Parallel lives are real in Shift

Shift Cover - Final Front OnlyI recently read a book that talked about how our past lives can begin before our current birth date and end after our current lives end.  Or in other words we can live multiple parallel lives.  Over the years I have been places for the first time but feel like I’ve lived there for years.  It’s starting to happen more and more, especially in the United Kingdom, where my ancestors are from.

Lately I have had that experience with books.  Books that won’t be published for months.  Books I could predict where the characters would stand a room next, what they will do and what they will say.  These are books I know I have never read before and the concepts are new.

I attribute this weird experience with unpublished books to the fact we are living a parallel life.  A parallel life where I am also a reader, because of course in every parallel life I love books.

M.A. George must think the same way I do.  In her latest book Shift, High School Senior Peregrine (Perry) experiences vivid dreams that feel real and leave her exhausted.  Perry is an artist and she fills her bedroom walls with drawing of her dreams.  Perry lives with her Aunt Jessamine (Jess) and her brother Ezra, who she says is her best friend, is off at college.

In the first chapter, Perry is in a medieval land where a knight with ice-blue eyes looks very familiar.  Her brother Ezra is also in the dream fighting along with Perry.  This dream made me laugh out loud as Perry tries to decide if she is in a dream because it feels so real and she is trying to understand why she thinks it’s a dream while in the dream.  Make sense?

Then one weekend Perry and Aunt Jess visit Ezra in college where she meets Ezra’s best friend, Max, who looks super familiar to Perry.  In fact, he looks just like the guy who is all over her bedroom wall that she keeps drawing from her dreams.  Max is a geeky, smart science guy with funny T-shirts, not the typical jock-type hero.  But alas, a hero he is.

After experiencing a few more dreams that take Perry all over the place, including space, Ezra drops a bombshell that Perry has a hard time wrapping her brain around.  Perry and her brother can “shift” to different scapes.  Not different planets or time travel, but different varieties of reality.  Once Perry becomes aware that her dreams aren’t really dreams, that is when the story takes off on a rollercoaster of a ride.

Ms. George just keeps getting better and better and so far I think this is my favorite story and characters to come from her imagination.   She has presented a reality that some of us could be living parallel lives and it makes total sense to me.

What a fantastic job giving life to these characters.  Perry is spunky, strong, quick witted yet vulnerable.  I literally burst out laughing a few times.  I was totally sucked into this book and the lives of the characters.  I could not put this book down and leave the characters, and I stayed up WAY past my bedtime.

Well done Ms. George.  I know this is a stand-alone, but I feel there is more we need to learn from Perry and the other characters.  I don’t know if I’m ready to let them go quite yet.  If you like this type of genre, do not miss this book.

Book Description:

Seventeen-year-old Perry Teasdale is a dreamer.

She’s not the kind of dreamer who waltzes through fields of wildflowers, twirling her skirts in a starry-eyed daze; or the kind who aspires to be the biggest rock star the world has ever known (not that she’d complain, if that accidentally happened). She’s the kind of dreamer who can’t get a decent night’s rest, because her sleep is flooded with scenes from other worlds—ones that seem as real as life itself.

Mind-blowing dreams may sound like loads of fun, but when they start to bleed into Perry’s waking hours—confusing the line between dream and reality, and keeping her in a sleep-deprived fog no amount of caffeine can cure—Perry’s not exactly thrilled.

Try as she might to shake the dreams from her mind, they keep gaining speed, growing ever more vivid and intense…until that hazy boundary between real and imaginary fades away, and Perry is forced to consider the impossible: Her dreams seem real, because they are.

When disaster strikes, sending Perry’s newfound normalcy into a tailspin, she takes the only logical path left: a whirlwind tour of the multiverse, scouring an ever-growing assortment of alternate realities for the missing piece—the missing person—to put her life together again.

Along the way, Perry enlists the help of an ancient wise woman (who may be a tad homicidal); a nerdy-in-all-the-right-ways mathematician (who knows all of Perry’s secrets, even before introducing himself); and a sword (because you can never go wrong with a sword).

At times hilarious—at times heartbreaking—Shift is sure to be, well, one of those two things.

Until next time…enjoy the view from your passenger seat

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The Wolf Road is a scary thriller

30002336The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis features Elka who is a strong individual who was left with her Nana at the age of 5, so her parents could dig for gold.  Trapper found Elka wandering in the woods when she was 7 and for the next ten years, teachers her all the skills to survive in the wilderness.  After 10 years, Elka finds out Trapper is wanted for multiple murders.

Elka isn’t used to being around other people, so she doesn’t know how to read them and she doesn’t really like people, all she knows is the wild.  She runs away trying to escape from Trapper and the law while she tries to reunite with her parents.

Elka is a great character who is stronger than she thinks.  I was cheering for her to find her parents and to get away from Trapper.  I liked Penelope, who she rescues and even though they are polar opposites, they become best friends and family to one another.

As the story progresses and their backgrounds are slowly revealed, and you realize everyone is a little messed up in the apocalyptic story.  Sometimes I forgot this was in the future because after the Russians drop bombs, everyone is thrown back 150 years.  This is a beautifully written story about a lost girl who has to grow up very fast.  There were times I was sitting on the edge of my seat worried about Elka and the people Trapper attacks.   This was well worth my time.

Book Description:
A debut literary thriller from an incredible new voice. What do you do when the man who gave you everything turns out to be a killer? Perfect for fans of STATION ELEVEN by Emily St. John Mandel.

Since the Damn Stupid turned the clock back on civilization by centuries, the world has been a harsher place. But Elka has learned everything she needs to survive from the man she calls Trapper, the solitary hunter who took her in when she was just seven years old.

So when Elka sees the Wanted poster in town, her simple existence is shattered. Her Trapper – Kreagar Hallet – is wanted for murder. Even worse, Magistrate Lyon is hot on his trail, and she wants to talk to Elka.

Elka flees into the vast wilderness, determined to find her true parents. But Lyon is never far behind – and she’s not the only one following Elka’s every move. There will be a reckoning, one that will push friendships to the limit and force Elka to confront the dark memories of her past.

Until next time…enjoy the view from your passenger seat

The future looks bleak in The Slip

27275190Two years ago I stumbled across young adult author David Estes and I’m so glad I did.  I devoured his The Dwellers series and Country Saga, which go together, now I’m hooked on The Slip Trilogy.

In the Slip, it is many years in the future where the sea levels are rising and livable land masses are shrinking causing available resources to shrink.  In order to conserve resources, the government won’t allow people to have a child unless they secure a death match certificate.  So someone can live only if someone dies.  But then some children are born who don’t have a match and those are called Slip.  Slips can’t be allowed to live so the government kills any that are found.

Michael Kelly is the head of Population Control.  He is the one who searches for the slips and has them killed.  Michael has a son who is a slip and he will do anything in his power to keep his son alive.  He hasn’t given his son a name and keeps him in seclusion so he won’t be found.  He is always watching to make sure no information about his son comes to light.

But there are others who don’t see Slips as humans and will do everything to kill them and their families.  Corrigan Mars is second in command at Pop Con and he is nothing like Michael.  Corrigan is determined to find every Slip out there and exterminate them and their families.  He employs The Destroyer who is a psychopath.  After an accident while in the military The Destroyer is half man and half machine who seems to have no feelings for anyone.  It’s all about him and if he doesn’t get what he wants, he kills.

People have all their information in their eyes and that is how the government tracks people.  Ads float around the streets scanning eyes and customizing the ads to the person.  It’s a great way for them to know where people are located and what they are doing.

David does a great job fleshing out the characters and making them real.  He makes the readers care for the Slip and his family and hate the Destroyer and Corrigan Mars.  When the book ended, I wasn’t ready because I wanted to keep reading.  I was sucked so far into the story I wasn’t ready to let the characters go.  This is one trilogy that when it’s over I will miss the characters.

Book Description:

Someone must die before another can be born…

As sea levels rise and livable landmasses shrink, the Reorganized United States of America has instituted population control measures to ensure there are sufficient resources and food to sustain the growing population.  Birth authorization must be paid for and obtained prior to having a child.  Someone must die before another can be born, keeping the country in a population neutral position at what experts consider to be the optimal population.  The new laws are enforced by a ruthless government organization known as Pop Con, responsible for terminating any children resulting from unauthorized births, and any illegals who manage to survive past their second birthday, at which point they are designated a national security threat and given the name Slip.

But what if one child slipped through the cracks?  What if someone knew all the loopholes and how to exploit them?  Would it change anything?  Would the delicate resource balance be thrown into a tailspin, threatening the lives of everyone?

And how far would the government go to find and terminate the Slip?

In a gripping story of a family torn apart by a single choice, Slip is a reminder of the sanctity of a single life and the value of the lives we so often take for granted.

Until next time…enjoy the view from your passenger seat

Many ways to be enslaved in Enslavement

23585287“One world.  One currency.  One bright future.”  That is what the world has become in Enslavement by Melinda Friesen.  Now people have a chip in their hands from OneEarth Bank and there is no longer physical cash.  When you get paid it is loaded into your chip.  You walk into a store, select what you want and walk out.  As you walk out the chip records what you purchased.

Some people have resisted getting the chip like main character Rielle’s parents.  Without the chip there are no longer jobs to have and no money for food and supplies.  But as resistors, Rielle’s parents are taken and she is separated from her big brother and little sister.  She is soon sold into slavery and sent from Minneapolis to Texas where she is abused by the “Banker,” her owner.  She now has a chip but it’s a tracker chip that will alert the Banker if she tries to escape.

The slaves are all kids who are sold and shipped to different parts of the country to work mainly as domestic help.  Majority of the kids have parents who are rebels, who refuse to get the chip.  The Banker is a mean sonofabitch who abuses his slaves.  Then his nephew comes to stay and takes a liking to Rielle.  Taking her on horseback rides and showing her things she shouldn’t see.  Is he helping her or setting her up?

This is an interesting way to think about how our future world could become.  Melinda does a great job with the characters and making the reader care for some and not others.  She made me late back to work from lunch because I didn’t want to put the book away.  I kept thinking about the characters even when I wasn’t reading.  This is an interesting take on what would happen if one government or organization controlled everything about our lives.  This is really worth the time.  I can’t wait to read the next book in this series.

Book description:

“One world. One currency. One bright future.”  That’s the promise made by OneEarth Bank after a global economic collapse–but only for those who accept the insertion of a commerce chip.  When Rielle’s parents refuse to comply, government officials tear her family apart. As punishment for her parent’s crimes, Rielle is forced into a Community Service Contract–a legalized form of slavery–and sold to a wealthy, abusive banker.

The Banker’s secrets hold the key to Rielle’s freedom, but will she risk prison or even death to escape and search for her family?

Until next time…enjoy the view from your passenger seat

Genetic purity is the future in Vagabond

22143978Vagabond by J.D. Brewer is a wonderfully written story.  I really got sucked into this one and got lost in the characters.  Vagabond is the distant future where society as we know it no longer exists.  The world now revolves around genetics and the Genetic Engineering Guild dictates your entire life by your genetics; where you live, who you marry, whether you can have children and how many.  The colonies live by a strict set of rules and anyone who goes against the rules and live outside of the colonies, is known as vagabonds and rebels.

The main character Niko is first introduced after she’s been dumped by her best friend and mentor Xavi who has ditched her for a random girl with a nice pair of legs.  Niko’s heart is broken and she is traveling alone when she bumps into a new guy fresh out of the colonies and reluctantly ends up teaching him the ways of the Tracks.

The story weaves back and forth through the past and present where we learn about Niko’s life before she became a Vagabond.  We learn about a major tragedy that forced her to flee the only life she knew, how she met and was left by Xavi, and the present, where she’s learning so much about herself and the world.

Vagabond is an interesting concept of what our world could look like in several hundred years from now as the government tries to make the human race perfect by manipulating genetics.  The Genetic Engineering Guild is trying to eliminate all illnesses and making people as perfect as possible and they are worried the Vagabonds will bring illnesses back into society.

It was also sad with the way people were being treated and how government was trying to get rid of what makes people unique.  I really wanted the Vagabonds to succeed and avoid the people hunting them.  There is quite a twist that was very shocking.  Vagabond is a very good read that was well worth my time.  I want to know more about the characters and can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

Book description:

When Niko’s parents are brutally murdered by the Republic for being Genetic Terrorists, she must learn how to survive in the wild, in life, and in love. With nothing but her pack for a home, she travels the fringes of the Colonies by train and by foot, and collects memories of the Vagabonds who teach her how to live with her new freedom. She first encounters Xavi, the boy who heals her heart before he breaks it. He simply leaves her for a nice pair of Legs, and Niko must learn how to move past unexplainable heartbreak. She soon discovers the Tracks are no place for love, because everything moves a little too fast. Before Niko has time to mourn her rejection, she encounters a different kind of pain— a pain in the rear named Flea. Niko’s subsequent adventures cause her to question her beliefs about the Genetic Engineering Guild, the Republic, the Revolution, and her heart. In this unconventional science fiction novel, a coming of age story is set against a utopian backdrop, and Niko just happens to be on the wrong side of perfection. Her tale is propelled by non-stop action while her past is never far behind to fill in the gaps. It’s a twist-driven page turner that’s incredibly difficult to put down once you pick it up.

Read, enjoy, and share.

Until next time…enjoy the view from your passenger seat