The Delusion

The DelusionAuthor: Laura Gallier

Publisher: Tyndale House

Release Date: October 3, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

When a small town becomes the center of a supernatural battle between good and evil, one young man must face the worst to find the best in everyone.

Owen Edmonds has moved to Masonville, Texas in the middle of his senior year where almost a dozen students have committed suicide. The school and town are becoming the center of a media frenzy and the battle for souls is just getting started.  In the woods one night, Owen has his own near-death experience which causes him to see the people around him differently. Almost everyone is wearing shackles and being followed by what Owen calls Creepers. It takes a while for Owen to reach the conclusion that he is not imagining what he sees but that everyone else is blind to it. Knowing everyone he knows and cares about is in danger, Owen must do everything in his power to warn them and stop the evil beings from taking their souls.

When I started reading this book I was having a hard time with insomnia. Reading this while going through insomnia or something similar is not something I would recommend. A book about someone with delusions while experiencing my own because of lack of sleep made for a difficult start to the book. I found myself not wanting to continue because so much of it hit a cord with me. That’s not a bad thing, everything was portrayed so well it made it hard to want to read and be able to relate with what I was going through. It is difficult for me to believe this is the author’s debut novel. The story flowed smoothly with the characters making a connection that pulled me deep into the book. I didn’t realize when starting that this was going to be the beginning of a series and after reading the last page I am thirsting for more. The good vs. evil is something we all deal with, maybe not in the ways described in the book, but we all have our demons we have to face, even if we don’t want to admit it. This is a book that I think many will enjoy, especially those who enjoy the works of Ted Dekker and others that write supernatural thrillers.

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

Renegades

renegadesAuthor: Thomas Locke

Series: Recruits #2

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: November 7, 2017

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Another fantasy novel that is just out of this world!

Sean and Dillon Kirrel are twin brothers with special abilities. They can transmit their bodies between different worlds and also move their spirits without their bodies to talk to one another.  They have helped prevent an alien invasion, but now that the fun is over, they have to return to their own blend of monotony.  Sean must return to school to learn civic lessons for his future political career within the realm.  Dillon goes back to military training, but also finds this a little boring now without real action.  Top that off that both boys have recently broken up with their girlfriends and you’ve got some serious issues.  But when Dillion’s ex, Carey, contacts them after her cousin has been abducted to another realm, they realize this is just the thing they need.  That is until they both get arrested for an unsanctioned transit.  Will they be able to get themselves out of this one and save Carey’s cousin?

Back to the shape shifting worlds from the mind of Thomas Locke with some of our favorite characters introduced earlier this year. Just when you think things couldn’t get more different, Locke throws a wrench into the works and you find yourself amazed with the newness of the places you’ve already been.  Sean and Dillon are back and their typical teenage boy selves with some advances in powers.  I hated to see the relationships end, but what can you do?  And doesn’t Professor Kaviti just rub you the wrong way throughout the book?

I highly recommend reading the first book Recruits before jumping into this one so that you can get the full back story.  But for a fun sci-fi series, give this one a try.

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.

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.

Solo

soloAuthor: Kwame Alexander

Publisher: Blink YA Books

Release Date: August 1, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A stunning tale of finding one’s self and realizing the most important things in life. Told in poetic verse, Solo is a tale that is touching and real down to the heart.

Solo is the story of Blade Morrison, a seventeen-year-old of a rock star that has fallen from grace.  Blade is tired of living the life of glitz and glamour and wants to find more in life.  His mother died when he was nine leaving him and his sister to deal with the aftermath of their father’s addictions.  When Blade discovers a deep held secret within the family, it threatens to throw everything into a tailspin and threaten his relationship with everyone around him.  This sets him on a journey across the country to discover the truth about who he is and how that will shape the rest of his life.

Solo is one of the clearest examples of not judging a book by its cover I have ever read.  The premise sounded very interesting, but when I opened and realized it was told in poetic verse I was initially turned off.  Poetry is usually not my kind of thing.  I have a hard time getting into poetry and the flow of the story told that way.  I decided to give Solo a chance and as the story progressed with each poem, I found myself entranced and pulled into the story.  There was such an intimacy to the characters and the way they interacted with one another.  I read this in one day and enjoyed the flow much more than I imagined I would.  This is the type of story that is for poetry readers, but also for those that enjoy a good story with heart and will leave readers thinking of their family and friends in a different way.  So, if you are like me and open the pages of this book and think it isn’t going to be your cup of tea, give it a few pages and enjoy the story for what it is.  You won’t be disappointed!

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

In 27 Days

In 27 DaysAuthor: Alison Gervais

Publisher: Blink YA Books

Release Date: July 25, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A hard hitting, emotional roller coaster that will leave readers pulling at their heart-strings and wiping a tear from their eyes by the last page.

When Archer Morales commits suicide, his classmate Hadley Jamison is surprised by how much it affects her. She knew him from freshman English class, but that’s about it.  He was the kind of guy that pretty much kept to himself.  Hadley decides to attend Archer’s funeral for some closure.  As she is leaving the funeral, she runs into a man who calls himself Death.  Death offers Hadley a deal; he will send her back in time twenty-seven days to try and stop Archer from killing himself.  It doesn’t take much to convince Hadley that this is something she must do.  She agrees but finds that it is not going to be an easy task.  Archer has kept himself isolated for several reasons, none of which he is especially eager to share with anyone.  As Hadley works to gain his confidence, strange accidents start to occur that keep Hadley and Archer farther from each other and make Hadley wonder if she is really ready to risk everything, including her own life, to accomplish her mission.

All I can say is WOW!. When I started In 27 Days, I had no idea where it would lead me.  It was one of the most raw, real, and amazing books I have read in a very long time.  The way these characters and their storyline laid out was unbelievable.  This is the kind of writing I would expect from someone with decades of experience.  Alison Gervais is an author that has the potential to take off and never look back at where her writing can take her and her readers.  The way the story of Hadley and Archer came together was absolutely beautiful.  I never once felt as if anything was forced or rushed between the characters or with their actions.  Out of all the books I have read this year, this is going quickly to the top of my list.  With the rampant amount of bullying going on in our society, this is a story that needs to be read by many.  I highly recommend this to all readers, especially anyone that might be struggling with feeling alone or how to help someone in that position.

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