The Vestige by Caroline George

I received this book from the author for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.

The Synopsis:

Julie Stryker has spent her life in the scenic streets of Charleston, South Carolina, bicycling to the local college, working at a coffeehouse, watching her family fall apart and back together. She has plans, dreams—all of which seem out of reach. Then she meets a handsome stranger at work, and she believes her life is on the brink of a much needed change. But after a tragic accident, Julie is whisked away from the only home she’s ever known and confronted with a life-altering secret: The end of the world has already occurred and a portion of humankind has been kept oblivious.

Tossed into a hidden world of deception, Julie must confront the truth within herself and reveal the government’s layers before the end of the world becomes a permanent reality.

1st Layer: What you can see.
2nd Layer: What you know is real.
3rd Layer: What you can neither see nor know is real.

Review:

“Choose to see the unseen…”

Thrown into adventure from the beginning and attention gripped through the rest of the book, The Vestige combines real life with fiction in a way that won’t be easily forgotten.

Romance that’s clean and real, action that is graphic but not gory, and clean of any profanity, this novel is a “go-to” for teens and young adults alike. The plot line is clean in its transitions and there are enough twists and surprises to keep the reader hooked along the way.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars and look forward to reading more of Caroline’s books in the future!

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The Metamorphosis of Marc Sullivan by Sean Fesko

I received this book from the author for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.

The Synopsis:

According to the State, Marc Sullivan isn’t well. His panic and constant anxiety keep him from fulfilling his social potential, so he spends his afternoons in prescribed remedial courses designed to help him be more outgoing. Like he hasn’t already tried to live without feeling like throwing up all the time. Sheesh.

One day, beautiful, seemingly normal Charis joins Marc’s group. There’s something different about this girl, Marc thinks. Perhaps he could be more like her, and not what everyone thinks he should be. It will take effort, sure, but maybe – just maybe – he could do it.

Review:

In this short story about Marc, we are taken to a future that defines each person based solely on the numbers of how many Associates (friends) one has and those who are different are assumed to need “help”.

The message of this story is to encourage one to develop closer friendships and to shift our focus away from all of the numbers that today’s social media is trying to enthrall us with.

It’s best to remember when purchasing, that this is a short story, in fact, it took me about a half hour to read start to finish, but it was time well spent and I will more than likely re-read this story in the future. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

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The Returning by Rachelle Dekker

I received this book from the author/publisher for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.

The Synopsis:

Twenty years have passed since Carrington and Remko Brant’s baby, Elise, was kidnapped and they were forced to leave her captive in the Authority City. Though they fled with the Seers far from Authority reach, they’ve never given up hope of rescuing their daughter from the man who betrayed them. Now Authority President, he’s ushered the city into a new era of “peace” — one where the Scientist Roth Reynard’s Genesis Serum has eradicated all memory of emotion or rebellion. But the mysterious Aaron and his Seers are once again on the move, threatening the illusion the Authority has worked so hard to build. As the Seers send seven chosen warriors to rescue Elise and bring restoration to the Authority City, the lines are drawn for a final battle between light and darkness. The key to ultimate victory may rest within the strangely powerful girl who has felt forgotten but was never abandoned — a truth she’ll need to wage war against the powerful forces of evil.

Review:

Read Review of The Choosing (book 1)

Read Review of The Calling (book 2)

In this final book to the Seer trilogy, we follow some of the same beloved characters and meet new ones as the quest for peace turns into a war that desperately needs to be won.

The characters are all wonderfully developed and the story is engaging to the point that the book will practically stick to your hands! It’s clean and fulfilling with good morals but also has enough hard core adventure to keep the attention of anyone. Though The Choosing (book 1) will remain as my favorite of the trilogy, I love the way this one wrapped up the story and I was very satisfied with the ending. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it highly to Dystopian fans!

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The Dinosaur Saddle by Jack Geurts

I received this book from the author for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.

The Synopsis:

When Jasper, the 17-year-old son of paleontologist parents, finds a saddle buried with a dinosaur, everything he thinks he knows about history is turned on its head. And when the dinosaur is resurrected by an alien who rides it through the camp, killing everyone in sight, he is left the only survivor.

Will Jasper be able to save mankind from this blood-thirsty visitor from another planet, with the aide of an-attractive-female alien and her strange pet? Or will he find that in the end he agrees with this visitor and doom man himself?

Review:

The Dinosaur Saddle can only be described as “thrilling” and “unique”. Jurassic Park meets National Treasure with a hint of Aliens in this quest to save mankind.

One of the best written novels I’ve read in a very long time, The Dinosaur Saddle fights for your attention and once it’s won, doesn’t easily let go. From page one we are thrown into some graphic action which can be summed up by saying, “Jurassic Park grade action”, and though it’s very intense and excellently written, it’s only found this graphic in the beginning and end of the book. However, the middle is not void of action by any means, it’s just considerably lower and found in different ways.

There are absolutely no sexual scenes whatsoever, and the only cussing present were the words “d**n” and “h**l”, both said about an average of 5 or 6 times each.

The morals present are inspiring and thought provoking, and there is A LOT of history presented throughout this story. The only aspect of this book that I don’t care for is the amount of support it gives to evolution. The entire storyline circles around the “survival of the fittest” and how the dinosaurs were “wiped out by an asteroid”, but these things are to be expected whenever dealing with dinosaurs so I’m not going to rag on it too much.

So overall, even though I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, to the point that it is probably among my favorites, I am only going to give it 4 out of 5 stars because of the amount of evolution present. But, for fans of Jurassic Park, this is a “must read” and it won’t easily disappoint.

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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I read this book for my own personal pleasure and was not required to write a review. Therefore, all comments and opinions are entirely my own.

The Synopsis:

The nation of Panem, formed from a post-apocalyptic North America, is a country that consists of a wealthy Capitol region surrounded by 12 poorer districts. Early in its history, a rebellion led by a 13th district against the Capitol resulted in its destruction and the creation of an annual televised event known as the Hunger Games. In punishment, and as a reminder of the power and grace of the Capitol, each district must yield one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 through a lottery system to participate in the games. The ‘tributes’ are chosen during the annual Reaping and are forced to fight to the death, leaving only one survivor to claim victory.

When 16-year-old Katniss’s young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12’s female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, are pitted against bigger, stronger representatives, some of whom have trained for this their whole lives. , she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.

Review:

The popularity of The Hunger Games has almost surpassed that of Harry Potter or even the Narnia series and it has very valid reasons for gaining so much attention. It is a book completely new to its genre (or was when it first came out) and has one of the most interesting and unique storylines to be read in Dystopian novels.

The characters are incredibly developed and realistic in how they would act under the conditions of such a barbaric game. The story progresses fairly well paced once you get passed the first few chapters (which tend to drag on and be slow) and it holds your attention with twists and surprises.

The action in the book was surprisingly low key to my expectations, but that may just be due to the fact that my expectations were high. Regardless, I didn’t find the action to be graphic in any way and I don’t remember any profane language. The sexual content was there but to a very bare minimum, mainly staying in Katniss’s thoughts and/or daydreams and not being very intense at that (just her dreaming of kissing). There is a scene in which two characters (male and female) sleep together in the arena, but it is for the sheer purpose of trying to keep each other alive, not sexual in any way.

The morals present aren’t plentiful, but I did pick up on self-sacrifice, dedication and love for family, and there were scenes in which Katniss served the underdogs rather than consuming everything herself.

So, if you can get past the barbaric aspects of killing each other for sport (in the contestants defense, they are forced to do so, but some are more willing to participate than others), Katniss is a decent roll model regarding her character and the storyline is intriguing. All in all, The Hunger Games makes for a good, intense read and I did enjoy reading it. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

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