Sentinel (Caretaker Chronicles: Book 3) by Josi Russell

Sentinel (Caretaker Chronicles Book 3) by [Russell, Josi]

4 Stars

Publisher: Future House Publishing

Date of Publication: November 17th, 2016

Genre: Science Fiction

Series: Caretaker Chronicles

Caretaker – Book 1

Guardians – Book 2 (review here)

Sentinel – Book 3

Stasis Dreams – Short story

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Book synopsis:

Rigel Bryant is the only natural-born telepathic human in the history of the universe. His father, Ethan, wants him to lock his abilities away, but Rigel doesn’t see why it is wrong to use his gifts.

Rigel’s carefree attitude is shattered when he receives an urgent telepathic distress signal that overwhelms his every thought. The call comes from Ethan’s old friend, Tesuu the Zumiin, who saved his life during his misadventures as Caretaker.

In order to reclaim Rigel’s mind, the father-son pair hire a beautiful pilot named Carine to take them to the Zumiin planet. When the trio arrives, they are attacked by AI robots determined to kill any potential threat to the Zumiin, including their own programmer. Before Ethan and Tesuu can find a solution to the problem, a deadly poisonous snake bites Ethan, sending him into a deep coma. While Tesuu battles the rampaging robots, Rigel hunts for a rare antidote to save his father’s life.

Can Rigel become a hero like his father, or is it too late for him and the rest of the universe?

My review:

Rigel Bryant is the only known natural telepath in the known universe. The other two telepaths, his father and pseudo-grandmother (Kaia), but they were experimented on by an alien and gained their powers that way. They now wear a device called a thought blocker. That device can block the thoughts of the people around them, so they aren’t listening to other people’s thoughts all the time. Rigel, however, does not wear a thought blocker, and he can hear everyone’s thoughts all the time. He has learned to filter it out, and he has learned to use his ability for not so great purposes.

His latest venture was insider trading. He read his girlfriend’s mind and got the information about the merger from her thoughts. He was able to buy stock and then sell it for a hefty price. His girlfriend, who I felt bad for, didn’t know that Rigel was a telepath until he was arrested by the Coriol Defense Civil Division (aka CDCD) in her apartment. To say she was upset that he used her for her information is an understatement.

Ethan, Rigel’s father, is at the end of his rope with him. Not only can Rigel read thoughts, but he pushes people into doing what he wants, which happens when he is brought to the Governor of Coriol. After being released from the offices, Rigel heads home with Ethan for what becomes an epic intervention. Aria, who had long been Rigel’s champion and against him getting a thought blocker, told him that he was getting a thought block in the morning. End of story (at this point I was like, Go Mom).

Rigel takes off after telling Aria, Rigel, and Polara that he won’t get one. He goes back to his girlfriend’s apartment and pushes her to repress her anger and let him stay with her. It was during this time that he starts to have vivid nightmares about a gray planet with tunnels running across the surface. There is something wrong on that planet, terribly wrong. Pretty soon, the dream has invaded his waking thoughts. He does the only thing that he has left to do (since his girlfriend threw him out), he goes home and tells his father.

Ethan immediately knows where and who are sending the nightmares to Rigel. An old friend called Tessu, who resides on a planet called Entewen One. He tells Rigel that he needs help but then gets cut off. Ethan decides to take a day trip to Entewen One and drags Rigel with him. They hire out a ship called The Mirror with a young pilot named Catrine. The journey there is pretty easy because the ship has something called a chip drive, and that can get them there sooner than later.

When they get to the planet, they realize that something is wrong. Very wrong. They are attacked by spheres as soon as they land, and Catrine’s ship is taken by something. They are saved by a timely storm that sweeps away the spheres and allows them to find shelter in some nearby caves.

That is where Tessu meets them and tells them what is going on. His grandson, Ravi, did an upgrade on defense spheres that he had created, but something went wrong, and the spheres are now destroying anything that they think is a threat to Tessu’s species. The control sphere took Catrine’s ship and is now branching out to other planets in the galaxy, to protect the Zumiin.

Catrine is sent out in one of the Zumiin ships to warn the Mineans about the incoming spheres. Ethan and Rigel are told that there is a Pilaay ship in their trash heaps that still can be flown. All they need to do is get there. Which they do, but then they are attacked by a giant, venomous snake, and Ethan gets bitten. Rigel is now racing against the clock to find the antivenom that will save his father’s life.

What happens in the rest of the book? Well, you need to read it. Because what I outlined here doesn’t even cover what happens.

It was interesting to read Rigel’s transformation in the book. He went from someone who was only thinking for himself and using his powers to better his life to someone who risked life and limb to save people’s lives and used his powers to aid him in it. It was interesting to see the transformation.

His relationship with his family was painful to read. He did so much wrong and caused such a huge rift that I was beginning to wonder if it could heal.

The romance between Catrine and Rigel was cute. She was the only person, besides Polara, whose mind he couldn’t read and that was a big part of the attraction for him.

The end of the book was very suspenseful, and I read it thinking that what was hinted could happen would happen. But it didn’t, and I was pretty happy about that.

I would give Sentinel an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Sentinel. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Skies (Sharani Series: Book 3) by Kevin L. Nielson

Skies (Sharani Series Book 3) by [Nielsen, Kevin L.]

Publisher: Future House Publishing

Date of Publication: August 18th, 2016

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Series: Sharani Series

Twins—Book 0

Sands — Book 1

Storms — Book 2

Skies — Book 3

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | AbeBooks

Goodreads Synopsis:

For the Rahuli people, the world has just gotten a lot bigger.

Gavin, now the leader of the displaced Rahuli, grows increasingly frustrated with the members of the so-called slave “rebellion.” The former slaves are frightened by the Rahuli’s war-filled history, but the their warrior ways might be the only thing to stop the Orinai from slaughtering them all.

Meanwhile, Lhaurel is held prisoner by the Seven Sisters, the mysterious and ruthless mages who rule the Orinai. Cut off from her magic, she is forced to travel to the Orinai capital under a threat against the Rahuli. But, despite their promises, the Sisters have no intention of letting the Rahuli live.

Their armies march toward the Rahuli once again. To defend his people, Gavin must earn the trust of the former slaves, or nobody stands a chance against the approaching horde.

Can Gavin defeat the Orinai, or have the Rahuli entered a fight they cannot win?

I will start this review by saying you must read Sands and Storms first. Skies is not a standalone book. I made the mistake of not reading Sands and Storms before reading Skies, and I was so confused that I ended up stopping reading Skies, buying Sands and Storms, reading them, and then restarting Skies. This is why I didn’t have my review ready when it was released.

Lhaurel’s character progressed from the first 2 books, and I felt awful that she was shut off from her powers. I also felt bad that she was held captive by those creepy Sisters. When I think of Sisters, I think of kind little nuns in their habits. From what I gleaned about these Sisters, they are the opposite. They wear tight-fitting clothes, filed their teeth to points, and were generally badass bitches that no one wanted to mess with. I loved it. I did like Talha. She seemed the most easy-going out of all the Sisters.

The other storyline focused on Gavin and his band of RahuliGavin is having a hard time being the ruler and trying to keep the peace with the head of the village. Brisson kept reminding Gavin of the hardship the Rahuli are putting on his people, and Gavin keeps reminding Brisson that his people could help. It’s a stalemate until Gavin decides he has had enough and forces Brisson to accept him as an equal.

Not going to go too much into that storyline, but I was impressed with how it ended up, and I loved the twist at the end. Absolutely freaking loved it. There were hints pointing to the twist, but I was still surprised when it came.

Lhaurel’s storyline was a little more complicated but just as enthralling. I liked the waking dreams, and the end of her story was not what I expected. I honestly thought that it would go another way.

The author did leave it open for a 4th book. But no cliffhangers. He wrapped up each storyline so that it closed the door to that story and opened a new door for the next story.

I would recommend Skies to anyone over 16. There is violence but otherwise is a clean book.

If you enjoyed reading Skies, you will enjoy reading these books:

Stuck in the Game (Dream State Saga: Book 1) by Christopher Keene

Stuck in the Game (Dream State Saga Book 1) by [Keene, Christopher]

Publisher: Future House Publishing

Date of publication: August 4th, 2016

Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult, Cyberpunk, Action, Adventure

Series: Dream State Saga

First in the Game—Book 0.5

Stuck in the Game—Book 1

Back in the Game—Book 2

Ghost in the Game—Book 3

Lost in the Game—Book 4

Found in the Game—Book 5

Purchase Links: Amazon | AbeBooks | Alibris | Powells | Indigo

Goodreads Synopsis:

After a terrible car crash puts seventeen-year-old Noah Newbolt into a coma, he is hooked up to the innovative Dream Engine—a virtual reality helmet that immerses the player in an online fantasy game. The Dream Engine keeps Noah’s mind alive while doctors frantically work to heal his body, but his death in the game could result in irreversible brain damage.

While Noah learns to navigate the Dream Game, his girlfriend, Sue, suffers injuries from the same crash. Then the doctors’ attempts to connect her to the game result in her apparent death. When a mysterious avatar drops notes suggesting the last remnants of Sue’s consciousness are being held prisoner in the most dangerous part of the game, Noah takes it upon himself to rescue her.

He allies himself with a group of high-level players to help him in his quest, but his rise through the ranks earns him a bounty. With top players across the world gunning for Noah, can he stay alive–and awake–long enough to save Sue and escape the game?

This book was great!! As a long-time gamer, I loved that the author picked an MMORPG game to set this story. Call me a huge nerd, but I liked that he did that.

I did feel for Noah. He is stuck in Dream Engine in a coma after being in a car crash with his girlfriend, Sue.

When Noah awakens in Dream Engine, he is confused. Wouldn’t you be if you were awakened in an online virtual reality game? When his mom gets in contact with him and explains what happened, he sucks it up. His parents hired one of Wona’s employees to “protect” him. Also, to help him level up while he was being brought back to health in real life.

I laughed when I started reading the areas Noah was going to quest/level up/grind. Reminded me of the different areas of WoW. Duskshire was the main one. I giggled when Noah was hunting spiders for silk to make a robe. Been there, done that. The other areas reminded me of Kalimdor, Northrend, Pandaria, and Booty Bay.

The elitist attitudes portrayed in this book were hilarious and very on point. Noah’s friends have views when they realize he is being run through dungeons. If you have ever sat in trade chat, you know what I am talking about.

There is a huge twist in the story that did take my breath away. Not giving too much away because you need to read the book, but I cried and then got mad.

This book ended with one of my biggest pet peeves, a cliffhanger. I hate them with a passion, but it did grab my attention and make me wish that book 2 was there. I want to find out what happens to Noah after he wakes up and if things get resolved!!!

I would recommend Stuck in the Game to anyone over 16. There is no sex, mild violence, and no language.

If you enjoyed reading Stuck in the Game, you will enjoy reading these books:

Granted (Granted: Book 1) by Michelle Merrill

Granted by [Merrill, Michelle]

Publisher: Future House Publishing

Date Published: June 30th, 2016

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Series: Granted

Trapped—Book 0.5

Granted—Book 1

Summoned—Book 2

Purchase Links: Amazon | AbeBooks | Alibris | Powells | Indigo | BetterWorldBooks

Goodreads synopsis:

The existence of genies may be the best-kept secret in the history of the world.

After being trapped in the Sahara Desert for her whole life, sixteen-year-old genie Brielle finally gets her first assignment in Tri-Cities, Washington. She eagerly heads out into the human world to grant her first wish so that she can gain her magic. Unfortunately, her assigned human, Addie, stopped believing in wishes years ago and would much rather that everyone just leave her alone.

Complicating everything is Rock, Brielle’s childhood friend turned enemy. Brielle doesn’t need him ruining her first trip out into the human world. Too bad she can’t keep her mind—or her eyes—off him and his annoyingly cute dimples.

To make matters worse, genies in the Tri-Cities area are suspiciously dying. One broken lamp could be an accident, but after three deaths occur, Brielle suspects someone has uncovered the genies’ secret and is slowly killing them off one by one. 

With the Genie Council ignoring the threat, Brielle desperately needs to gain her magic so she can stop the murderer before she—or Rock—is the next genie to die.

I wouldn’t say I liked Brielle’s character in the beginning. But if I was expecting my lamp to be rubbed and told, sorry, it’s in storage, and you have to wait, I’d have acted the same way. Throughout the book, her character did grow on me, though. I loved her interactions with Addie and with Rock. She showed through her friendship with Addie how much she grew in maturity while she was there.

While we are on Rock, he made me want to scream. I didn’t have him figured out during the book. What was his deal? Was he a good djinn, or did he get caught up in something he had no control over? Also, the twist with him in the book was great!!! I didn’t expect what happened to happen.

Now onto Addie. I felt so bad for her. Parts of the book made me want to reach through and hug her. And for the record, I am glad that she and Brielle met. They were good for each other.

The whole storyline of Addie’s parents disappearing made me want to puke. Not going to get into it, but I disliked them. If you want to know more, read the book.

The mystery that Brielle and Rock get involved with did catch my attention. I thought it was very imaginative to have the genies die when their lamps break. It only makes sense because their life force is connected to the lamps. The way the book ended also made a great intro for a 2nd book!!!

3 Things I liked about Granted:

  1. The storyline
  2. Rock
  3. Addie

3 Things I disliked about Granted:

  1. Brielle, at the beginning of the book
  2. Vicky (she rubbed me the wrong way)
  3. The triplets

I would recommend Granted to anyone over 16. There is no sex, minimal violence, and non-graphic language.

If you enjoyed reading Granted, you will enjoy reading these books:

Predators of Eden (Horizon Alpha: Book 1) by D.W. Vogel

Horizon Alpha: Predators of Eden by [Vogel, D. W.]

Publisher: Future House Publishing

Date of Publication: May 19, 2016

Genre: Science Fiction, Dinosaurs, Adventure, Young Adult, Space Opera, Action, Thriller

Series: Horizon Alpha

High Wire—Book 0.5

Predators of Eden—Book 1

Transport Seventeen—Book 2

Homecoming—Book 3

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible |B&N |Kobo |Google Play

Goodreads synopsis:

We never would have come here if we’d known.

Two hundred years ago, the great Ark Horizon Alpha escaped a doomed Earth and went searching for a new home. The passengers landed on Teu Ceti e expecting paradise, but instead, they discovered a planet stuck in its own version of the cretaceous period. The humans’ one defense against the dinosaurs ravaging the planet is an electric fence, built from the remains of the shuttles that brought them there.

But Eden’s base has only days of power left.

With most of the adult men dead, rookie soldier Caleb Wilde and his unit of teenage boys leave the electric fences of Eden in search of a reactor core lost deep in the jungle.

The last remnant of the human race waits behind the electric fence for their return. The dinosaurs wait, too–for the electricity to die and the feast to begin.

This book was fantastic!!! I don’t like sci-fi with dinosaurs in the book. The one book I read that used them as antagonists went WAY overboard. It killed my enthusiasm for reading any books of the same.

Well, I am happy to say that this book has righted the wrongs of the other book. From the beginning, when Caleb tells about what happened to Earth, the 2 centuries of traveling throughout space and the accident that fragmented the population of the spaceship onto the new planet (Teu Ceti), and the frightening discovery that the new settlers made, drew me right into the story.

The author makes you feel the excitement and dread of Caleb going on his first mission. Then the terror of the crash and the exhaustion of trekking cross-country to Eden base and losing unit members to the dinosaurs. I had nightmares about the descriptions of the T-Rex and the other dinosaurs.

I will say that I loved the 2 twists in the story. One, I should have seen coming from a mile away, I am good at guessing things like that, but I didn’t. The other one, near the end of the book, well, to be honest, it made me want to cry. Very poignant.

If you enjoyed reading Predators of Eden, you will enjoy reading these books:

Beat (Beat: Book 1) by Jared Garrett

Beat (The Beat Series Book 1) by [Garrett, Jared]

Publisher: Future House Publishing

Date of publication: June 14th, 2015

Genre: Dystopia, Science Fiction, Thriller, Post Apocalyptic, Science Fiction Fantasy, Young Adult

Series: Beat

Beat—Book 1

Keepers—Book 1.5

Push—Book 2 (review here)

Purchase Links: Amazon

Goodreads synopsis:

Better safe than sorry. Better calm than dead.

Nik Granjer hates the Bug. It was the Bug that destroyed the world when it wiped out more than ninety percent of humanity a hundred years ago.

Even now, the Bug kills anyone whose heart rate goes over 140 beats per minute. That’s why the Prime Administrator gave everyone the Papas—digital wrist monitors that put people to sleep when their heart rate gets too high. The Papas saved humankind.

But one night on the border of New Frisko, Nik tampers with his Papa and discovers a dreadful secret: the Bug might not be there after all. When his experiment takes a terrible turn, a brutal enforcement squad from the city forces Nik into hiding.

On the run and searching for allies, Nik’s only hope is to discover the truth about the Prime Administrator’s regime and the origins of the Bug. If he doesn’t, humankind may never break free from the conspiracy holding it in its grip.

This was a great book. A combination of sci-fi/dystopia/YA had enough action to keep you reading. You didn’t know what would happen from chapter to chapter, which increased my heart rate with the action.

This book takes place 100 years after a biochemical attack wiped out 90 percent of the world’s population. The survivors called it the Bug, which could kill you if your heart rate went over 140. A digital wrist monitor was developed to help the survivors watch their heart rates. The Papa puts the survivors asleep when their heart rates get too high.

Then you meet Nik Granjer and his friends. They like to “Push” their heart rates to the limit because they are 15/16 years old, and kids that age like to push limits and buck the system. Nik has also figured out how to bypass his nightly Knockout from his Papa.

I will say that I enjoyed Nik’s character. I was once a 15/16-year-old who liked to push limits, and he came off to me as realistic.

I also enjoyed the alternative spellings (Nik, Tek, Pol….etc). It added the right flair of difference to the book and kept my attention!!

I will say there is a huge twist that I didn’t see coming. Like 100% huge; I was taken aback by it (like Nik was) and a little shocked. A lot shocked.

The story itself was fascinating and very well written. If I had to picture a dystopian society, New Frisko would be it. Oh, and it takes me a minute to realize what city it was supposed to be.

If you enjoyed reading Beat, you will enjoy reading these books:

Dawn of Procyon (Distant Suns: Book 1) by Mark R. Healy

Dawn of Procyon (Distant Suns Book 1) by [Healy, Mark R.]

Publisher: Future House Publishing

Date of publication: April 14th, 2016

Genre: Science Fiction, Adventure, Aliens, Space

Series: Distant Suns

Dawn of Procyon—Book 1

Eclipse of Procyon—Book 2

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible |WorldCat

Goodreads synopsis:

In the midst of an interstellar conflict, mechanic Landry Stanton is shipwrecked on a remote outpost planet, stranded along with a hostile alien that wants him dead.

All Landry wants is to forget the woman he left back on Earth, but now he finds that much bigger issues are at stake: the creature, belonging to a species known as the Argoni, may hold the key to turning the tide in the entire war, assuming Landry can live long enough to tell anyone about it.

Pitched into a life and death struggle against the brutal environment and the Argoni itself, Landry is forced to challenge everything he thought he knew about the war, the aliens, and even himself.

What would you do if stranded on a distant planet, running out of air and water, and being followed/watched by an alien?

Would you be able to survive? Or would you give up?

I enjoyed reading this book. It kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time I read it. I didn’t think Landry would make it at some points in the story. It was a nail-biter!!!

The two subplots were also compelling, and the author did a wonderful job tying them all together at the end.

I didn’t like that it ended on a cliffhanger. I hate them with a passion. But the cliffhanger got me wondering what will happen in the next book (if there will be a next book). And that means I need to read it to find out. Sigh.

If you enjoyed reading Dawn of Procyon, you will enjoy reading these books:

The Hunger (The Hunger: Book 1) by Michael D. Young

The Hunger by [Young, Michael D.]

Publisher: Future House Publishing

Date of publication: April 7th, 2016

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Magic

Series: The Hunger

The Hunger—Book 1

Crude Magic—Book 2

Purchase Links: Amazon | WorldCat

Goodreads synopsis:

Feed your Hunger.

In a distant, war-torn land, every man, woman, and child must either consume the magical substance known as Sustenance or succumb to the Hunger. Those who succumb develop deformities and face exile — or even death.

The scholar Azil wants nothing more than to lead a tranquil life and beat back the Hunger. But when a mysterious assassin tries to kill Azil, and a stranger shows up at his door challenging him to join her on a quest, he embarks on a dangerous journey to steal the sacred gems of Sustenance guarded in a forbidden fortress. To get there, Azil must venture through a land of floating cities, ravenous mage wraiths, ax-wielding warriors, and bloodthirsty bandits.

But with the sacred gems of Sustenance come volatile magic — magic so strange and dangerous, that the prophecies foretell it could usher in a golden age, or turn its wielder into the darkest of villains.

I love fantasy, and I know that I have mentioned it in past reviews. So when I was approached to review this book and read the synopsis, I was excited to read The Hunger.

And this book didn’t let me down!!!

From the beginning, where I met Azil, Evelet, Kaval, Sarhah, and Jamith…the story sucked me in. I couldn’t put the book down; that’s how engrossing the story is.

A twist at the end of the book took me by surprise. Not giving anything away here, but it is a huge twist that went with the book.

If you enjoyed reading The Hunger, you will enjoy reading these books:

Got Luck (Behindbeyond Series: Book 1) by Michael Darling

Book Cover

Publisher: Future House Publishing

Date of publication: October 1st, 2016

Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult, Magic, Fae, Mystery, Suspense

Behindbeyond Series:

The Mark—Book 0.5

Got Luck—Book 1

Lucky Day—Book 1.5

Got Hope—Book 2

Got Lost—Book 3

Purchase Links: Amazon |WorldCat

Goodreads synopsis:

Police-officer-turned-private-investigator Goethe “Got” Luck is known for rolling with the punches and never taking anything too seriously. When he picks up a seemingly dead-end murder case, his life begins to take a crazy turn. Shot at, chased by people he has never met, and attacked by an invisible liondog, Got quickly learns that there is more to this world than meets the eye.

He discovers the Fae. The Eternals. They who dwell in the Behindbeyond. Once, they ruled over ancient realms, but over the centuries, their power dwindled. Now someone wants to restore their rule and subjugate humankind. All it will cost is thousands of human lives.

The clock is ticking. Getting the world out of this one will take a couple friends, more than a few well-placed insults, and a whole lot of Luck.

I will start this review by doing something I have never done before. I want everyone to know that I LOVE the cover of this book.

Now that I got that out of my system, onto my review.

I liked Got Luck. It was fast-paced, full of twists and turns and surprises with every page, making it exciting to read because you didn’t know what would happen next. It took me exactly one day to read this book in one sitting. Not easy to do with three kids, but it happened.

As stated in previous reviews, I loved anything Celtic, and this book didn’t hold back. It had the Fae, and the author made many references to Goethe’s poem, “Der Erlkonig.” If you want to know more, read the book.

The ending was a bit of a surprise and had a twist that made me sad. Again, if you want to know what it was, read the book!!!!!

If you enjoyed reading Got Luck, you will enjoy reading these books: