‘The Oracle Year’ by Charles Soule: What If?

 

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Like any good mystery — suspense novel, Charles Soule’s “The Oracle Year” is filled with thrills and chills, twists and surprises. But Soule’s work here takes us far beyond those classic characteristics.  Its science-fiction elements raise, once again, the “big questions” that have fascinated and frustrated many of us virtually since the birth of our species. Is my destiny pre-decided or do I truly have free will? What would I do and how would I act if I could accurately predict the future? Are human beings fundamentally good or evil? How and why might we eventually cause our own extinction? Are there gods or is there a God or have beings from other worlds created and formed us?

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‘Fire & Heist’ by Sarah Beth Durst is a perfect young adult fantasy/action/scifi thriller

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“Fire & Heist” by Sarah Beth Durst is a wonderful young adult fantasy. Long-time fans of this author will not be surprised that it’s engaging and boasts a fabulous plot. While she has included a lot in the story — there is some “Ocean’s Eleven” mixed up with a bit of “Wrinkle in Time” and every book with a wonderfully evil villain (think Michael Grant’s newest book, appropriately titled “Villain”) — it just boils down to a book that ends up being a quick read because the action simply doesn’t stop.

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‘Caught in Time’ by Julie McElwain is the third novel in the Kendra Donovan mystery series

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“Caught in Time” by Julie McElwain is a thrilling action mystery featuring Kendra Donovan, an FBI agent who was thrown into the past, to 1815 Regency England. It’s a far cry from the 21st century and her life as a profiler for the FBI, but in each of the three Kendra Donovan mystery novels, Donovan manages to get embroiled in a murder, and she’s the best chance at getting the real culprit found.

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‘Children of Jubilee’ by Margaret Peterson Haddix Is the Final Book in the trilogy ‘Children of Exile’

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“Children of Jubilee” is the third in the brilliant “Children of Exile” trilogy by adored children’s author Margaret Peterson Haddix. It’s the culmination of a series of books that, like many of her books, explore the themes of prejudice and children and how sometimes, children can see through the prejudices that adults have fallen prey to.

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‘The Truth About Martians’ by Melissa Savage Is A Fascinating Glimpse into UFOs from a Middle Grade Perspective

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What really happened in 1947 when a newspaper reported that an alien disk had crashed in the desert near Corona and Roswell? While the US government first reported that they had captured a spacecraft and the news was on the front page of many newspapers, the story quickly changed. It was all a mistake, the government said. The “spacecraft” was really a weather balloon.

But many people don’t believe that, and many people had already seen the strange metal pieces with even stranger purple markings. In “The Truth About Martians,” Melissa Savage decides to write about what might have happened if some children nearby not only saw the spaceship but decided to investigate the crash. What if they raced out there and arrived before the military came and swept up everything and hushed it all up?

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‘The Final Six’ by Alexandra Monir Is a Too-Possibly-True to Miss Reading Dystopian Novel

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The world Alexandra Monir creates in “The Final Six” is one that is all too believable. Climate change has caused the sea levels to rise, and tsunamis have devastated coastal cities. Rome is underwater and people live on the top floors of tall buildings. Whole populations in large cities have drowned when tsunamis rushed in to engulf everything.

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‘Lifel1k3’ (Lifelike) by Jay Kristoff is the First Book in a YA Dystopia Series

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With “Lifel1k3,” author Jay Kristoff takes readers on a wild ride in a bleak (so very bleak!) dystopian future where atomic bombs have destroyed much of the Yousay (USA, get it?) and California has become a barren island because of a huge earthquake. The ocean is filled with plastic and other garbage, and animals and trees are nonexistent.

In fact, robots and humans coexist in a depressing world with gray skies and a desperate struggle for survival. In this world lives Evie, with her grandfather, her best friend Lemon, and her robot best friend Cricket. This family group is wonderful, but Grandpa is dying from cancer, so Evie fights robots in an arena to win money to buy him medicine.

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‘Jurassic World: The Evolution of Claire’ by Tess Sharpe: Perfect for Sci-fi and Adventure Fans

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“Jurassic World: The Evolution of Claire” by Tess Sharpe is a prequel to the story of the two most recent “Jurassic World” movies. In this book, seasoned author Sharpe creates the story of how Claire Dearing, who becomes the park’s operations manager, first gets involved in the Jurassic world.

Dearing is in college when she applies for an internship with the brilliant Mr. Masrani, who not only is fabulously wealthy, but whose genius is (re)creating dinosaurs and a theme park where people will be able to see dinosaurs. When she is offered the internship, it’s her dream come true.

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‘The Demon Crown: A Sigma Force Novel’ by James Rollins Delivers Action

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James Rollins fans will not be disappointed with “The Demon Crown,” his latest “Sigma Force” novel detailing yet one more way the world as we know it might end. This thriller is filled with action, adventure, science, and a roller-coaster of plot twists and turns.

One of Rollins’ many talents in writing a series is his ability to make each novel as much a stand-alone book as possible given that the characters reappear in most of the “Sigma Force” novels. Sigma Force is the shadowy, secret arm of the government agency DARPA, run by Painter Crowe and his able team. Rollins manages to give new readers a real sense of the characters while not boring those who have read other books in the series — it’s a talent.

In this story, the team is fighting an enemy who has unleashed what are clearly wasps from hell. These huge creatures are truly nightmarish, and even worse is what results after they sting someone. Let’s just say they leave behind more than only a stinger. And Rollins describes it all in excruciating detail — really. Some readers may not want to be eating a meal while reading about the effect of the wasps’ attacks.

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