done a lot of research into smart cities and how they currently interact versus how they are planning to connect in the future with the internet of things.  This book easily brings my fears into place with the amount of data that the city knows and how the city can protect itself.

Coryn was an interesting character. She was very independent (and stubborn) and set out to find her sister with no thoughts of what could happen to her.  But she got more than what she bargained for once she found her.  I’m curious if the storms were a result of the damaged ecosphere, but that may come in a future book.

There is some occasional harsh language for a YA novel, which is why I took it down to 4 stars. Even so, it is a really good read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

The Divide

The DivideAuthor: Jolina Petersheim

Series: The Alliance #2

Publisher: Tyndale

Release Date: June 6, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The stunning sequel to The Alliance is even better than I imagined!

For the last six months, Leora Ebersole and Jabil Snyder have moved the Mennonite community from their village up to the mountains in order to escape disaster. Every night, Leora still wonders about the fate of Moses Hughes, who stayed behind to give the community a chance to get away before a gang overtook their village to plunder anything that was left.  But the winter has been very harsh and people are beginning to starve.  The men who hunt and gather for food are starting to grow weary of providing for those who are not able to help.  Worse yet, a sickness comes into the camp, threatening to kill many of the other members that are already in a weekend state.  Can they survive the winter? Much less the outside world?

Okay, I realize that the synopsis is a bit vague and doesn’t really hint much on the fate of Moses and whether he continues to be a main character in the story. But that is because you really need to read this to find out for yourself.  Let’s just say that there was so much tension in the Jabil-Leora-Moses triangle in the first book, that Petersheim found a way to continue that tension throughout this story.  Now the title definitely draws you into believing that some event or relationship within the story causing a divide between the community.  And that is true, but it is not just the Mennonite community that it divides.  There is another group that is in this story that must make a decision similar to drawing a line in the sand.  And the reason behind it is shocking.

I really hope that they make these two books into movies. I think they would be awesome to watch.  And Petersheim has mastered the art of cliff hangers at the end of chapters to make you keep turning the pages to see what is going to happen.  Spoiler alert: (two of the main characters from the first book get killed off)!  Once again, the events in this book could easily happen at any time, but I hope that they never do.  But if they did, I can assure you there would be natural division just as described.  This is one of the must reads of 2017!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.