Assassin’s Code

Assassins CodeAuthor: Ward Larsen

Series: David Slaton #4

Publisher: Forge

Release Date: August 22, 2017

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Fast paced, suspenseful, and thoughtful! My favorite kind of story.

Former Mossad assassin David Slaton has been off the grid in the Philippines for eight months with his wife and son. When his wife is approached by a young mother scared for her missing husband, David agrees to go out to an abandoned government vessel to search for him.  Instead of a missing man, he finds for armed French Nationals intent of killing him.  After eliminating all threats, David finds a flash drive with his name on it in the pocket of one of the thugs.  What he finds is unexpected, a photo of Zavier Baland, the deputy direction of France’s antiterrorism division.  Only one problem enters his mind, he killed this man fifteen years ago by the name of Ali Samir.

This book was a fast paced cat and mouse game where part of the time the reader is sure who the cat and the mouse are. Although it is the fourth in a series, it has no problem being read as a standalone.  There is some history between a few of the characters, but it still plays out really well.  David Slaton is a very clever and shrewd character, but to be a Mossad assassin and still alive, I suppose that you would have to.  It reminds me of watching a Jason Bourne movie and watching the main character’s plan unfold out before your eyes.  I will definitely be on the lookout for future books in this series.  Might even have to go back and read some of the previous installments as well.  Good clean stories are getting harder to find, but if you like a good spy novel that will leave you second guessing throughout, this is the series for you!

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

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.

Close to Home

Close to HomeAuthor: Robert Dugoni

Series: Tracy Crosswhite #5

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Release Date: September 5, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Robert Dugoni delivers the next series installment getting Tracy involved with the Navy in a case that could sink more than one career, and life, if she’s not careful.

When Seattle homicide detective Tracy Crosswhite is called to the scene of a hit-and-run death, she doesn’t expect the case to lead her to the Navy. The suspect is a serviceman at the local base, which causes the local Judge Advocate General Corps to get involved.  The case is then transferred to the military court where the key piece of evidence goes missing.  Tracy has made a promise to the family of the victim that she will make sure justice is served for the death of their son, giving her no other option than to pursue the case. The further Tracy digs into the crimes, the more connections pop up to recent heroin overdoses.  With each new clue, Tracy, and those around her are put in danger and not everyone is guaranteed to make it out alive.

The Tracy Crosswhite series has become one of my absolute favorites. I love the way Dugoni has taken this character and made her someone the reader wants to cheer for and strive to be like in so many ways. Close to Home is the fifth in the series, but can easily be read as a stand-alone novel.  There are references to the first book in the series, but nothing about this book makes it necessary to have read the entire series.  For me, this was more of a mystery than a suspense thriller.  There was not the usual edge of my seat, can’t wait to see what is going to happen next moments.  That’s not a bad thing, it’s just different from the way Dugoni has written these books in the past.  I enjoyed the way he spent extra time building up a few of the secondary characters we have seen throughout the series.  I really enjoyed the different tone to the story with incorporating the military and JAG lawyers.  I am a big fan of military shows and novels and thought this fit in so well with the writing of the characters already established in the series. It will be interesting to see if any of the new characters introduced here make it to the next in the series.  I recommend this book to anyone looking for an excellent mystery that will leave you guessing and cheering with the way the story comes to an end.

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

Ferocious

FerorciousAuthor: Paula Stokes

Series: Vicarious #2

Publisher: Tor Teen

Release Date: August 15, 2017

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Winter Kim is back and ready for revenge in this explosive follow up to Vicarious.

Winter Kim is on a mission. After her sister was murdered and the only ones she loves were taken from her, she finds out she has a brother she never knew about.  His life is in danger if she doesn’t travel to South Korea and confront Kyung, the man responsible for all the misery in her life.  Helping her along the way are her friends, Jesse and Sebastian.  Together they gain access to Kyung’s corporation and try to gather as much information as possible to get her brother to safety and get out alive herself.  Winter must decide if the revenge she is seeking is worth risking everything or will she be able to release the darkness within her.

The follow up to Vicarious picks up right where things lift off in the first one. Vicarious was very action packed and moved at a quick pace, Ferocious takes things down a notch and moves slower for several different reasons.  The main point of this story is the revenge Winter is seeking.  Revenge takes planning, planning takes time, which ended up making the story less action packed and slower.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; the set-up of what Winter was going to do was well laid out giving the characters more depth.  Even though I can’t call this as action packed as the first, there certainly were a lot of twists and turns that kept me guessing until the very end.  As far as I can tell, there isn’t another book to follow in the series.  I can see the story mostly wrapped up here but there are still a few threads that could be played out further if the author decided to pursue the storyline further.  I recommend this book to an older YA audience that enjoys thrillers with plenty to keep them guessing.  It is marketed as a YA but I don’t think a few of the themes would be appropriate for the younger YA audience.

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

Vicarious

VicariousAuthor: Paula Stokes

Publisher: Tor Teen

Release Date: August 16, 2016

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A total thrill ride with mind-bending twists and turns throughout that will leave the reader craving more.

The bond between sisters is a strong one, and almost none compared to that of Winter Kim and her sister Rose. They work for Rose’s ex-boyfriend, Gideon, who has them engaging in dangerous and exciting activities while he records their neural impulses making a Vicarious Sensory Experience for others he calls ViSEs.  Their adventures include shark diving, hooking up with celebrities at dance clubs, and any and all thrills anyone would want to experience safely for a price.  Winter’s world is turned upside down when her sister disappears and her murder is recorded on a ViSe and sent to Gideon.  Winter can’t do anything until she finds her sister’s killer and becomes consumed with revenge.  With each clue, she uncovers the story of what happened to her sister doesn’t add up and Winter starts to question everything she has known to trust and believe in.

I love a good YA book that keeps up with the direction the world is going and Vicarious is just that kind of book. Each chapter flows into the next bringing the story and the characters into more chaos that will leave the reader aching for more. The characters are strong and even though they go through challenges they learn from each and every obstacle they encounter and use that to push them forward.  There is a romance in the story but it is played out in a very different way than most books, which I really enjoyed.  This is classified as a YA/Teen book and it is good for that in most areas, the only problem I have is the occasional language and sexual scenes throughout.  I don’t like to see those in books marketed to a younger audience but feel like it wasn’t played up nearly as much as it could have been and for that I am thankful.  This is the kind of book that so many readers will be able to find something to enjoy.  I recommend this book to teens and adults that like a good thriller with a sci-fi undertone to it.

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

The Assault

The AssaultAuthors: Bill Myers, Frank Peretti, Angela Hunt, & Alton Gansky

Series: Harbingers Cycle #2

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: August 1, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The second installment in the Harbingers series brings the team into even more danger and turmoil while testing their faith in each other and a higher power.

Bill Myers starts things off this round with The Revealing, where the team has traveled to Rome to find a mystical spear that is thought to have been used by Hitler and as well as have pierced the side of Christ during the crucifixion.  The team has to travel through hidden chambers to avoid those sent to keep them from accomplishing their goals.  Frank Peretti continues the story in Infestation.  In this installment, the team has to tackle a monster that is unlike anything anyone has ever seen before.  In Infiltration, Angela Hunt takes the team to rest after being attacked and wounded.  Finally, Alton Gansky’s The Fog brings forth a supernatural mist that attacks anything in comes in contact with, including the team and those they are trying to protect.

In another interesting compilation, these four authors are brought together to do what they do best, tell supernatural thrilling stories that will leave the audience thirsting for more. You have to enjoy the paranormal and supernatural to enjoy this book.  The authors all write with such creative power in their characters and how they tell their stories it will bring everything together as if it isn’t unbelievable.  For some, this might not be considered a Christian book with the way it gets so dark, but there is a spiritual element to it that the audience will resonate with.  These four authors are the top in Christian supernatural fiction and bringing them together gives a tale like no other.  Each author gives his/her unique voice and writing style to a different character that brings the whole group together and ties the different elements of the story in a nice little bow.  If this were another set of authors, I don’t believe it would work.  These four have found a way to come together and weave a story that is worth reading and waiting for more to come.  I recommend this to readers that enjoy a deep, dark, supernatural thriller that will test the limits of your imagination and leave you aching for more.

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

Fault Lines

Fault LInesAuthor: Thomas Locke

Series: Fault Lines

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: August 1, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

As riveting as always, Locke throws his series in the opposite direction!

Charlie Hazard is a security specialist and is very good at his job. One day, a young woman named Gabriella Speciale shows up and throws a wrench into his work and his life.  After a high-speed chase when they manage to get away from some rouge bikers, Gabriella talks Charlie into becoming a part of a secret psychological experiment which changes Charlie’s perspective on life.  There is corporate opposition that is threatened by what breakthroughs might occur by this group and they are out to put an end to the research and to the team.  After relocating the lab from Florida to Europe, Charlie must decide how to best protect his team and to find if he can trust Gabriella.

So, this seemed to be more of a prequel to the first two installments. When reading Trial Run, Charlie is already part of the team and here we get to see his first interactions with Gabriella and see how more of this started.  It was a little confusing at first, but then it all started falling into place.  Granted, I had to go back and reread Trial Run so that I could remember everything that had gone on previously and I’m glad that I did!  I had to put everything b ack into perspective with Charlie, Gabriella, Brett, and of course Reese Clawson.  She just keeps reappearing like a bad penny.

This series has been really fun to read as it makes me look at the world differently. What if what they are doing is actually true; being able to have a conscious out of body experience and witness what else is happening in the world would be incredible.  If you haven’t started this series, I highly recommend starting with this one and then moving onto Trial Run and Flash Point.  It will make it seem like one quick story!

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